Saturday, March 12, 2011
Capitol Records to Release Beach Boys Version of SMiLE
Capitol records has announced that they will release The Beach Boys' lost SMiLE album sometime in 2011. According to Billboard, "the project will be released in three versions: a two-CD set, an iTunes LP digital album and a limited-edition boxed set containing four CDs, two vinyl LPs, two vinyl singles and a 60-page hardbound book written by Beach Boys historian Domenic Priore." (No bonus points for guessing which one I plan to buy.)
Of course the SMiLE album was never actually completed, and to what extent it was close to being finished has been subject to much debate among Beach Boys fans over the years. For what it is worth producer Mark Linett, who also produced Brian Wilson's re-recorded solo SMiLE album, says in an interview with Billboard that "all of the tracks were recorded," but "a lot of the vocals seem to not have been completed."
My own feeling is that it was no coincidence that Brian finally completed SMiLE as a solo album at the same time that ProTools became ubiquitous in the recording and mixing of popular music. Much has been made of Brian's mental state as the SMiLE project fell apart, but on some level I believe that it took recording and mixing technology 35 years to catch up to the music Brian was hearing in his head circa 1966-67. So while we'll never know exactly what SMiLE would have sounded like if it had been completed in 1967, that may well be because it was impossible to complete as Brian envisioned it with the technology available at the time. But this new release will undoubtedly get us much closer to what was in Brian's head back then. Exciting news!