Monday, 24 December 2007

Smile- the great lost masterpiece

Mark Mikel “Well the way I see it, The Beatles considered themselves to have only one band in real competition with them-The Beach Boys. They admitted this many times. The two bands were constantly trying to "one-up" each other in the rock and roll "re-invention" game. Brian's answer to Rubber Soul was Pet Sounds and though the album wasn't a huge commercial success, it influenced music itself beyond any real definition. The Beatles were trying to better "Pet Sounds" when they did Sgt Pepper.Brian was doing Smile as an answer to Revolver. He knew The Beatles were cooking up something else huge so the race was on. When Sgt Pepper came out first, Brian knew he was defeated and gave up on Smile. The other Beach Boys basically took over and released the watered down and totally confusing Smiley Smile.

Had Brian not given up and instead released this masterwork in '67 (post-Pepper), I grant you it may not have tore up the charts and the hippies might have bashed it, but that album would have been in the general musical (and non-musical) public's reach for almost 40 years now. Music that great and significant would stand very tall among classic albums nowadays. And think of the influence it has already had just from being bootlegged. Really even Smiley Smile's influence is hard to escape among pop writers today.I would bet it would have been top 10. Maybe even #1 in the UK. The Beach Boys were already #1 in the UK when Brian was working on "Smile." I think it was way original and different enough to not seem like Brian was jumping on any band wagon.At least it would have had a number one single on it -Good Vibrations. That's the song they used to sell Smiley Smile instead.I know I would have bought it years ago and it would have had a very profound influence on me. I don't think in that way I'm very unique.I would still like a properly mixed and mastered version of the unfinished album. Judging from the ones they finally released on The Beach Boys boxset, they would sound fantastic. Hope I see it before I die. I don't care that it's not finished at this point.That album not coming out in 1967 is one of the all time greatest rock and roll tragedies. It would have changed life as we know it. It came out much too late to matter."

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