I keep this picture on my wall of Mike Love and Brian Wilson snapped right after The Beatles released Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967. At the time, Wilson was in a midst of a nervous breakdown caused by but probably not limited to: a lack of confidence, the influence of drugs, and the lessening of The Beach Boys influence after the British invasion. Whether or not the success of Sgt. Pepper’s had any real effect on Wilson’s state can be argued over and dissected, but what I know is, in the summer of 1967, Wilson had a forlorn look on his face that didn’t look like it could be wiped off by anyone.

The winter before Sgt. Pepper’s, The Beach Boys had finished a large chunk of Smile, an album that would hang out in limbo over subsequent years and later decades. Some tracks from the legendary non-album were completed, like “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes and Villains” – songs that went down as some of the greatest pop recordings, ever. Finally, in 2004, Wilson released Brian Wilson Presents Smile as a re-recorded solo effort. While interesting and sometimes brilliant, Brian Wilson Presents Smile lacked the cohesion of a group effort. Yesterday, Capitol Records released Smile, showcasing the original Beach Boys recordings. The record company even issued a 5-disc set that includes bits and pieces from extended recording sessions.

The set may not be for everyone, but at $23.90 on Amazon, it should be a good deal for a lot of people. Especially for people like me, who have a soft spot for projects and artists who have worked on something special that never totally pans out into what it should have been (See Tender is the Night, James Agee). You can check out the box art, below.

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