Welcome To AlbumLinerNotes.com
"The #1 Archive of Liner Notes in the World!"

Your Subtitle text
Smile (BWPS)


Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson Presents Smile



“Our Smile dream has come true.”

Those were Brian Wilson’s words as he rode the backstage elevator down to the stage door, down from the incredible high we were all riding an hour after the ecstatic standing ovation that had greeted the world premiere of Smile at London’s Royal Festival Hall February 20, 2004. Truth is, Brian’s words were ones nobody really thought we’d ever hear….

The Smile dream Brian was referring to was born in the summer of 1966, when Brian and his visionary partner, Smile lyricist Van Dyke Parks, first began working together. In response to the musical British Invasion, their desire was to bring forth something very American and, in its humor and wide ranging subject matter, to create something radically different from the music being made by their contemporaries.

In addition to presenting a new way popular music might be written and recorded, they wanted to prove that rock music could be art. By combining Brian’s rapidly evolving compositional genius with Park’s vividly evocative if sometimes abstract poetry, they collaborated on a body of work that became the most legendary, unfinished, unreleased album in history.

To remind you of the cultural context of this creation, when Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks wrote the songs for Smile, the then-current Beatles' album was Revolver. Lyndon Johnson was President of the United States, Robert Kennedy was a U.S. Senator, Rev. Martin Luther King was fighting for civil rights and Brian’s boyhood hero, Mickey Mantle, was still playing baseball for the New York Yankees. I think it’s fair to say that given how much the world has changed since then, Smile is one of the longest-delayed “dreams come true” in history.

In fact, to find a similar moment in American music, we might go back to one of Brian’s musical heroes. When George Gershwin combined popular music, ragtime and the concerto, the result was “Rhapsody In Blue.” Brian has no formal musical training; he doesn’t write in classical forms. But very early on, his ear was drawn to Gershwin’s melodic and rhythmically joyous “Rhapsody” and he absorbed the rich harmonic complexities of vocal groups such as the Four Freshmen. Then, Brian took those jazz harmonies and pop stylings, added rock rhythms and instrumentation, and in his early twenties, co-wrote, arranged and produced a slew of classic Beach Boys hits.

In 1966, in a matter of just months, his lightning-fast growth and restless ambition took him from the bittersweet beauty of Pet Sounds to the groundbreaking “Good Vibrations” (the Beach Boys’ first million-selling number one single) and the to Smile. Taking everything he knew and turning it upside down, this inspired 24-year-old invented something that had never been heard before in the rock work. Call it “modular music” – composed, arranged and recorded in such a way as to combine his melodic gifts with his instrinctive use of dynamics to inform the music he wrote with an emotional depth that is for the ages.

The idea that Smile was going to be important began to emerge publicly in the fall of 1966, in the wake of Pet Sounds and “Good Vibrations,” and it was the produce of the classy public relations genius and sheer writing talent of the late Derek Taylor. It was Derek who believed, who began to spread the word from Los Angeles to London that Brian Wilson was back in the studio, creating a new batch of mind-blowing musical experiments.

That same fall, when Brian was filmed performing the Smile song “Surf’s Up,” solo at the piano, for a Leonard Bernstein-hosted CBS News special (“Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution”), it was high-brow confirmation from the most important American maestro that something of true consequence was happening at Brian Wilson’s piano.

For those who were hip enough to be aware of Smile back then, the Smile dream didn’t come true. Brian’s breathtakingly beautiful original tapes were shelved, and instead, Smiley Smile appeared in its place. That was the “death knell,” but it was also the beginning of the Smile legend, which was originally fueled by journalistic mythmakers such as Tom Nolan, Jules Siegel (whose Cheetah magazine article just might be the touchstone story in the creation of the Smile fantasia), and the lengthy David Anderle – Paul Williams Crawdaddy magazine conversations, which gave voice to the hopes and frustrations of those who had witnessed Smile, understood its enormous promise and still hoped that Brian might finish it soon.

The world-at-large could hear what the abandonment of Smile had cost when on a late ‘60s Beach Boys album (20-20), original full-length Smile sessions recordings (“Our Prayer” and “Cabin Essence”) were released. The feeling of what had been lost was only enhanced by their indescribable beauty and originality.

Within the industry, and with a few die-hard fans, Smile remained a phantom, a cruel tease of lost promise. But the Smile dream didn’t go away. When the Beach Bys signed a multi-album contract with Warner Brothers Records in 1970, part of the impetus behind the deal was the Warners wanted Smile. So did anybody who’d ever heard it or heard of it. Everybody had a while to wait.

In the fall of 2003, over 37 years from the moment they had first articulated their original vision, Brian and Van Dyke finished Smile. Then, Brian and his remarkable band rehearsed for months, learning Brian’s original arrangements in their newly completed sequence. The live presentation of Smile to London audiences (filled with fans who had come from all over the planet) was met by prolonged standing ovations and tremendous critical acclaim. All expectations had been exceeded and watching those shows, the years of pain and disappointment seemed to melt away as the overpowering beauty of Smile washed over us.

Once the tour was over, Brian and the band headed for the studio to record Smile. As engineer Mark Linett explains, “For this album, Brian went back to his original modular approach, recording most of the pieces separately so that each section of a song would have it’s own unique sound and texture.

“Just as he did in ’66-67, the master tracks were recorded with everyone, including the strings and horns, playing live, in a relatively small studio – in this case, Studio One at Sunset Sound in Hollywood.” (Historical note: Studio One, with its original echo chamber intact, was one of the studios Brian used for a number of the original “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes and Villains” sessions).

“Because of the demand of the live shows, there were certain things that just couldn’t be played or sung onstage quite the way Brian had originally envisioned them. For the studio version of Smile, Brian and the band eliminated some of the flourished that were designed just for live performance and substantially re-worked the instrumental arrangements.” (Production note: For the vocals, Brian and the band recorded their harmonies using an original “tube” console identical to the one Brian and the Beach Boys had used at Western Studio 3 throughout the 1960s.)

I was fortunate enough to visit the studio for a number of days during the making of this album, and I can’t even begin to describe how surreal an experience it was to watch as this legendary music was finally being recorded for all to hear. Standing in the control room, listening as this music was played in a studio setting, I was very aware of the history I was witnessing. Still, even having seen it, it seem impossible to write, “This is Smile.”

Does Smile really exist?

For those who have waited for this moment forever, it never seemed possible that Brian would summon the sheer audacity it would take to finish and record this album. For decades, asking him about Smile would evoke stony silence or Brian would say, “It’s inappropriate music.” And yet, here it is.

The wait is over. So, on behalf of all of us who have been dreaming of this moment, “Thank you, Brian.” Thank you for being so brave, for casting aside your demons and confronting the music that has been a giant question mark for all of these years. And thank you for finishing it so brilliantly.

For those who don’t know the entire drama, you might rightly ask, “Is this Smile thing really such a big deal?” A fair question, and a lengthy retelling of the history and mystery of the original Smile era might convince you that Smile matters. Or it might not.

Cast all those questions aside; the best thing we can do is listen to this music without the burden of history. Just as Brian did when he composed Smile over thirty-seven years ago, rejoice in the glory of the music itself. And remember, just as it was back in 1966, Brian’s goal is simple. This music was created by him not to cause pressure, but to ease it. He believed then and still believes in the spiritual power of laughter. Very simply, Brian wrote this music to make us Smile. Eternally.

David Leaf

Award winning writer/producer David Leaf is author of The Beach Boys & The California Myth and the director of the documentary Beautiful Dreamer: The Story of Smile.

1. Our Prayer / Gee
(Brian Wilson) Irving Music (BMI) / (Williams Davis/Morris Levy) EMI Longitude Music (BMI)

2. Heroes and Villains
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) Irving Music (BMI)

3. Roll Plymouth Rock 3:48
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) BriMel Music (BMI) / Safe & Sane Music (ASCAP)

4. Barnyard 0:58
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) BriMel Music (BMI) / Safe & Sane Music (ASCAP)

5. Old Master Painter / You Are My Sunshine 1:04
(Haven Gillespie/Beasley Smith) EMI Robbins Catalog Inc. (ASCAP) / (Jimmie Davis) Peer International Corp. (BMI)

6. Cabin Essence 3:27
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) Irving Music (BMI) / Safe & Sane Music (ASCAP)

7. Wonderful
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) Irving Music (BMI)

8. Song For Children 2:16
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) BriMel Music (BMI) / Safe & Sane Music (ASCAP)

9. Child Is Father Of The Man 2:18
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) BriMel Music (BMI) / Safe & Sane Music (ASCAP)

10. Surf’s Up 4:07
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks)

11. I’m In Great Shape / I Wanna Be Around / Workshop 1:56
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) BriMel Music (BMI) / Safe & Sane Music (ASCAP) / (Johnny Mercer/Sadie Vimmerstedt) Warner Brothers Music Corp. (ASCAP) / (Brian Wilson) BriMel Music (BMI)

12. Vega-Tables 2:19
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) Irving Music (BMI)

13. On A Holiday 2:36
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) BriMel Music (BMI) / Safe & Sane Music (ASCAP)

14. Wind Chimes 2:54
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) Irving Music (BMI)

15. Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow 2:27
(Brian Wilson) BriMel Music (BMI)

16. In Blue Hawaii 3:00
(Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks) BriMel Music (BMI) / Safe & Sane Music (ASCAP)

17. Good Vibrations 4:36
(Brian Wilson/Michael Love/Tony Asher) Irving Music (BMI)

Brian Wilson: music, vocals, keyboards
Jeffrey Foskett: vocals, guitars, hammer
Probyn Gregory: vocals, guitars, brass, tannerin, whistles
Nelson Bragg: vocals, percussion, whistles, celery
Bob Lizik: bass guitar, beret
Scott Bennett: vocals, keyboards, mallets, guitars
Darian Sahanaja: vocals, keyboards, mallets, drill, secretary
Nick Walusko: vocals, guitar, eye-patch, carrots
Jim Hines: drums, mallets, saw, sound fx
Paul Mertens:
woodwinds, sax, harmonica, semi-conductor
Taylor Mills: vocals, power-drill, leg-slap

Stockholm Strings ‘n’ Horns
Bjorn Samulsson – trombone
Vikter Sand – saxophone, flute, clarinet
Malin-My Nilsson – violin
Anna Landberg – cello
Staffan Findin – bass trombone
Erik Helm – viola
Andreas Forsman – violin
Markus Sandlund – cello

Words by Van Dyke Parks

Produced and Arranged by Brian Wilson

Recorded & Mixed by Mark Linett

Mix produced by Brian Wilson & Darian Sahanaja

Dave Stone – Acoustic Bass

Basic tracks recorded at Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA, April 13 through April 17, 2004

Overdubs and mix at Your Place Or Mine Recording, Glendale, CA. April, May & June 2004.

Assistant Engineers: Kevin Deane, Daniel S. McCoy, Pete Magdaleno

Mastered by Bob Ludwig in Microsoft HDCD at Gateway Mastering.

Thanks to DCS and Universal Audio for their equipment and support.

Special thanks:

My Loving wife, Melinda, whose love and support encouraged me to share Smile with the world. My little smiling children Daria, Delanie, and Dylan. My daughters Carnie, Wendy and their husbands Dan & Rob. My two new grandsons Leo & TBD. My beloved brothers Carl and Dennis. My nephews Jonah & Justyn. My mother-in-law Rosemary & my nephews Patrick and Kenny. My incredibly talented band. The greatest friends anyone could ever ask for: Gloria Ramos, David & Eva Leaf, Jerry & Lois Weiss, Ray Lawlor. The Van Dyke & Sally Parks Family.

Additional Thanks:

Susan Abe, Ampeg Amps, David Anderle, John Anderson, George Azonek, Tony Asher, Baby Lemonade, Francois Beland (Boucher Guitars), Karina Beznicki, Rodney Bingenheimer, David Bither, Alan Boyd, Shari Bricker, Ky Cabot, Chris Carter, Anie Castro, Dan Chalmers, Gilmore Ching (Hana Ukeleles), Peter Clancy, Eric Custer, The Roger Daltrey Family, Richie Davis, Andrew Day, Mike DeMartin, Danny & Justin (Firebrand Live), Germaine (William Morris Agency), GHS Strings, Tony Goddess, Phil Gough, Peter Grosslight, “Haircut”, Leeann Hard, Samantha Henfrey, Bob Hurwitz, Gene Kraut, Ross Lahey, Lakland Basses, Peter Leinheiser (Gibson Guitars), David Levine, Magee McGee, Paki Newell, Gunnar Norden, Lee Phillips, Dominic Priore, John Reid, Rob Reiner, Keith Sarkisian, Gregg Schaufeld, Barry Siegel, Erik Steigen, Todd Sucherman, SWR Amps, Bill Szocaka, Telefunken Microphones, Eric Thomas, John Tompkin, Willie Twork, Renee Villaneuve, Neil Warnock, Lenny Waronker, John Warren, Peter Whitfield, Mason Wilkinson, Melanie Zessos, and everyone at Nonesuch and Warner Music around the world.

Liner Notes: Copyright 2004 David Leaf
Photography: Melinda Wilson, Guy Webster (courtesy of Brian and Melinda Wilson), Jasper Dailey (courtesy of David Leaf)
Package Design & Art: Mark London
Graphic Layouts: Dennis Loren

Management: Ronnie Lippin, Jean Sievers SOOP LLC
Project & Marketing Coordinator: Phillip Hardy, Gary Imhoff – Collective Music Ltd., (International), Jay Krugman (U.S.)

To all the fans who have waited all these years for me to finish Smile. I dedicate this to you…

- Brian Wilson

Website Builder