Brian Wilson Bears "Smile"

Beach Boy mastermind to unveil lost masterwork in London

May 23, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Thirty-seven years after he abandoned it, Brian Wilson will revive Smile onstage. He and his backing band the Wondermints will perform the Beach Boys' legendary lost album -- or, rather, Wilson's 2004 interpretation of what the uncompleted 1967 album eventually would have become -- at London's Royal Festival Hall, February 20-24th.

Smile was to be the follow-up to critical darling but commercial failure Pet Sounds. The then-twenty-four-year-old Wilson wrote the album with lyricist and arranger Van Dyke Parks, and described the elaborate work-in-progress as a "teenage symphony to God."

The rest of the Beach Boys, who were on tour singing the band's more standard surfing songs during much of Smile's creation, were less than enamored with Wilson and Van Dyke's symphony. Wilson, shaken by real pressures to produce hits and less rational factors such as believing that his song "Fire" was actually causing fires in his Los Angeles neighborhood, abandoned the project, though Smile tracks like "Heroes and Villians," "Cabinessence" and "Surf's Up" and "Wind Chimes" would be re-recorded for subsequent Beach Boys records.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

More Song Stories entries »