The Beach Boys' SMiLE


One of the most widespread bootlegs which never has been released in any other form is the Beach Boys’ Smile. After the release of Pet Sounds -- regarded as one of the best albums in rock – in 1966, Beach Boys songwriter Brian Wilson began work on what he intended to be the ultimate pop/psychedelic/progressive album.

Wilson abandoned the project in 1967 for a variety of disputed reasons – his drug problems, pressure from Capitol Records or the rest of the Beach Boys frustration with the lack of commercial prospects for the album. In 1967, the Beach Boys instead released Smiley Smile. While it contained some of the elements that would have appeared on Smile, Smiley Smile was hastily completed and bombed (compared to Beach Boys albums) in record stores and on the charts.

In addition, Wilson’s billing of Smile as the greatest album ever made, sparked fans into wonder what it might have been. Finished pieces of Smile tracks have found their way on other Beach Boys albums – “Good Vibrations,” “Vega-tables” and “Heroes and Villains” on Smiley Smile and “Surf’s Up” on the album of the same name. The most comprehensive collections was on the Beach Boys 1990 box set, which contained 13 demos from the Smile sessions.

The box set ($60.78 on Amazon.com) and bootlegs ($40 to $125 on Ebay.com depending on length and sound quality) are expensive and offer an overwhelming amount of music.

The Internet has put a damper on those options.