Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Beach Boys - SMiLE (Hitsville Mix)

The Beach Boys - SMiLE

(stereo “Hitsville Mix” by soniclovenoize)

Side A:

1.  Our Prayer

2.  Do You Like Worms

3.  Wind Chimes

4.  Heroes and Villains Part I

5.  Heroes and Villains Part II

6.  Surf’s Up

7.  Good Vibrations

Side B:

8.  Cabin Essence 

9.  Wonderful

10.  I’m In Great Shape

11. Child is Father of The Man

12.  The Elements

13.  Vege-Tables

14.  The Old Master Painter

Need something to be thankful about this Thanksgiving?  How about a new SMiLE?

I have gotten many requests for an update to my SMiLE mix lately… and while I don’t necessarily see any pressing need to upgrade my previous SMiLE reconstructions (as yes, I do stand by my ‘67 reconstruction!), I thought it would be a fun challenge to make a completely different SMiLE mix!  I call this the “Hitsville Mix” (named after a Brian Wilson ad lib while recording “Heroes and Villains”) and it is unassociated with my previous mixes.  It is a completely different mix and ideally, a different SMiLE listening experience, intending to be more unpredictable and bizarre, much like the actual Smiley Smile album.  Here, I am using ALL NEW stereo mixes I’ve made over the last few months, except “Good Vibrations”, which is the brand new 2022 official stereo extraction mix, which sounds the best it ever has! 

What is the theme/concept of the Hitsville Mix of SMiLE?  I gave myself a few guidelines:

1)  Unlike my previous “1967” mix, I am not beholden to strict “historical accuracy” or the theoretical artistic intent of Brian Wilson.  This is the mix that I wanted to make, rather than the mix I presumed Brian Wilson wanted to make.  

2)  ALL STEREO.  This requires, as aforementioned, new stereo mixes to be made for all songs, except “Our Prayer” and “Good Vibrations”, whose official stereo mixes are just fine. 

3)  As a challenge, I chose to limit myself to using the handwritten “Capitol Trackllist” as submitted to Capitol Records in January 1967 and subsequently printed on the reverse cover slicks.  The majority of SMiLErs discard this track sequence for various reasons and create their own track sequence–often based upon either Dominic Priore’s suggested tracklist in Look! Listen! Vibrate Smile! or Darian Sahanaja’s tracklist on Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE.  Here, we will try to make sense out of the long-derided track order.  

The end result of my Hitsville Mix is exactly how I hoped: it is a little more bonkers and less logical than my previous reconstructions, and keeps the vibe of Smiley Smile, albeit more hi-fi.  Songs are allowed to be fragments and don’t necessarily go anywhere; the listener is thrown curve-balls and the trajectory of the album is fairly unexpected; Side B is specifically bizarre but ends with a wow! 

Side A begins like any other mix–with “Our Prayer”, the stereo mix from Made in California as an unlisted introduction to the album.  This is hard edited into a new stereo mix of “Do You Like Worms”, which uses the tracking sessions from The Smile Sessions as a base, with isolated vocals from the Smile Vocal Montage, Unsurpassed Masters 17 and the (lousy) 2022 stereo mix from Sounds of Summer.  Following is “Wind Chimes”, here ignoring the stereo Made in California mix and instead presented as a similar structure as Brian’s 1966 test edit, using a pitch-corrected backing track taken from The Smile Sessions, with vocals taken from The Smile Vocal Montage and Unsurpassed Masters 16.  

The project’s flagship song “Heroes and Villains” follows, which is a completely stereo version of the classic “Cantina Mix”, including the Verse and Three-Score-Five sections!  But instead, after Whistling Bridge there is a cut to Bridge To Indians and Prelude To Fade to create an ending (since I am using the proper Fade to end the actual album).  Next is my attempt to create the theoretical “Part II” of “Heroes and Villains”, that would have been found on its 7” single (or combined to the legendary six-minute “Heroes and Villains”, if you are so inclined).  Using the Gee and Part 2 iterations as a base combined with excerpts from the Brian Wilson led psychedelic sounds, mock interviews and experimental raps, we are able to create a faux Vaudeville variety act!  What I am intending is that the listener can imagine The Beach Boys as a psychedelic barbershop quartet who are literally framing a series of comedy sketches, all onstage and concluding with a laughing audience!

One gripe SMiLErs have with the Capitol Tracklist is the placement of “Surf’s Up” in the middle of Side A; while strange, we will embrace it and own it, as a song about a maestro artist on-stage literally follows an on-stage performance!  Here is a brand new stereo mix I’ve created using the tracking sessions from The Smile Sessions as a base, combined with the isolated vocals from the Feel Flows boxset.  Here, I’ve chosen to use Carl’s lead vocal instead of Brian’s, which seemed more appropriate with the song’s placement on the album.  Following is the fantastic 2022 stereo extraction mix of “Good Vibrations” from Sounds of Summer

Side B begins with a new, improved stereo mix of “Cabin Essence”, using the backing tracks from The Smile Sessions, combined with the extracted vocal from 20/20 and The Smile Vocal Montage.  Next is a brand new stereo mix of “Wonderful”, with a more defined soundstage, sourced from the Good Vibrations box set and The Smile Vocal Montage.  Using the Insert as a segue, we can modulate up to “I’m In Great Shape”, which combines the backing track from The Smile Sessions and the vocal from the Humble Harve demo, hard edited onto a stereo “I Wanna Be Around”; this follows the BWPS structure, which was how I always envisioned the song being constructed.  

Next is a new stereo mix of “Child is Father of the Man”, using a structure that best fits this album’s track sequence, rather than any version that Brian Wilson specifically designed.  Next is an edit I am fairly proud of–a completely new version of “The Elements”, again made to fit this album sequence, rather than any historical accuracy.  It begins with the Earth section, represented by a brand new stereo mix of “Barnyard”; then it is overlapped with the Wind section, represented by the alternate Whispering Winds from Sunshine Tomorrow; Fire is next represented by “Mrs O’Leary’s Cow”, proper, without any Chimes or Heroes and Villains Intros which is otherwise common; concluding is the Water section, represented by the alternate Water Chant from Sunshine Tomorrow.  

The concept of this new mix of “Vege-Tables” is to make an all-stereo version of a specific edit of “Vege-Tables” I made 20 years ago, which mainly constituted Brian’s mono mixdowns from Unsurpassed Masters 17 and Mark Linett’s mix on the Good Vibrations boxset.  Thus, using the stereo mix from Made in California, tracking sessions from The Smile Sessions and vocals from The Smile Vocal Montage and Unsurpassed Masters 17, we are able to have both the extended reverb at the end of the first two verses, as well as the unique crossfade between the Do A Lot chorus and the Fade, now in true stereo!  The Hitsville Mix of SMiLE ends with a big send-off: “The Old Master Painter”, featuring a brand new (and more accurate!) stereo sync.  Note that the Barnshine Fade is used here to end the track as originally intended before it was gutted for the Cantina mix of “Heroes and Villains”, giving this SMiLE and joyous finale.  

Sources used:

Feel Flows (2021 CD box set)

Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys (1993 CD box set)

Made in California (2013 CD box set)

The SMiLE Sessions (2011 CD box set)

Sounds of Summer (2022 deluxe edition)

Sunshine Tomorrow (2017 CD)

Unsurpassed Masters Vol 16 (1999 bootleg CD)

Unsurpassed Masters Vol 17 (2000 bootleg CD)


  1. Listless falk:


  2. empty trees:


  3. Sonic, as always I look forward to see what fun stuff you have for us this time. Big Thanks from the mid-pacific.

    1. So having listened to it, I like it!. Sounds to me as what I imagine you get if you said to Brian "it's great, we just need you to tighten it up a bit so that it can fit on an LP."
      Excellent work Sonic!

  4. Thank you! Can't wait to hear it.

  5. Always good to have a different take on this from the master himself. Can't wait to listen!

  6. Somehow I don't get the limk downloaded What do I wrong? Any help is appreciated

    1. The link itself is just split into separate lines of text to fool the bots. You can select the entire block of text and paste it into the URL bar in a browser, and it should actually reassemble properly. If it doesn't, you can just put it together yourself like a puzzle.

  7. Your 2018 'SMiLE' release, by light years, is the best ever!
    This, although quite enjoyable, seems a bit more abstract than it should be, like a proposed exercise in indulgence... I understand you do not see this as something like would be officially released, and was a work of fun to explore these exotic passages... I really liked! Please keep publishing things, as they are truly appreciated.

  8. This Heroes And Villains Part 2 is a revelation. All those daft fragments finally make sense for the first time.

  9. Wow, what a tremendous reconstruction!

  10. Good job! Goes to show how much of a mess this album would have been had they followed that tracklist x'D

    That aside, how did you manage to make a Stereo mix for Heroes and Villains Part 1? :O

    1. Tee hee, that was my crown achievement, imo!

      What I did for almost all of these is to construct "virtual multitracks" for each song. I synced up all audio I could find for each song into a DAW, using an established mix as an "anchor" for how it should be put together.

      For the Cantina H&V, during the Verse and Three Score Five sections, you are hearing:
      - The bass frequencies from the instrumental Verse Tracking Sessions from The Smile Sessions (200 Hz and below)
      - The remaining frequency band from the instrumental panned to the right (300 Hz and above)
      - The standard Cantina mix with the vocals, panned to the center, with a low-cut filter at 150 Hz and some slight cuts in the highs.
      - The a capella section from the standard Cantina mix panned to the right, with some slight cuts in the highs.

      In effect, the illusion is created that the bass and lead vocal is centered, the backing vocals are right and the rest of the instruments are panned left. But because of the EQ parameters of each track, some instruments seems "pulled" to the center or outward depending on the frequency of each instrument. For instance, the mid-range instruments like the acoustic guitar and piano seems to be pulled to 10:00, while the higher-range instruments like the drums and trumpet remain panned to the left. The same thing happens to the backing vocals, with the mid-range pulled to 2:00, and the higher parts staying to the hard right.

  11. I'm a sucker for any and all things SMiLE. Thanks for another addition. Your other one was fantastic

  12. In reality, there is no 'Capitol tracklisting' because the album was never finished and the running order was never decided. The rear cover - assuming it's genuine - stated "See label for correct playing order", so I can't see any reason to follow it. Good work on the reconstruction though!

    1. If the running order was never decided, than this running order is equally as valid as any other.

      Regardless, I chose this track order simply because I thought it would be interesting and challenging. I'm making no claims of the historical accuracy of this at all.

  13. Thanks again for your fantastic work, waiting for impatiently your next Neil Young production...

  14. The link takes me to the mega file (flac), but downloading fails right away every time. What should I do?

  15. Very cool version! But I think you should have tacked on "You're Welcome" to the end.

    1. Yeah, I know folks like to do this, and it is a good idea. But *to me*, I feel like it's like a movie that won't end, a la Return of the King. "How many endings is this thing gonna have?"

    2. Completely understandable. I was thinking unlisted track to begin the album, unlisted track to end it.

  16. The back cover was more of a mock up than anything else. The original slick that was used for the photo was actually marked up in ren marks for corrections. The photo was taken by a camera with a red filter to eliminate the marks. There were several slicks prepared (like a front cover without ''Good Vibrations''). There have been no physical copies of the back cover found.

  17. That the 'songs' may not be that. They based it on a handwritten list, that most likely had early titles for some songs. For example, there was no song called ''Elements'', but a four part suite (Wind Chimes, Mrs. O'Leary's Cow, Vega-Tables, Love To Say Da Da) that represent the four elements. That even may not be correct. Simple point, the back cover is not real or the genuine back cover.

    1. Oof, let's unpack this...

      If there was no song called "The Elements", then why was MOC specifically slated, out loud and on the recording, as "The Elements Part 1"-- which I literally used in this reconstruction?

      There is NO real evidence that ILTSDD was a part of The Elements; that is just conjecture and, honestly, convenience.

      Also, we don't know that Wind Chimes was the Air section. That is conjecture out of convenience.

      It is believed that Vege-Tables was once considered for the Earth section, but extracted as it's own song. But the logic of that is flimsy at best anyways.

      Do you believe the handwritten list is genuine? If so, then everything you have said is a moot point, because, as of January 1967, when it was written, that's what Brian was considering for SMiLE. Period. It's legitimacy should not be in question.

      Regardless, I chose to use that tracklist for fun and I thought it was an interesting challenge. I am not claiming otherwise.

  18. In recording, temporary or working names are sometimes announced by the engineer. George Harrison was notorious for this. If you listen to the ''Revolver'' box set, some of his songs are announced as "Granny Smith'' or "Laxton's Superb" (breeds of apples) are actually the songs "Love You To" and "I Want To Tell You".

    Brian had previous done this with Pet Sounds. He wrote down a list of songs, that as of February of 1966, would be on the album. Three of the songs, "Good, Good, Good Vibrations," "The Old Man And The Baby', and "Hang On To Your Ego" were either dropped or had name changes. "Good, Good, Good Vibrations" became "Good Vibrations" and was dropped, "The Old Man And The Baby" became "Let's Go Away For Awhile", and of course "Hang On To Your Ego" became "I Know There's An Answer."

    I am speculating that Capitol wanted a list to give to the art department to come up with preliminary album designs since the San Diego zoo cover shoot happened just a week earlier. SOP.

    The Smile song list is real and in Brian's handwriting, but is by no means definite (like, say ''Add Some Music'') Like ''Pet Sounds'', it was a preliminary list. Sadly, no one knows a running order because it's been said repeatedly that only Brian would know, but he never got that close to completing the album to have a definite track list. Although I do like your list, but I am surprised "Good Vibrations'' and or ''Heroes And Villains'' as lead tracks. Capitol's SOP at the time, usually had the lead single open one of the two sides.

    1. Brian Wilson is not George Harrison, someone who infamously was indecisive about naming songs. That was not necessarily the case with Brian, especially when we have a plethora of documentation that there WAS INDEED a concept of The Elements. WHAT The Elements was, beyond MOC, we know not. But it WAS a thing.

      Once again, this version of SMiLE isn't intended to be "historically accurate" (which my previous ones were). So the legitimacy of the handwritten list is really not relevant. I'm really confused why you are telling me what I already know when it doesn't even apply.

  19. I should say they are not lead tracks on your album.

  20. Oh I don't disagree with you, not at all. I was just commenting that the back was not a real tangible thing. It wasn't produced like the front cover slicks (of which I have a framed copy). I was just commenting that there are still unknowns to this album. Not so much a complete, unreleased album like say "Homegrown" or the Glyn Johns "Get Back" albums. It is similar (not the same mind you) as ''Landlocked''. Was it or was it not an album. Based on the perspective of 50 years and the conflicting views of the actual participants (for example Steve Desper, Jack Rieley) it's a nebulous issue.

  21. Really looking forward to this. You're very patient with commenters who seem to get hold of the wrong end of the stick and refuse to let go!

    Your last reconstruction has become *my* definitive Smile (as I'm sure it has for many others). No other comes close. This, as you say repeatedly, is a flight of fancy with no claims to be definitive and I'll enjoy it on that basis.

  22. It is a good order. My ear has always preferred a running order based on the boots from the 1980s. Whether it's a good flow or not, it is one that's sticks in my brain. I was kind of surprised the "Heroes And Villains" bonus track from the "Smiley Smile / Wild Honey" two-fer was not apart of the set. It seems genuine, and in an article with Brian from early 1967, describes this version to a tee. The article was reproduced in Domonic Priore's "Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile!", which is worth getting just for the 19661967 article reproductions.

    1. You mean like this?

  23. I loved the mixes, congratulations! Just think you could've done your own song order too in favor of the pace. To me that's what you should do with get back / let it be someday. Make the best versions of each song not caring for "historical acuracy" and just recreate the best each song can be. Great work!

    1. I hear what you are saying. But my most recent Get Back was my own song order, and so was my previous SMiLE.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. It's true! Forget the song order part XD
      But really each song in Get Back / Let It Be has so many alternative versions/material that i can only imagine how great each song can be in this "free mixing" way

  24. I really like Your Beach Boys' reconstructions. IMHO, they are the best available - best versions, best sources, always great sound - no need to look for bootlegs. As the Beach Boys have much unreleased material, I hope You'll post more albums (each has great or at least interesting songs). Maybe Mike's "First Love"? Yeah, I know, I'm very funny, but this album is widely regarded as the best Mike has ever done. And the official release of it probably will never come...

  25. Another great mix of SMiLE! Yours are some of the best. I attempted my own mix, envisioning the record as a double album. Listen here if interested:

    1. What was the tracklist like? The video for taken down

  26. I think you will love the "Heroes And Villains" from the album "Hawthorne, CA". It's the only pristine version of this song i've ever heard, both vocals and instruments. It's from 2001, but you can hear it on Spotify.

  27. Marvelous and such a joyful reconstruction. I am impressed. Please allow me to admit I deleted the chat sections within Heroes and Villains. I'm fond of the music and not the speak through sections. I want to listen and listen and listen again to this marvelous reconstruction without getting annoyed by the chat conversation. I hope you don't mind.
    With most absolute appreciated thanks from Paris under the rain,