Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Beach Boys - SMiLE (UPGRADE)

The Beach Boys - SMiLE

(soniclovenoize Stereo 1967 / BWPS Mix)


Disc 1 – 1967 Stereo Mix

Side A:

1.  Our Prayer / Heroes and Villains

2.  Vege-Tables

3.  Do You Like Worms?

4.  Child is Father of The Man

5.  The Old Master Painter

6.  Cabin Essence

Side B:

7.  Good Vibrations

8.  Wonderful

9.  I’m in Great Shape

10.  Wind Chimes

11.  The Elements

12.  Surf’s Up

Disc 2 – BWPS Stereo Mix

Movement 1:

1.  Our Prayer / Gee

2.  Heroes and Villains

3.  Roll Plymouth Rock

4.  Barnyard

5.  The Old Master Painter / You Were My Sunshine

6.  Cabin Essence

Movement 2:

7.  Wonderful

8.  Song For Children

9.  Child is Father of The Man

10.  Surf’s Up

Movement 3:

11.  I’m in Great Shape / I Wanna Be Around / Workshop

12.  Vege-Tables

13.  On a Holiday

14.  Wind Chimes

15.  Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow

16.  In Blue Hawaii

17.  Good Vibrations

Happy Easter!  And what did the Easter Bunny bring you?  How about an upgrade to my stereo SMiLE mixes!  While my personal SMiLE interest was re-piqued in 2022 with my divisive Hitsville Mix, the common response was “Um, great… but what about an upgrade to your 1967 Mix, or your BWPS Mix?  I liked those…”  Well, I guess you were right, as the novelty wore off and I eventually circled back to my personal favorite– my original 1967 Mix… with some very minor changes influenced by the Hitsville Mix.  

As always, the premise of my 1967 Mix is “What would SMiLE have actually sounded like in 1967?”  Over the course of the last 50 years or so, many historical revisions and inaccurate assumptions have sort of twisted what I believe the original intent of the album actually was; this is absolutely fine, as it has been observed that SMiLE unintentionally became the world’s first listener-interactive album, in that it is up to you to finish it, using various mixes and sources.  Even the eventual Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE (BWPS) is more of Darian Sahanaja’s mix with the benefit of Brian Wilson actually fronting it!  But being the intentionalist I am, we will try to go to the source: what would this monster of an album sound like in its original incarnation?  

Well, the fact is that we will never know; SMiLE was never completed, and its author simply could not decide how it should be put together at the time of its creation.  We can, however, look at the probability of what it would have sounded like, based upon testimony of principal participants, Brian Wilson’s own rough mixes and studio documentation.  I have previously and exhaustively covered these specifics, so I am only going to very quickly gloss over them here.  But generally speaking:

  1. This “authentic” SMiLE will exist “simply” as a standard twelve-song album.  The twelve individual songs (excluding “Our Prayer”, functioning as the album’s introduction) are not crossfaded or presented as a medley.  However, we are generally losing the two-second leader time between tracks, much as how Sgt Pepper was presented.  

  2. The twelves specific songs are as listed on the January 1967 letter to Capitol Records from the band's own hand, although not necessarily in that specific order (see label for correct playing order).  The song order itself creates two 20-minute sides each,   sandwiched by the hit singles beginning the sides and the epic songs closing the sides.  There is no overarching concept, as originally suggested by Dominic Priore in the 1980s.  

  3. The construction of those twelve songs is generally dictated by Brain Wilson’s own blueprint, as heard in his own 1966/1967 rough mix assemblages.  If a rough mix assemblage does not exist for a song, we will construct it in a similar fashion as the others to create a cohesive whole, or postulate what it would sound like based upon information available.  

One new revision from my previous 1967 Mix is my intentional exclusion of post-1967-recorded material.  With a cue taken by my previous Hitsville Mix, we will use recordings dating from just after the conclusion of the SMiLE sessions (“Whispering Winds”, “Water chant”, etc) in order to present a more complete SMiLE.  We will NOT, however, use any audio dating past the 1971 Surf’s Up sessions, especially NOT anything “flown” in from 2004 Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE.  Also, we will NOT be using AI-created Brian Wilson-emulated vocals to complete unsung verses; while I appreciate the technology and am not specifically against it, I chose to leave these recordings as complete as they were by 1971, for better or for worse.  This exercise is meant to see how complete a SMiLE could be using only vintage Beach Boys recordings.  

One final note: If this was released in 1967, yes, it would have been in mono only.  But I have always thought SMiLE was especially adaptable in the stereo format, as one is able to more easily appreciate its sonic treasures.  So since it is now possible to make a completely stereo SMiLE, well, we will!  

Side A begins with the stereo mix of “Our Prayer” found on Made In California, as an unlisted opening to the album.  This is followed by my complete stereo mix of the February 1967 “Heroes and Villains” (aka The Cantina Version), as blueprinted by the man himself, before he lost the SMiLE plot.  This is followed by “Vege-Tables”, which is the same mix as from my Hitsville Mix–a completely stereo version of Mark Linnet’s 1993 mix.  Next is “Do You Like Worms”, similar to my previous Hitsville Mix but with the Bicycle Rider theme panned from right to left, representing Western Expansionism.  A slightly improved mix of “Child is Father of The Man” is next, which follows Brian’s three-minute rough mix structure.  My Histville stereo mix of “The Old Master Painter” follows, but using the remade “Heroes and Villains” Fade, as the Barnshine Fade was already used in “Heroes and Villains” proper.  The side closes with my Hitsville stereo mix of “Cabin Essence”, but with a longer fade-out.  

Side B starts with “Good Vibrations”, using the fantastic 2022 stereo mix from Sounds of Summer as a base, but with the slightly longer fade.  Next is a new and improved stereo mix of “Wonderful”, with the lead vocal and bass centered, harpsichord panned left and backing vocals panned right!  Following is a new stereo mix of “I’m In Great Shape” with a better sync of the vocal and backing track, and my Hitsville stereo mix of “Wind Chimes” which follows Brian’s 1966 rough assemblages.  

“The Elements” has always been the most divisive track on SMiLE, but here I used the same construction as featured on my HItsville Mix, which ended up being the closest to what I imagined a vintage “The Elements” to actually sound like: each element is represented by one simple, repeated musical motif–here “Barnyard”, “Whispering Winds”, “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” and “Water Chant”--not already heard on the album.  Although I regret that the four segments do not follow their natural order, this is the most logical order in a musical and dynamic sense.  Note that this is a new stereo mix of “Barnyard” which features centered vocals and bass, backing vocals panned to the right and the rest of the backing track panned left.  Concluding is a new stereo mix of “Surf’s Up” featuring the lead vocal by Brian.  

While I personally do not enjoy the BWPS construction of this material, I recognize that many do, and feel it is THE version of SMiLE.  That is completely fine, so I am including an all-stereo reconstruction of the BWPS sequence as the second disc of this set.  I put great care into trying, to the best of my capabilities and materials at hand, to replicate that specific sequence as heard on Brian Wilson’s solo 2004 album–measure to measure!  All tracks are crossfaded and hard edited into each other, making three continuous Movements, as per BWPS.  Note that there were several interstitial orchestral pieces arranged by Darian Sahanaja that simply do not exist as a Beach Boys equivalent, and in those cases I had to substitute different or similar vintage recording.  Also, like the 1967 Mix, I am not using any modern fly-ins or AI-sung completions.  

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)

Smiley Smile (2012 CD remix/remaster)

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. Thanks a lot for this great work... already downloaded, I will listen with great care and pleasure!!

  2. Disregarding your issues (if any) with the ethics of AI, it's the way music is going, and perhaps if you learned how to use it your Smile recreations could make a quantum leap. I think you've taken the "old school" methodology of editing existing material as far as it can go - it will always be reshuffling the same deck of cards, and you've already dealt the best hand possible. Dae Lims' fantastic AI re-imagining has taken the game to a new level, and I'd love to hear what your own AI-assisted version would sound like.

  3. "Smile" is an odd duck. So many people want to label it as a "lost masterpiece," and perhaps as a work of musical art it is. But even if Brian Wilson had managed to meet the deadline and "Smile" had come out in March 1967, does anyone really think it would have been a hit? There are only really 2-3 real songs (plus GV) mixed up with a lot of sound effects and musical wanderings. In fact, tacking "Good Vibrations" onto the track list only demonstrates how weak the rest of the material is. Perhaps as the deadline approached, Brian realized that he really didn't have a strong album and that at least partially led to it being scrapped.

  4. AEC, you might be interested in this: