“The overtones on that celeste are just too uncool… I don’t know." - Brian Wilson / The SMiLE Sessions: Disc 2
The depth of this amazing box set is just blowing my mind right now. After the Good Vibrations and Pet Sounds boxes, this is my third Beach Boys box set and by far the most elaborate. The fact that they just left the tape rolling through all of the rehearsals astounds me. There was no way there going to get a first take, but Capitol just let them pile up the tapes while they worked it out. Brian was teaching everyone these crazy arrangements by ear while on the clock with the tape machine on. I feel incredibly fortunate to be listening to these beautifully preserved music lessons 45 years later.
I can’t help but feel sad that Carl and Dennis never lived to see the eventual release of these sessions which have haunted the band for the last four decades. For music fans, the story of the great lost album SMiLE has held an exciting and mysterious allure for so many years, but I can’t imagine being in this band and having this huge landmark album remain unfinished and unreleased for most of their lives. They’ve made so much other beautiful and important music, but I imagine that the SMiLE ordeal has been a trial for everyone involved.
So to Brian, Van Dyke, Mike, Al, Bruce and to Carl and Dennis wherever they may be… thank you. Well done.