The Beach Boys: Smile Sessions

The Beach Boys
The Smile Sessions

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The most famous, unreleased album in rock history, The Beach Boys’ Smile, has finally been released and in addition to being a source of wonderful and well-crafted songs like “Good Vibrations,” “Surf’s Up,” and “Heroes and Villains,” the five-disk edition of The Smile Sessions also contains a wealth of material that helps you understand the musical genius involved in the creation of the band’s groundbreaking work.  To be fair, Brian Wilson did put out a newly recorded version of the album a few years back, but there is a special magic in hearing the mythical Beach Boys 1966-1967 version finally completed.

There are a few sublime treasures in the album itself such as the beautiful song “Wonderful,” the astonishing solo version of “Surf’s Up,” the angelic opening to the album “Our Prayer,” and of course the classic “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes and Villains” complete with a wealth of sessions  from the songs.  The sessions give a great deal of insight into the music with Brian Wilson directing the musicians and sometimes learning as he was going but it also shows his professionalism and dedication to the tedious process as opposed to the out-of-control lore, which has been told of over the years.

If you’re a real Beach Boys fan or a true music aficionado, this is certainly a must-have release. It’s amazing that the album was this close to being finished and never released over the years.  Even if you’re not a die-hard, the album is well worth a listen if for nothing else than for the reason that it inspired a host of musicians ranging from contemporaries such as The Beatles to modern masters such as Animal Collective.

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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