Interview: Brian Wilson on SMiLE - JazzWax

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October 07, 2011


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David Larsson

Thanks for this great interview. I remember being gobstopped when I first saw Brian perform "Surf's Up" in Leonard Bernstein's "Inside Pop - The Rock Revolution" in April of 1967 (YouTube has it here, beginning of part 6 of 6: ). I also always loved Van Dyke Parks' response when Mike Love became upset about singing "Over and over the crow cries, uncover the cornfield:" "I have no excuse, sir."


1. Most of his "autobiography" was written by Eugene Landy. He has mentioned that he doesn't remember writing any of it.

2. That version of "Heroes and Villains" is not from Smile. That is the butchered and edited version which has been available forever on Smiley Smile.

Michael Steinman

I grew up in the Fifties and Sixties, and after an early hopeful immersion in the Beatles, I decided that the music of "my generation" was not for me -- turned from RUBBER SOUL to STRUTTIN' WITH SOME BARBECUE and never looked back. But this comment is a tribute to Marc's hard work and insights: I would have passed by a blogpost about Brian Wilson in any other context, but read this one and was gratified by the feeling and intelligence here -- as always! Cheers from a fellow blogger who knows that what looks easy on the monitor is the result of hours of work!

Ed Leimbacher

Let me second that Steinman 'motion; nice work with wispy, wacky workaholic Wilson, B. (especially your detective work re: Beatles); the good vibes made me smile, and think back to the one Beach Boys performance I attended, around '67 or '68... when I was really bummed to find then-session guitarist Glenn Campbell in as tour substitute for Brian, and Mike Love busily bossing everyone around. The music and harmonies were actually fine, but the magical Bri-vibes sadly MIA.

Dwayne Morgan

Is that the re-recorded version of Surf's Up from the Surf's Up album? The last half is Brian singing it on the Bernstein feature. Wonder what the original sounds like... The version on BW Presents Smile is beyond beautiful.

Cedric Morgan

a legend that pushed sonic boundarie...Hopefully i ll find an available version of your article out there... great insight in this post....I enjoyed it

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  • Marc Myers writes on music and the arts for The Wall Street Journal. He is author of "Why Jazz Happened" (Univ. of Calif. Press). Founded in 2007, JazzWax was named the 2015 "Blog of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association.
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