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Introduction

A New Interpretation of SMiLE

Zen and Pet Sounds

The Elements

The Koan/The Hallucination

Bio Based SMiLE

The Opposites

Ego

Zen and The Beatles' Revolver

East Or West Indies

Cool Links

The Trip

 Zen and
Pet Sounds

"Yeah...I remember him sitting in the sand box when he was writing Pet Sounds."~Marilyn Wilson, from Back To The Beach, (pg.128.)

"I then told the astrologer about the hallucination I'd had in the bookstore last December, presenting it as a riddle. Genevelyn thought about it for a moment, then explained something that made perfect sense to me. If I wasn't able to find inspiration for songs outside myself, as in books, then I had to look someplace else. I had to look inward. I had to write about the spirituality I felt in my heart."~Brian Wilson, Wouldn't It Be Nice, (pg.131.)

This encounter provided the focus for Brian's next album, Pet Sounds. Notice that Brian was already thinking in terms of riddles and albums.

"I wasn't religious, but I'd definitely developed a spiritual awareness. Loren was always discoursing on spirituality, religious books, inspiring me to make music that would evoke such feelings."~Wouldn't It Be Nice, (pg.131.)

This quote seems tailor-made for SMiLE, but it is from the Pet Sounds portion of Brian's biography. A close look at Pet Sounds reveals some Zen oriented material. Often, the Zen clues are in rejected ideas.

"In My Childhood"~ this later became "You Still Believe In Me." "Children are in touch with paradise to the extent that they have not fully learned the ego-trick..."~Alan Watts, The Book, (pg.115.)

"Let Go Of Your Ego" AKA "Hang On To Your Ego"~ a loss of ego must occur in order to experience enlightenment. The loss of ego makes us more childlike.

"I Know There's An Answer"~ this song's title and lyrics (a reworking of "Ego") work SMiLE-wise. "I Know There's An Answer" refers to the Zen riddle. After Brian's bookstore Zen riddle experience he found the answer while alone on the beach. "I know now but I had to find it by myself."

The back cover of Pet Sounds points toward SMiLE as it features photos of the Beach Boys as samurai warriors. The samurai embraced Zen.

Brian wanted to make music that would, "give the listener the feeling of being loved."

"He lets everything and everybody have a share in his rich capacity for loving, without counting on any love in return. He loves impartially, selflessly, as though only for the sake of loving. And this not because it gives him personal pleasure or satisfies a personal desire, but because he must do so out of abounding love."~Eugen Herrigel, The Method Of Zen, (pgs.94-95.)

"When it was happening...Pet Sounds, 'Good Vibrations' and Smile...it was all one seamless time in which he caught in his music and captured on tape the emotion that was coming through that pipeline, that spirit. That's the problem when you're talking about music. It's not words; it's not verbal. It's that spirit beyond words. I don't usually talk about spiritual things, but I think his inspiration came from that place that people call God."~Danny Hutton

On Pet Sounds Brian would combine the sounds of two instruments to make an altogether new sound. Brian once refered to this as a "miraculous process." On SMiLE Brian would go even further by combining two events from his life (his acid flashback & his spiritual LSD experience) in order to create an altogether new album form.

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Bio Based SMiLE | The Opposites | Ego | Zen and The Beatles' Revolver | East Or West Indies | Cool Links

The Good Humor SMiLE Site!

"When there is thus no crookedness in one's heart, we say that one is natural and childlike. In this there is something highly religious, and angels are represented sometimes as babies with wings. And this is the reason why the Zen artists have a special liking for painting Kanzan and Jittoku, or Hotei with a group of children."~D.T.Suzuki,Zen And Japanese Culture, (pg.375.)


Bill Tobelman
william.tobelman@snet.net

"The central core of the experience seems to be the conviction, or insight, that the immediate now, whatever its nature, is the goal and fulfillment of all living. Surrounding and flowing from this insight is an emotional ecstasy, a sense of intense relief, freedom, and lightness, and often of almost unbearable love for the world..."~Alan Watts,This Is It,(pg.18.)


Pet Sounds was inspired by the original U.S. version of the Beatles' Rubber Soul.
This is where Brian first heard "The Word."

 

The Word
(Lennon-McCartney)

 

Say the word and you'll be free
Say the word and be like me
Say the word I'm thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?
It's so fine, it's sunshine
It's the word, love

 

In the beginning I misunderstood
But now I've got it, the word is good

 

Spread the word and you'll be free
Spread the word and be like me
Spread the work I'm thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?
It's so fine, it's sunshine
It's the word, love

 

Everywhere I go I hear it said
In the good and bad books that I have read

 

Say the word and you'll be free
Say the word and be like me
Say the word I'm thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?
It's so fine, it's sunshine
It's the word, love

 

Now that I know what I feel must be right
I'm here to show everybody the light

 

Give the word a chance to say
That the word is just the way
It's the word I'm thinking of
And the only word is love
It's so fine, it's sunshine
It's the word, love