"I seriously doubt that any of you reading this don't have a home made cassette recorder. If you do, then try this suggestion on a blank home-made cassette: COMPILE A SMILE ALBUM BY YOURSELF AT HOME!!! Don't be afraid to be creative! I recompile my tape every time some new out-take tape floats in, or a new concept comes to light in the layout that I've never realized before."
-Domenic Priore, Look! Listen! VIBRATE! SMiLE!
Bill's Home-Made SMiLE
Way back in the late '80s Domenic Priore's classic book Look! Listen! VIBRATE! SMiLE! encouraged readers to compile their own version of SMiLE on a cassette tape and to make changes as new material and/or insight warranted. Priore's advice really started something.
Lots of folks have their own favorite sequence and I'm no exception. When someone posts their latest mind-blowing version I usually give it a quick looking over: but that's all, & I expect most folks to do the same with the line-up laid out here. When the official Beach Boys version of SMiLE appeared it was great, but shortly thereafter that make-your-own-version of SMiLE mentality reappeared and I had to change things around a bit.
The following sequence is one that was pretty much settled upon about a month after The SMiLE Sessions stuff came out. To me it's a little more far-out and in the spirit of '67 than the official release while at the same time it is very respectful of Brian Wilson's 2004 edits and song sequence. I use iTunes to edit the song lengths for an iPod (the modern version of a cassette recorder) and the timings noted below may not be perfect but hopefully you'll get the general idea.
There are a few things I especially like about this home-made version of SMiLE. Admittedly as with any home-made version, conclusions drawn directly from the unique sequencing could be accused of circular reasoning.
"Our Prayer" is followed by most of "Heroes And Villains: Part 2" (which is similar to "Gee") then, following the flutter tone (as in "Heroes And Villains Piano Demo"), comes "I'm In Great Shape" which is followed by most of "Heroes And Villains: Part 1." I think most people would agree that the chants & sections that make up "Heroes And Villains: Part 2" don't seem to serve any real thematic purpose (In 1993 Rolling Stone's John Milward summed up the structurally similar "Heroes And Villains (Sections)" as follows: "A five-minute section of unused material composed around the themes of "Heroes And Villains". . . reveals a song whose parts should have added up to more than they did."). But a SMiLE sequence that follows "Heroes And Villains: Part 2" with the waking-up & getting out of bed of "I'm In Great Shape" leads one to wonder if the chants/sections of "Heroes And Villains: Part 2" might represent something akin to a dream. People often pray before they go to sleep; so "Our Prayer" appears to be in its proper place in this possible sequence of events. Add to this the following of "I'm In Great Shape" with "Heroes And Villains: Part 1" and one might further wonder if they are still involved in a dream after waking: a waking dream. After all, there are "Heroes And Villains" of some form or another both prior to and post waking-up & getting out of bed. So is "Heroes And Villains" one big dream? Is that why so much of SMiLE was recorded under the heading of "Heroes And Villains"? Is SMiLE one big dream?
I think so, and his website's recent The Creative Consistency Of SMiLE page totally jibes with this Heroes And Villains/dream, SMiLE/dream, idea.
It's also very cool that both "Heroes And Villains: Part 1" and "Heroes And Villains: Part 2" were chosen to represent SMiLE on the Made In California compilation. Their inclusion on the box set seems to justify their inclusion on this home-made version of SMiLE.
Following "The Elements: Fire" is an early version of "Cool, Cool Water." This was added because it's nice to hear some singing between instrumentals and also because it segues so nicely into the water chant that opens " Love To Say Dada ."
This home-made version of SMiLE could appear on a single vinyl record album (note: Elvis Costello's Get Happy LP clocks in at around 48 minutes). If you started side two with "Surf's Up" and used the hit version of "Good Vibrations," both sides of the record would run less than 24 minutes each.
Bill's Home-Made SMiLE (using tracks from The SMiLE Sessions releases and some sloppy iTunes timing edits)
Heroes And Villains: Part 2 [edited to end at the 3:33.8 mark] (this removes the Heroes And Villains: Fade 2/28/67)
I'm In Great Shape
Heroes And Villains: Part 1 [edited to end at the 2:05.6 mark] (removes the Heroes And Villains: Fade)
Heroes And Villains [edited to start at the 4:13 mark] (runs from Heroes And Villains: Bridge To Indians till the end of track)
Do You Like Worms
The Old Master Painter / You Are My Sunshine [edited to end at the 1:04.6 mark] (removes the My Only Sunshine: Part 2 fade)
Child Is Father Of The Man
I Wanna Be Around / Workshop
Vega-Tables [edited to end at the 2:42.85 mark] (like the 2004 version this ends with the slow "I know that you'll feel better...." section)
The Elements: Fire
Cool, Cool Water (Version 1) [edited to start around the 1:03.95 mark and end around the 2:16.779 mark]
Love To Say Dada
Bill with a home-made SMiLE cassette in the early 90s.
The Good Humor SMiLE Site!