Missing '66-'67 Smile tapes

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Chris M, Jul 8, 2005.

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  1. Chris M

    Chris M Senior Member Thread Starter

    This below was posted by Beach Boys vault guy Alan Boyd on the Smile Shop board. I understand if this thread gets deleted but please keep in mind that Alan is a regualr contributor to the (very public) Smile Shop board. If any of this was 'top secret' info there is no way he would of posted it there. Anyway, Smile fans should find this interesting...

    How complete was Surf's Up in 1967?

    I've heard about the existence of a tape of a full arrangement on that second section of SURF'S UP. It's been described to me, third-hand. Supposedly it's pretty weird, lots of strange horn and string parts. But I haven't heard it.

    We don't have it in the Beach Boys' tape library. And it's not among Brian's tapes either.

    There is an enormous amount of SMILE material that's missing. I recently saw a photograph on Ed Roach's site of a tape shelf at Brother Studio, late 1970s. Right there, along with safety 1/4" masters of all the group's albums, is a tape labeled "BRIAN - DUMB ANGEL." Probably a 1/4" or 1/2". I nearly had a stroke when I saw that, and I immediately called anyone and everyone who ever had access to tapes at Brother, and asked what they knew about it. No one knew. What was on that reel? Where is it now? It certainly wasn't listed in the 1985 inventory of the group's tapes.

    What WAS listed in that inventory are the many empty tape boxes from the SMILE era, on titles like "Heroes and Villains," "Cabinessence," "Surf's Up," "Vegetables," etc... they were empty in 1985, they're empty today. I'm certain, however, that excerpts from at least one of them (overdubs onto the last verse of "Vegetables") showed up on one of the SOT discs. They're almost all 1/4" mixdowns. Other SMILE tracks were assembled onto some of the 1/2" STACK-O-TRACKS assembly reels, and those SMILE songs are also....missing.

    Never did find the multitrack of CABINESSENCE with Carl's lead vocal on it, by the way.

    And "Heroes and Villains" is heartbreaking... there's almost NOTHING of any pre-1967 work on that song. I went through every tape on that title while scrounging up parts for the "Hawthorne" remix.... There are no multi-tracks on any of the verses from the early 1967 "alternate" version... nothing at all on the 3rd verse as found in the single (which is why the stereo spread goes a little, um...funky at that point in the Hawthorne mix), "Barnyard" exists only as a (not very good) dub onto an 8 track worktape, and I wouldn't be surprised if we're missing some significant work on "I'm In Great Shape" as well. We did find the first two verses for the single, but they seem to have been re-recorded by Brian specifically for the single. But there's no "3 score and five I'm very much alive" anywhere except on that partially mangled safety copy dated 2/10/67.

    Was there indeed a completely diffferent version of the song (as Bruce has claimed) that may have included some sort of a Barnyard Suite (featuring Billy, who loved his chickens) and maybe even a barroom brawl? Did Brian have some sort of crisis in December 1966 that moved him to scrap everything he'd done before on that song and start again? Listening to some of those January 1967 tapes where he's almost obsessively tinkering with different chants of the song's title, it kinda sounds like he's fishing for inspiration.

    And speaking of that early alternate mix, we have the tape box (which has a sort of "edit-list" written on it) for the master, but the song itself has been spliced out of the reel. I actually think the count-in may still be there.

    Here's what's written on that tape box, dated 1/31/67:


    1 - 1st version of PT-1
    2 - 2nd version of PT-1 with more echo
    3 - 1st version of PT-2

    4 Bridge to 3rd verses [or versions] (start with “My Children”)
    5 Bridge To PT Two (whistle Part)

    [note - EDITED, indicating all above parts]

    6 - 3rd verses
    7 BRIDGE [Last item crossed out]


    Here's what's written on the tape box for the SAFETY copy of "heroes and Villains"

    “heros & Villains” as of 2/10/67 master
    1st verse
    2nd verse
    3rd verse (all edited together)

    1 - bridge to 3rd verse
    2 - bridge to fade
    3 - cantina
    4 - 2nd verse
    5 - fade

    (The above crossed out sort of...)

    2:57 MASTER


    I can't even tell for sure if they're referring to the same edit.

    Tthere's no way to know any of this for sure, because so much is missing. And I'll admit I sometimes think it's kinda pointless for anyone to say "It was THIS way" or "That song was supposed to be constructed like THIS" when there are so many huge gaps among the tapes themselves. especially when it comes to discussing "Heroes."

    Did Brian actually destroy some tapes back in the day? I think he just might have...

    Are there one-of-a-kind tapes that have been stolen and are now in the hands of collectors? Yes...

    Were there tapes that Brian somehow left behind at a studio after working on them that have since found their way into the hands of collectors? Probably...

    Are there acetates of missing material in the hands of collectors and/or people who were around at the time? Absolutely...

    Are there people reading THIS now who may know where some of this material now resides? Wouldn't surprise me in the least...

    Would anyone "in the know" feel at all inclined to help us find some of these missing tapes? I sure hope so....

    (BRI is willing to pay for material, no questions asked, just in case you're reading this and you happen to be holding onto a dub of the second movement of SURF'S UP, hint hint, or anything else you know we DON'T have, so please get in touch with me through Jon Hunt, OK?)


    Your Friendly Neighborhood Vault Rat

  2. brstp

    brstp Active Member

    We can only hope that this stuff the hands of some collector who has taken good care of and will relinquish it someday. Although if he/she haven't yet... :(
  3. GuyDon

    GuyDon Senior Member

    Besides the fact they want these tapes back where they rightfully belong, the public request sure sounds to me that BRI is at least considering an official BB's SMiLE release.

    I certainly could be wrong about Mr. Boyd's request, but this release WILL occur someday. Whether it is 2007 for the 40th anniversary or after the remaining band members pass on (and we all hope that is far in the future) remains to be seen.
  4. jkauff

    jkauff Senior Member

    Akron, OH
    If it's 2007, you can bet Mike Love will push for a co-writing credit on everything.
  5. GuyDon

    GuyDon Senior Member

    He will suddenly remember "over and over the crow cries uncover the cornfield" was his line and not Van Dyke Parks'. ;)
  6. Lord Hawthorne

    Lord Hawthorne Currently Untitled

    Portland, Oregon
    Oh boy, I hope he does it at another awards ceremony.
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