In case you didn’t know, “Smile” is an album by The Beach Boys recorded throughout 1966 and 1967. The project was intended by its creator Brian Wilson as the follow-up to Pet Sounds, but was never completed in its original form. During the years Smile remained unavailable, it had come to be regarded as the most famous unreleased album of all time.
The project was resurrected in 2003, and a critically acclaimed newly recorded version was released by Wilson in 2004. During the 37 years from its cancellation to the release of Wilson’s version, Smile acquired considerable mystique, and bootlegged tracks from the album circulated widely among Beach Boys collectors. Many of the tracks which were originally recorded for Smile eventually found their way onto subsequent Beach Boys albums. In 2011 a box set, known as The Smile Sessions, was released, featuring a version of the album reconstructed from the original recordings, along with many session highlights and outtakes; it received much critical acclaim.
The Beach Boys – An Introduction to “SMiLE Sessions”
A brief introduction to the legendary “SMiLE Sessions” the most famous unreleased album of all time. The Beach Boys Youtube Channel has more of this.
Ok, Hyperallergic will take over here: “It’s a cruel world that makes a thief out of an adoring fan. Artist Erik den Breejen is a keen Beach Boys fan and one who knows, now, what the back of a beloved hand feels like.
Eager to greet the release of the long-buried 1966 album, Smile, Erik produced a series of word collages which incorporate blocks of the lyrics into wave and beach-themed constructions. His paintings made a tiny splash back in December when they debuted at Freight + Volume.
Reviewed by Charlie Finch for artnet.com, they were deemed “pretty darn cute” (take that as you will) and the proud artist enlisted Finch’s and Freight + Volume’s help in contacting Beach Boy lyricist Van Dyke Parks. His hero responded swiftly with a cease and desist letter.
“They seemed prepared to fight,” Freight + Volume owner, Nick Lawrence is quoted as telling artnet. “Van Dyke was personally offended … he seemed upset that he wasn’t consulted ahead of time about the show, which is a valid point. But in terms of fair use, I think it’s a bit of a stretch.”
Sadly it’s not. Sure it’s mean. But copyright law is ruthless and does not suffer homage gladly.
Look at it this way, according to Charlie Finch F+V gallery manager Philip Dmochowski, “said that the most expensive and largest den Breejen goes for $12,500 and that Brian Wilson devotees have already bought a few for their rec rooms.” Most of us will notice two things: 1) den Breejen is selling at emerging artist prices, and 2) people are buying these because they are “Brian Wilson devotees.”
Number one is why this story is sad. den Breejen is just breaking into the market; his enthusiastic pastels are not likely to usurp the Beach Boy’s market for their lyric sheets. But then there’s number 2.”
Read on at Hyperallergic
Image above: Erik den Breejen: Mother of Pearl, 2006. Acrylic on canvas
Erik den Breejen – Smile at FREIGHT & VOLUME
James Kalm never surfed in California, never drove a “Little Deuce Coupe” and never dated a surfer girl, but these images, created by Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, provided a beautiful fantasy sound track for a big chunk of his adolescence. Eric den Breejen also came under the sway of this West Coast band, and has spent the last year or two making painting in homage to “Smile” Brian Wilson’s legendary unreleased album. Using blocks of text and color shifts, the paintings exist somewhere between a song script and a blown up Pop Art cartoon. The works might be a manifestation of the idiom “one picture is worth a thousand words” or conversely “words are worth a thousand pictures”, especially if the harmony is good.
The Beach Boys – Barbara Ann ( on The Jack Benny Hour )
The Beach Boys have often been called “America’s Band”, and Allmusic.com has stated that “the band’s unerring ability… made them America’s first, best rock band.” The group has had thirty-six U.S. Top 40 hits (the most of any U.S. rock band) and fifty-six Hot 100 hits, including four number one singles. Rolling Stone magazine listed The Beach Boys as number 12 in the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. According to Billboard, in terms of singles and album sales, The Beach Boys are the No. 1-selling American band of all time.