Carl Wilson: soul of the Beach Boys, voice of God Only Knows and Good Vibrations, and... draft dodger.
After 44 years, The Beach Boys' SMiLE, the most famous unreleased album of all time, has finally been released.
Even at its most remorselessly upbeat, the Beach Boys' music was marked by an ineffable sadness – you can hear it in the cascading tune played by the woodwind during Good Vibrations's verses – but on Smile, the sadness turned into something far weirder. All the talk of Wilson writing teenage symphonies to God – and indeed the sheer sumptuousness of the end results – tends to obscure what a thoroughly eerie album Smile is. Until LSD's psychological wreckage began washing up in rock via Skip Spence's Oar and Syd Barrett's The Madcap Laughs, artists tactfully ignored the dark side of the psychedelic experience. But it's there on Smile...The first of a ten-part web series on the making of the album and the new reissue has been posted on youtube, featuring new interviews and rare archival footage. The full-length 2-CD version is streaming at AOL.