Win: Beach Boys’ SMiLE Sessions

One of the greatest and most talked-about pop albums of all-time, SMiLE, sees another incarnation with the long awaited release of The SMiLE Sessions. With full participation from Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine, Capital/EMI has collected and compiled The Beach Boys’ legendary ’66-’67 sessions for SMilE, which Rolling Stone called “the most famous unfinished album in rock & roll history.” To see what it’s all about, there’s a full stream over at Spinner right now.

Originally intended to follow the band’s 1966 masterpiece, Pet Sounds, the SMiLE master tapes were never completed. This new set draws from the original masters.

Here’s information on the release from the source:

[toggle title=”Click for SMiLE details…”]

SMiLE Sessions physical and digital configurations include an assembled collection of core session tracks, while the box set delves much deeper into the sessions, adding early song drafts, alternate takes, instrumental and vocals-only mixes, and studio chatter. SMiLE Sessions invites the listener into the studio to experience the album’s creation, with producer, singer and bassist Brian Wilson’s vision leading the way as he guides his fellow Beach Boys, singer Mike Love, drummer Dennis Wilson, lead guitarist Carl Wilson, rhythm guitarist Al Jardine, and newest member Bruce Johnston (who’d replaced Brian Wilson in the touring group during 1965), through the legendary sessions.

Artwork for all of the SMiLE Sessions physical and digital configurations has been created with and inspired by Beat-Pop artist Frank Holmes’ original 1967 LP sleeve art and booklet designs intended for the SMiLE album. With its three-dimensional shadowbox lid, The SMiLE Sessions box set offers a whimsical peek inside the storied “SMiLE Shop.”

Box Set Content 

– 5 CDs / 2LPs / 2 7″ singles

– Three-dimensional shadow box lid featuring the original artwork of Frank Holmes.

– The Box Set measures 13″ x 13″ x 2.5″

– 60 page case bound book features liner notes by:

Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, Frank Holmes, Peter Reum, Tom Nolan, Domenic Priore

Anecdotes by:

Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford, Diane Rovell, Dean Torrence, Mark Volman, Michael Vosse, David Anderle, Danny Hutton




Frank Holmes drawings

Producer’s Notes

More than 60 previously unreleased photos

Box also contains: 

– 6 panel folder holding 5 CDs and singles. Features photos of original session tape boxes.

– 7″ vinyl singles

– “Heroes and Villians” in sleeve art

–  “Vega-Tables” in sleeve art

– Gatefold 2 LPs

– Features full tracklisting of proposed unfinished album +

– Stereo mixes and session highlights (not available on CDs)

– 12″ x 12″ booklet created for original release features:

– Photos by Guy Webster

– Drawings by Frank Holmes

– 24″ x 36″ poster of Frank Holmes cover art



So, any interest in getting this historic release for free? I thought so.

Obscure Sound is giving away a prize bundle to celebrate the release! You can win a 2CD Edition of SMiLE along with a t-shirt commemorating the release. To enter, reply to this question in the comments section below: Which Beach Boys (or BB solo release) is your favorite, and why? Unfortunately we can only offer this contest to readers in the US.

Enter ASAP and provide your real e-mail address. This is how you will be contacted if you win.

I have to say, it’s an outstanding release. Listening to the new (or old depending on the context) versions of “Cabin Essence” and “Wonderful” sends chills up my spine.


The Beach Boys’ Official Site / Facebook / BUY

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

Send your music to [email protected].


  1. Although I want to be more original, it’s hard to compete with Pet Sounds. Sure, Today! and Summer Days were both great, classic records, but can anything else really compare?

    God Only Knows

  2. Pet Sounds
    This may seem like a generic answer, but it was such an influential album, paving the path for modern psychadelia, that it cannot be denied. It is, in my opinion, their best album overall, with the best track they ever produced “God Only Knows” the song sounds tragic yet beautiful, and is always in my top songs of the 60s list, its just brilliant. The album was so brilliant it nearly destroyed the band, similar to the effect Dark Side of the Moon had on Pink Floyd.

  3. Pet Sounds is my favorite because it has all the elements of classic Beachboys styling: Brian Wilson’s production, those lushly beautiful Beachboy’s harmonies and it’s recorded in Mono. Plus it contains at least 2 Beachboy’s classic songs: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “Sloop John B”.

  4. There is no doubt Pet Sounds was a game-changer, influencing Sgt. Pepper and the rest of the Pet Sounds folklore. It captured a sound and feeling no album had before. It’s a life-changer for many.

    My favorite Beach Boys album, however, is Sunflower. While Wild Honey and Friends both have some bright spots, to me, Sunflower is where the Boys really put the pieces together after SMiLE’s (and Brian’s) collapse. It may not have sold that well upon release, but I think the music on that album has really aged well, perhaps the best out of a good chunk of their catalogue.

    “Slip on Through” showed Dennis Wilson’s promise as a songwriter and singer, even though the track is pretty upbeat compared to most of the offerings on Pacific Ocean Blue. There are some lovely Brian Wilson melodic gems on the album as well. “Add Some Music” and “Our Sweet Love” stand out. “Cool, Cool Water” originates from SMiLE’s “I Love to Say Dada” and works as a great closer.

    The album is a fantastically pleasant listen, if nothing else. It sounds like a beautiful Spring day, which is a refreshing breath of fresh air from America’s favorite summertime band. So yeah, Sunflower is my favorite.

  5. Pet Sounds is the ‘easy/intellectual’ choice, but I’m gonna go with Summer Days (and Summer Nights). Why? Simply because it has all the essential BB elements at their peak. Gorgeous arrangements, beautiful harmonies, California Girls and most importantly, the stripped-down audio essence of the bands success: fun.

  6. Cliche, yes, but is is none other than Pet Sounds for me. Hearing it for the first time was like a creative rebirth for me musically – it expanded my idea of what pop music can be, could be, and should be. Moreover, it inspired both the lyricist and composer in me, moving me to create my own kind of magic.

  7. Brian Wilson’s edition of SMiLE…could be bumped if this one is just as good, if not more! Can’t wait 2 hear it!! =)

  8. definitely pet sounds. such a classic album with the beach boys best songs ever written. (sloop john b, god only knows…etc) i mean the album inspired the beatles! such a great pop album that was way ahead of its time.

  9. Truthfully, “Pet Sounds” is my favorite. But in the interest of variety I’m going to change things up and say “Your Imagination,” Brian’s solo record from 1998. Having been exposed to the group at a very young age–about 5 or so–I have a strong nostalgic, romantic attachment to the sounds of Brian’s voice, even more so when in layered harmonies. Songs like “Don’t Worry Baby” and “Surfer Girl” still give me goosebumps and a tingling up the spine, and several tracks from “Your Imagination” replicate that style and sound as well as anything any of the Boys have done in decades.

  10. I love Sunflower! But I suppose I’m alone there…seems like everybody likes Pet Sounds.

  11. Sorry to sound repetitive but, definitely, “Pet Sounds” is the best album by the Beach Boys/Brian Wilson. Not only does it have some of Brian’s best songs (such as God Only Knows and Caroline, No), it is an album of all great songs from start to finish, something that I can’t say about any other album, from the Beach Boys, from the Beatles, or from any other artist!

  12. I really like Friends – such a variety of melodic sounds and textures, and the title track is sublime!

  13. “Pet Sounds.” What else is left to say about this record? It would be a mistake to call it one of pop music’s masterpieces because that unfairly limits its genius to a single genre. It’s a sublime, timeless, emotionally honest collection of songs that had and continues to have a seismic impact on musicians and music lovers the world over.

  14. “Smiley Smile” – it might be perceived as a comedown after the ruined grandeur of Smile, but it’s funny, sinister (sometimes), and transporting in the best sort of way.

  15. I agree with everyone so far, but I’m a “Sunflower” booster. To me it’s the sound of a band (and a family) trying to make it through a difficult patch in the most upbeat, optimistic way possible (and not always succeeding). I find that very powerful and comforting in these troubled times. Feeling down? Add some music to your day!

  16. It’s a bone-chilling, hair-raising, white-knuckle race to the finish between WILD HONEY and 20/20!

  17. hmmmm…i’d have to say the pet sounds box set. love hearing all the different pieces come together to make a beautiful whole!

  18. For me, the Beach Boys’ Today! album has always been my favorite, as it represents the transition of the Brian Wilson as a songwriter from three-chord surf and hot rod music to complex, intraspective songwriting that would foreshadow Pet Sounds and beyond. Brian was now married and retired from the touring band, but under pressure from Capitol Records to keep churning out hits. In Today! you can see the dichotomy of that in the two sides of the record — side one with its fast-paced, commercial songs like “Do You Wanna Dance” and “Dance, Dance, Dance,” and side two with its more moody and complex tunes like “She Knows Me Too Well” (my personal favorite on the album) and “In the Back of My Mind.”

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