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Archive for Sunday, February 22, 2004

Beach Boys’ lost album premieres in London

February 22, 2004

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— In 1967, Beach Boys songwriter Brian Wilson shelved "Smile," an ambitious concept album intended as the group's masterpiece.

Thirty-seven years later, "Smile" received its live premiere on Friday in London -- and most critics agreed it was worth the wait.

Wilson, 61 and performing again after years as a near recluse, received a five-minute standing ovation at the end of Friday's show at London's Royal Festival Hall.

A black-clad Wilson led an 18-piece band in performances of several Beach Boys hits, followed by the complete "Smile" -- concluding with its best-known track, the pop classic "Good Vibrations."

Fans were rapturous. The Guardian newspaper hailed the work's "groundbreaking complexity and sophistication," while The Daily Telegraph called it "a glorious, tangled symphony of celebration and sadness."

"Smile" was intended as a follow-up to The Beach Boys' groundbreaking 1966 album "Pet Sounds," and its lush orchestration took advantage of advances in technology.

The perfectionist Wilson worked for months to build the album's multilayered sound, but shelved it shortly before its scheduled release, explaining that the songs were "not commercial."

Over the years, "Smile" gained a reputation among fans as the band's lost masterpiece.

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