The Beach Boys Smile Sessions Box Set

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My son gave me as my sixtieth birthday present, The Beach Boys Smile Sessions Box Set. I have to tell you it is one amazing package of music and art. Capitol Records and The Beach Boys have done a marvelous job with the graphic art coupled with documenting the music sessions to bring to life for us this fundamental time capsule recording.

I was skeptical of how good Smile was going to be. It didn’t take long to dispel an unrealistic concern. The first song that makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck is “Surf’s Up“. It is a masterpiece that opens my heart and soul to the orchestral beauty of The Beach Boys vocals and harmonies layered over rich sounds. A monumental recording written by the genius team of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks that I first heard in 1971 the same and only year I saw The Beach Boys live in Central Park.

It’s unfair to just single out “Surf’s Up” on Smile. There are many songs that flow with spiritual intent and divine purpose. The Beach Boys Smile Sessions box set engages the listener’s sensibilities. I love how Smile reawakened the love and purity of The Beach Boys sound.

I continue to explore the five CD set, sipping the music a glass at a time from a fine bottle of wine. The 60 page booklet is my reading companion that happily unearths more about the efforts that went into the making of Smile. 

Al Jardine sums up Smile best, “It’s truly life changing.”

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