From the Wall Street Journal:
For the past 44 years, the Beach Boys' "Smile" has been rock's most notorious phantom album. Intended as a follow-up to the band's "Pet Sounds," the project sent Brian Wilson—the group's leader and mastermind of "Smile"—into an emotional tailspin, and led the band to infighting over the material. In May 1967, after eight grueling months of recording, Capitol Records scrapped the record. Though many of the 19 tracks meant for "Smile" were later modified and added onto subsequent Beach Boys albums, the original tapes and outtakes remained in a vault—all too painful for Mr. Wilson to revisit.
Then, in 2004, Mr. Wilson re-recorded most of the songs on "Brian Wilson Presents Smile," with help from original lyricist Van Dyke Parks and a new band, performing the new album on a brief tour. On Nov. 1, Capitol will finally release "The Smile Sessions"—a five-CD boxed set of original tapes and outtakes complete with Mr. Wilson's desired track sequence. The result shows how Mr. Wilson and Mr. Parks were deploying a dense, psychedelic concept album many months before the Beatles even began recording "Sgt. Pepper's."
To read WSJ's interview with Wilson:
Still Picking Up Good Vibrations
OCTOBER 7, 2011