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Topic: Priore Sadly Misguided?


Neither have I. I've said this before and I'll say it again -- Priore's idea of SMiLE as big concept album with link tracks is totally false. He's imposed rock history on SMiLE -- looking back on the album from the point of view of a guy who lived through the psychedelic and progressive rock eras, he's sort of imposed a rock-opera "Pepper" thing onto SMiLE. He's assumed that just because the Beatles and the Stones and the Who and whoever else made big concept albums 'round about '67, that Brian was planning something similar. It's an assumption. Not based on any kind of fact.

I don't think SMiLE would have been a big, long, connected album at all. There's really nothing to suggest it would. Remember who we're talking about here - Brian Wilson, The King Of The Three Minute Pop Song. Think about his influences -- even when he was at the height of the SMiLE thing he was still into Phil Spector, Sinatra, Four Freshmen. Short songs. Radio-ready tunes. This was the era of "Rubber Soul". The stuff Brian was into, the stuff he was listening to and borrowing from, was still 3-minute pop songs. Concept albums hadn't happened yet, that was much later after much much more acid was consumed. Brian didn't invent the idea. Trust me.

I firmly believe SMiLE would have consisted of twelve 3-4 minute songs, with only maybe The Elements suite being anything longer or more "conceptual." The whole idea of an "Americana" side and an "Elements" side is just Priore imposing things that came AFTER SMiLE onto SMiLE itself. Beach Boys historian Brad Elliott's said something very similar - and I'm paraphrasing here, but maybe he'll step in with an actual quote - that there's "nothing at all to suggest" that SMiLE would have been anything more than an album of normal-length songs.

Wouldn't be listed.

Why would they be there? Why do we assume that every little snippet we have on SMiLE boots was going to be slated for the album? Priore's assuming that, but only because it plays into his theory that SMiLE was finished and all we have to do is shove all the square pegs into round holes and voila!! He forgets, of course, that there were, for example, no vocals for "Surf's Up," no lead vocal for "Cabinessense" and God knows how many other holes. Remember, that's how Brian was recording then - little snippets which he'd piece together later into logical, ordered songs. There are bound to be extra snippets left over at the end. Just because they're around doesn't mean we need to include them!

Able to piece the Elements together as one separate track as it was listed on the LP.

That's what I'm trying to do, too. It's frustrating, isn't it? Problem is, we have no idea what to include. I've heard god knows how many theories on the topic. Cam Mott, SMiLE researcher extraordinaire, suggests that it's likely "Love to Say DaDa" was NOT the water element - that it was recorded way too late in the game, and that any recordings after April, after Van Dyke left, were either slated for "Smiley Smile" or simply Brian messing around. He could be right. He further asserts that "Holidays" may well be the WATER element rather than the air element as Priore's been claiming, based on a conversation he had with Frank Holmes, the artist who drew the SMiLE album art. Holmes claims the picture he drew labeled "My Vegetables - The Elements" contained MORE THAN ONE Element represented pictorially.

Take a look at the picture. That thing in the lower left corner that looks like a big hole? According to Frank Holmes, that's a lake. A body of water. Contained, goes the theory, in a HOLIDAY snap. In other words, "water" is meant to represent a sort of "family trip to the beach" or some such. Playing around in the water. Interesting, eh? More later on this topic.

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