- Paperback: 200 pages
- Publisher: Bobcat Books; annotated edition edition (March 10, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1860746276
- ISBN-13: 978-1860746277
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Smile: The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece Paperback – November 1, 2007
The Amazon Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
In his new book, Smile historian numero uno Domenic Priore de-shrouds the myth and dispels decades of misinformation -- much of it PR spin spewed out by the Beach Boys organization-to deliver the real story of "Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece," from its inception in 1966 in the wake of Pet Sounds to its resurrection and final delivery almost 40 years later. The author based his work on interviews with all the main figures, including Van Dyke Parks and Wilson himself, along with an extensive archive of press material. The book includes forewords by both Wilson and Parks, plus a photo section, including many never before published shots.
Priore writes in a passionate but clear-headed style, placing Smile in the larger context of its time and place: the creative ferment of mid-`60s Los Angeles centered on the Sunset Strip. He emphasizes that the album was not, as many have claimed, the work of a troubled loner frying on acid in his living room sandbox, but rather a collaborative effort driven by a musical genius riding a tidal wave of creative inspiration that surged across Southern California in 1965-67.
The erudite Parks provides fascinating insight into the songwriting process of the team, the meanings behind his often elliptical lyrics, and the album's grand theme of Americana. The project's many recording sessions are also covered in detail, as is the creation of album's original cover art by Frank Holmes.Read more ›
One reviewer was complaining about Priore's book, saying that "Priore seems to be a good, devoted fan but not the guy to write a proper, journalistic book." Another review says that Priore "doesn't use factual information" - to both of these claims I will ask why would Brian Wilson AND Van Dyke Parks give their recommendation for this book if it is full of false information? I will also point out that the first paragraph in the 'Acknowledgements' section is FULL of the names of the people who DIRECTLY contributed to this book...this list includes Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, Tony Asher, David Leaf, Chuck Britz, and many others.
As a consumer it irritates me when I see a blatant lie in an amazon review: 'Joe Shmo' writes "I'm not exaggerating by saying that most of the book has nothing to do with SMiLE itself." I respond by saying that the entire book is about SMiLE (hence the title). Sure, Priore gives background information on the Beach Boys and of the music scene in LA at the time, but this is VERY necessary for people not familiar with the starting of Psychedelia/Folk-Rock in LA. I'd say that 95% of the book deals directly with SMiLE.
If you actually read the book you will see how jaded many of these negative reviews are. I will say again that if you are even remotely interested in SMiLE ignore the majority of the negative reviews and check out this book.
On to my review:
Priore gives convincing arguments about the reasons for the non-release of SMiLE and Brian's mental breakdown.Read more ›
As to Domenic Priore's book, I believe it was essential to shed some background on the music and cultural scene of the times to contextualize the making of SMiLE. And it IS a fascinating story, well-told. It's too bad that Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston have chosen not to be interviewed about the project. That said, Priore has talked to lots of people involved in the original, as well as the principals, Brian and Van Dyke, and I HIGHLY recommend this book to any fan of Brian, the Beach Boys, and particularly SMiLE.
I wouldn't call this book a total bomb. It certainly presents some interesting quotes from the 'Smile' crew and scenesters of the day, but I urge any readers to be wary of any factual tidbits contained within. I personally would love to see noted rock writer Richie Unterbeger write about 'Smile.' He always has a keen sense of historical perspective, and is more trustworthy that Priore.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a huge fan of Brian Wilson, I have long known of the album Smile. I bought Smiley Smile when it was released in 1967 and loved it. I enjoy it on CD to this day. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Richard A. Root
This book is somewhat disappointing in that in the last chapter lies the meat and potatoes of what the cover belies. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Julie H.
With such promising and tantalizing material, its a disappointment that this book is not more satisfying. The fault lies with the author failing to focus on the subject at hand. Read morePublished 6 months ago by C. Steele
I have been a Beach Boys fan since my teens (& am now 66)! However, I have never encountered SMiLE. What or who does it stand for… I am dying to know!!Published 9 months ago by JLH
First of all, this is a very informative book, but there are problems. Dominic Priore, while being an acknowledged SMiLE authority, is simply not objective enough for this to be... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Douglas Auwarter
Disappointing. Domenic Priore, founder of "Dumb Angel Gazette" a Brian Wilson fanzine, put together this work with the gift of access, but the final product is an... Read morePublished on August 22, 2014 by J. Fontana
I am a big fan of SMiLE, and bought this book to get the inside story. Unfortunately, I did not learn much I did not know already, and was subjected to endless ramblings about... Read morePublished on December 23, 2010 by Bass957
In 2003 and 2004 when Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks finally reunited to finish off "Smile," pop-music's great unfinished masterpiece from 1966, there was a lot of press about... Read morePublished on May 10, 2009 by Robert Carlberg
This is a very engaging account of the story and context behind one of
the most legendary unreleased albums in pop music history, Brian Wilson
and the Beach Boys'... Read more