The Beatles (remember them?) released Rubber Soul in time for Christmas, 1965. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys said this was the best album he had ever heard and set about to create his own masterpiece. In May of 1966, Wilson (who turned 70 yesterday) and the Boys released Pet Sounds. Paul McCartney heard Pet Sounds and said it was the best album he had ever heard. This set in motion Sgt. Pepper’s, which many recognize as THE greatest album of all time.
That sent Wilson back to work on his next composition, a “teenage symphony for God.” Yet this was the beginning of Wilson’s dark night of the soul. His mental health issues and growing drug use made him a virtual recluse, and this next great album was shelved, only to be revived and finally released in 2004.
Brian Wilson wanted an album, he said, that would make God smile. I think he did it. The layers of sound make this a composition that ranks up there with some of the great symphonies of our time. And the deep and often silly lyrics can’t help to bring a smile to one’s face. Three of Wilson’s greatest songs—”Heroes and Villans,” “Surf’s Up,” and “Good Vibrations” (the latter being one of the greatest songs ever written by anyone)—are here, surrounded by tunes that encourage you to eat your vegetables and brush your teeth.
Are there great theological teachings here? Not that I can hear. But does there have to be? Brian Wilson wanted to make God smile. Is there anything greater we can do than that?
This video is 52 minutes long. Wilson leads us through Smile in its entirety. Stay with it through to the end and watch how the audience reacts to the incredible performance it witnessed. This is worth every second. Maybe, just maybe, it will make you smile as well. Enjoy.