The Beach Boys' 'Smile:' Everything We Know About The 'Lost' Masterpiece

By Jacob Shelton
Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys poses for a portrait in 1968 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

One of the great long lost albums of the 20th century is Smile by the Beach Boys, a psychedelic adventure that seeks to encapsulate the journey from youth to adulthood that Brian Wilson called a "teenage symphony to God.” Songs from Wilson’s fraught “Smile” sessions have popped on various Beach Boys album, specifically “Surf’s Up” and “Wild Honey,” but the original version of the album is considered to be lost - or at the very least it’s never going to be released.

“Smile” has long been touted as the album that would put The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper to shame, but Wilson’s manic energy and inability to focus thanks to his declining mental health and drug use made sure that the recordings that make up the original album are forever doomed to the dust bin of history. There have been attempts by Wilson and the rest of the surviving Beach Boys to put out “Smile” in one way or another, but none of the albums, re-recordings, or tours have been able to really capture what this record was. Even the album was released today there’s no way to listen to it in the context of 1967 and get the true experience of “Smile.”