Today’s music video is Heroes and Villains and the song is performed here by the American Supergroup The Beach Boys.
This video was posted to You Tube by Darryl Hushaw
I had a close friend early on in my time in the Royal Australian Air Force who was a huge fan of The Beach Boys. He had virtually every record they released, LP’s and Singles, and not just their Studio albums, but the ‘best of’ collections albums as well, everything. He knew I loved my music, and he couldn’t understand why I also was not a huge fan as well. I liked their music, but not enough to shell out my own heard earned, and buy their albums. Like everyone else in virtually the whole World, I just loved their song Good Vibrations, in my opinion, the best thing they ever did. I was still ambivalent about them, and he was always pressing me to get their albums. I did have Good Vibrations on a Single, but that was all I had of their music. Years later, I got hold of their CD Pet Sounds, which has been referred to as one of the best albums of all time. I liked the album, but hey, not that much that I would think of it as one of the best albums ever.
When my friend got me to sit down and actually listen to one of their LP’s, I asked for the one with Good Vibrations on it, because I wanted to hear if the album version was different to the Single, so He got out his copy of the album Smiley Smile for me, and actually got me to listen to it through the headphones. I was astonished when the first track started, and that was Heroes And Villains. I had heard the song before, because it was a mild hit for the band, but I had only ever heard it played on the radio, and that was not all that much, because the song was only in the Australian Charts for around 6 weeks, and barely made it a little higher than the top twenty, soon disappearing from the charts. I thought that the song was okay at the time, but I could never really understand the lyrics or what they were about.
However, what I heard here, this time around was something completely different. Even though it was the same song, I was listening to it on a good sound system through quality headphones. It was just so intricate. It was amazing really, almost as if it was a completely different song. I actually couldn’t believe it was the same song. This song and Good Vibrations were the only two songs I recognised, and in fact, the only two songs on that album I really liked, but I got a whole new appreciation of the band, and the way Brian Wilson had put the album together. I knew The Beach Boys for their surf music, but these two songs alone put the band into a whole other category of music. It was just so cleverly done.
Years later, I found out that Brian Wilson was an absolute perfectionist when it came to music, especially in those later years after all that surf music, and even with that, he worked hard on the music and the harmonies of all the voices singing together.
This song Heroes And Villains has a complex history behind it. Brian Wilson actually wanted to come out with something better than Good Vibrations , something that was always going to be difficult after a song which was such a huge monster, and it would have been a hard thing to do, but in its original form, Brian Wilson actually thought he had done it. It was supposed to be on the band’s album SMiLE, an album which took ages to get right, was eventually shelved, and then abandoned altogether, supposedly the band’s response to The Beatles Sgt. Peppers album.
Brian Wilson had teamed up with Van Dyke Parks, and while flawed, the both of them, they made some amazing music, but Brian always wanted something more, and even after it was supposedly finished, he still tinkered around with the song, and that concerned the band because what he wanted was far too intricate for the rest of the band to do, let alone actually reproduce the song exactly at a live concert, so there were some internal bickering in the band. The song didn’t see the light of day in its original form, and was shortened and reworked for release as the Single, and the song on the album, and it only became a minor hit for the band at best.
It’s sometimes amazing that such a seemingly simple song can have such a complex history behind it.