Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Smiley SmileReleased: 1967Charted:
Brian Wilson wrote this with lyricist Van Dyke Parks
. It was intended for the Smile
album, but Brian Wilson abandoned the project and the album was not finished until 2004. Once the album was scrapped, Wilson recorded this with the intention of releasing it as a single.
This was the first time Wilson and Parks wrote together, and it is reported that when Wilson first played the melody to him, Parks came up with the opening line on the spot.
The Beach Boys did at least 20 recording sessions for this song over a period of several months, as Brian Wilson was very particular about it. Sections known as "Cantina Scene" and "Bicycle Rider" were dropped, although The Beach Boys often included them in live performances of the song.
A different version was released on The Beach Boys 30th anniversary boxed set Good Vibrations
, which was issued in 1993. This version included the Cantina Scene and some additional lines ("At threescore and five, I'm very much alive, I've still got the jive to survive with the heroes and villains").
When Brian Wilson was going through a period of nervous breakdowns, he referred to the voices in his head as the "heroes and villains," which created a constant buzzing in his brain that he couldn't turn off.