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Heroes And Villains by The Beach Boys

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"). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for all above
  • 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.
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Comments: 12

For Stormy, Kokomo, IN:
And do you remember reading about something from earlier? Brian Wilson, in the making of Pet Sounds, found inspiration in the Beatles' Rubber Soul (U.S. version?) LP. A film about the Beach Boys shows a living room with a Christmas tree, and then (actor playing) Brian Wilson walks into the room holding Rubber Sould album cover.
Carl - Apg, Md
This song was written during the period in Brian Wilson's career when he was experimenting with new ideas and stretching his abilities.A really interesting song,some moments sound psychedelic and colorful.I believe the original Smile album would have been a masterpiece had he completed it then.George - Belleville, Nj
Thank you!!!Melody - Cincinnati, Oh
Heroes and Villains isn't on Pet Sounds. It's on Smiley Smile.John - White Plains, Ny
I get the impression that this song has to do with witnesses of the Spanish-Indian War after the opposing sides made amends. The 2 protagonists are witnesses from the two opposing lands, the girl being from the side that lost. I think the two witnesses fall in love afterward.Drew - B'ham, Al
For a long time I didn't like Heroes and Villains, but eventually I warmed up to it. The BB version is good, but I prefer the alternate version on Brian Wilson's SMiLESabrina - Corvallis, Or
Geraint Watkins covered this song--completely different, a jazzy, boogie-woogie sound.

To me, a great song stands up to a million different interpretations and still shines. Heroes & Villains is a great song.
P - Chicago, Il
I remember reading somewhere that the Beatles fashioned their own album "Sgt. Peppers" after listening to the Beach Boys album "Pet Sounds" where this song was located. Paul thought that Brian Wilson's lyrics and songs on "Pet Sounds" was some of the best "stuff" that Paul had ever heard!Stormy - Kokomo, In
At pre-score and five, I'm very much alive, I've still got the jive, to survive, with the heroes and villains! cool...Sammy - Ct, United States
Fantastic...but I still don't get it.Dennis - Moses Lake, Wa
stunningNiall - Dublin, Ireland
Brilliant.John - Millersville, Md
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