The former Beach Boy says that if he had completed "Smile" for the band in 1967, when he began working on it, "it would've been nothing anywhere as good as the new version." Addled by drugs and creative paranoia, Wilson abandoned the project but resurrected it last year at the suggestion of his wife and managers.
"They said Brian, 'We think that Smile is finally ready for the public. They're finally ready to hear it,'" Wilson recalls. "I said 'You know what? I agree with you.'"
In addition to sprucing up existing portions of "Smile," Wilson and lyricist Van Dyke Parks wrote an entirely new third movement for the piece, which includes the Beach Boys hit "Good Vibrations."
"Smile" was premiered in England earlier this year and will be performed in its entirely on Wilson's North American tour, which begins Thursday in Minneapolis.