Smile (The Beach Boys Album) - Promotional Campaign

Promotional Campaign

Capitol began production on a lavish gatefold cover with a 12-page booklet in December. Cover artwork was commissioned from Frank Holmes, a friend of Van Dyke Parks, and color photographs of the group were taken by Guy Webster. 466,000 covers and 419,000 booklets were printed by early January 1967; with the following tracks listed on the back of the cover as per a handwritten note delivered to them a few weeks prior to Christmas.

  • "Do You Like Worms?"
  • "Wind Chimes"
  • "Heroes and Villains"
  • "Surf's Up"
  • "Good Vibrations"
  • "Cabin Essence"
  • "Wonderful"
  • "I'm in Great Shape"
  • "Child Is Father of the Man"
  • "The Elements"
  • "Vega-Tables"
  • "The Old Master Painter"

This list was long considered crucial evidence of Wilson's intentions for the piece, but in 2006 it was discovered Brian had never seen it before. A comparison of the handwriting indicates that it may have been written by Carl Wilson, or possibly Brian's sister-in-law, Diane Rovell.

Some time in December, Brian informed Capitol that Smile would not be ready that month, but he advised that he would deliver it "prior to January 15". Capitol continued sending promotional materials to record distributors and dealers, and ads were placed in Billboard and teenage magazines including Teen Set. Within these ads, the album had been compared as an artistic achievement to the films Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons. Capitol also readied a radio ad, using "Good Vibrations" as the backdrop against a voice-over reciting the album's promotional tagline, "with a happy album cover, the really happy sounds inside, and a happy in-store display piece, you can't miss! We're sure to sell a million units... in January!" Wilson's conception of the work evidently changed around this time.

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