Musician Biographies » The Beach Boys » THE NEAREST FARAWAY PLACE - “add Some Music To Your Day”, “here Comes The Night”, “i Know There's An Answer”

THE NEAREST FARAWAY PLACE - “here Comes The Night”

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Record company executives weren't the only ones running out of patience—tempers also flared when Brian previewed the album's songs to the rest of the Beach Boys. They were particularly upset by the abstract quality of Van Dyke Parks's lyrics, and they confronted him at a later recording session. When Van Dyke refused to explain the meaning of the words to his songs, he was fired from the project.

The group continued to work on Smile, but despite an encouraging studio visit from Paul McCartney, the project seemed more confused and less salvageable with each passing day. Brian's drug use had only intensified his anxiety over topping Pet Sounds, and Mike, Al, and Carl constantly pressured him not to change the Beach Boys' formula. The final blow came in April, when the Beatles released “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields,” two singles from their next album, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Brian considered the songs works of genius that he would never be able to match, and he lost all initiative to finish his album. Finally, on May 2, 1967, Capitol Records announced to the press that Smile had been canceled.

Brian, hailed as a musical genius just a year before, was now seen by his record label and American critics as unreliable and self-indulgent. With his confidence shattered, he made another blunder that only encouraged that impression. Earlier in 1967, he had told the organizers of the upcoming Monterey Pop Festival that the Beach Boys would perform at this gathering of rock and roll's brightest stars. But Brian pulled out at the last minute, fearing that the group's music would seem “old-fashioned” compared to the gritty, openly political songs of performers like Jimi Hendrix and the Who. As a result, Rolling Stone magazine scolded the band in print, calling them “totally disappointing.” Onstage at the festival, Hendrix summed up the mood when he remarked during his scorching set, “You heard the last of surfing music.” The Beach Boys' popularity was declining fast.

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