Today Capitol Records releases one of the greatest lost albums of all time -- the Beach Boys' Smile. Brian Wilson intended this "teenage symphony to God" as a follow-up to Pet Sounds and countless tapes were recorded. But owing to a hazy blitz of paranoia and group in-fighting, the work has never seen official release until now. (Although Wilson re-recorded a solo version of Smile five years ago, this new box set features the rest of the group, and the original recordings.)
But allow us to go back in time. Before they broke big, the Beach Boys were just a clean-cut bunch of boys from the tiny suburb of Hawthorne, California, a tract home community that connects the South Bay, South Central and the Westside. Brian Wilson and his brothers, Carl and Dennis, lived there until their teens, shaping many of the suburban fantasies that would make them a household name. On the occasion of the unearthing of their lost classic, here's our tour of spots in the town that loom large in Beach Boys lore.
4859 West El Segundo Boulevard
Long before they recorded songs by Charles Manson, the Beach Boys stressed the importance of being "true to your school." Hawthorne High educated all three Wilson brothers as well as Al Jardine. The band lived up to their commitment by returning to perform for the school prom in 1969.
11969 Hawthorne Boulevard
This small hamburger stand on Hawthorne Boulevard was a regular hang-out for the Wilson family. It was amid the ketchup-stained picnic tables that the boys saw the T-bird they would lust over in "Fun, Fun, Fun." It is unclear though where they first heard the Chuck Berry riff they would marry it to.