Heroes and Villains - Releases


Capitol Records had scheduled January 13, 1967 as the release date for the single. Yet, although he was renowned for his efficiency in the studio, Brian Wilson clearly struggled to complete "Heroes and Villains", and despite devoting more than twenty sessions to it between October 1966 and March 1967, he was unable to complete it to his satisfaction.

A number of different edits of the song exist; one was released as a single in July 1967 and appeared on their September 1967 LP Smiley Smile. The original Smile version was eventually released as a bonus track on the Beach Boys Smiley Smile/Wild Honey two-fer in 1990—this 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"). A 2001 stereo mix appears on the Hawthorne, CA album. On the Endless Harmony Soundtrack, there is a demo of the song, which also incorporates two other songs: "I'm in Great Shape" and "Barnyard".

There have been persistent rumors of a far longer two-part edit, reputedly running for six, seven or even ten minutes, and that this edit was intended for single release, split across the two sides of a single. However, it is possible that this rumoured long edit (if it exists) may in fact have been part of a trial assembly of the song and related fragments as part of the planned sequencing of the Smile tracks. Regardless, the intended "Heroes And Villains" single was originally assigned as Capitol 5826, issued with a white picture sleeve showing six pictures of the group members. However, Brian Wilson was still experimenting and creating further concepts for the song, thus the Capitol single was never pressed. By the time of the final single mix, The Beach Boys created their own Brother label and issued "Heroes And Villains" as its first single (Brother 1001) with the cartoon picture sleeve. The picture sleeve for the unreleased Capitol single is a rare, highly sought item among Beach Boys collectors. The song was re-recorded in 2004 as part of Brian Wilson's Smile solo album, with the 'cantina' segment included. In 2011, The Smile Sessions were released containing the original version of the song, plus extensive session highlights.

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