“While Brian Wilson largely controlled the creative process early in The Beach Boys' years, this album showcased the talents of the other band members. Carl Wilson especially …”
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Underrated, Overlooked, and Underappreciated Albums
Surf's Up is an album title for The Beach Boys based on a song with the same title written by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks for the abandoned 1966–1967 Beach Boys Smile album. The song was reworked and used as the title track for the fourteenth studio album by The Beach Boys, released in 1971. Smile, including the original version of the song 'Surf's Up,' was finally completed and released by Brian Wilson and his band in 2004.
In the fall of 1970, after the commercial failure of the Sunflower album, The Beach Boys hired Jack Rieley as their manager. Rieley, a DJ, had impressed the band with his falsified credentials (a supposed Peabody Award-winning stint as NBC bureau chief in Puerto Rico) and ideas on how to regain respect from American music fans and critics. His first initiative was to have The Beach Boys record songs with more socially aware lyrics. Rieley also insisted that the band officially appoint Carl Wilson "musical director" in recognition of the integral role he had played keeping the group together since 1967. Most importantly, he demanded the completion of "Surf's Up" for release by composer and erstwhile bandleader Brian Wilson, a song that had taken on mythical proportions in the underground press since the demise of Smile three years earlier. He also organized a guest appearance at a Grateful Dead concert in April 1971, further enhancing the Beach Boys' once-lacking hip credentials.