Smiling Pets is a Japanese tribute album featuring unusual cover versions of songs and tracks written by American composer Brian Wilson while he was active bandleader for the Beach Boys during the mid-to-late 1960s. The album focuses on content originating from the perennial Pet Sounds (1966) and the mythical Smile project. It was also issued as a double-vinyl LP, albeit with a differently ordered tracklist.
Some song titles differ from how they have been officially published by the Beach Boys. The most prominent of which is "Tones", which is a cover of the instrumental Smile track "Holidays". Prior to Smiling Pets, most Smile material was only sparsely available on the compilation Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys (1993). Because "Holidays" had not been officially released until more than a decade later on The Smile Sessions (2011), it's highly likely that unauthorized bootlegs with erroneous tracklists were consulted by Smiling Pets artists. "Tones" (also known as "Tune X") was actually a working title for an entirely different composition recorded by Carl Wilson during Smile sessions. Another misleading title is "Heroes and Villains", which can arguably be more accurately described as a reprise of "Do You Like Worms?".
Tracks from this album would later reappear on individual band compilations or album reissues. "Surfin' U.S.A." is present in complete form on Melt-Banana's MxBx 1998/13,000 Miles at Light Velocity (1999). Secret Chiefs 3's covers of "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes and Villains" are on their compilation Path of Most Resistance (2007). The Olivia Tremor Control's versions of "Do You Like Worms?" and "Little Pad" were later included as bonus tracks on reissued releases of Music from the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle (1996).
An album similarly-fashioned to Smiling Pets was released two years earlier, entitled The Christmas Album, which was a tribute to the compilation A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector (1963). It was also compiled by Seiji Morita and featured some of the same performers.
The Ships and FORMS are aliases of the Olivia Tremor Control and Secret Chiefs 3, respectively. OnoTetsu is the pianist for Harpy, an experimental Japanese noise band. Short Hair Front and Feelds were short-lived bands seemingly lead by album compiler Seiji Morita, and he is credited as arranger for their contributions "I'm Waiting for the Day" and "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times". Little is known about the album's more unrecognizable artists Sports Guitar or R. Gree & Grey Tea. They may also be pseudonyms.
All songs written and composed by Brian Wilson, except where noted.
- Production staff
- Seiji Morita – compilation producer
- Masami Hatta – executive producer
- Mitsuo Koike – mastering
- Hideki Ohtsuka – photography
- Youko Kobayashi – artwork