Heroes and Villains
""Heroes and Villains"" is a song by the American rock band the Beach Boys written and produced by the group's leader Brian Wilson in collaboration with songwriter Van Dyke Parks. Envisioned as a three-minute music comedy, it was originally intended by Wilson to be the ambitious centerpiece of the group's forthcoming album Smile. The album was instead shelved, and the song was issued in restrained form as a single in July 1967 with ""You're Welcome"" as the B-side. It charted at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Two months later, it appeared as the opening track to the group's Smiley Smile album.The song was the first written for the Smile project. Though the lyrics are distinctly Western with some allusions to the American Indian genocides, former wife Marilyn Wilson claimed that Brian meant the ""heroes"" and ""villains"" to represent the ones in his life.It was the follow-up single to the group's ""Good Vibrations""; both tracks were produced using the same unorthodox method of recording a surplus of musical sections in piecemeal using multiple Hollywood studios. Only during its final production stages would the song then be reduced and assembled into a coherent structure. This proved difficult for Wilson, who grew increasingly frustrated over the virtually limitless number of possible song edits. Bandmate Al Jardine later expressed dissatisfaction with the final composite, calling it ""a pale facsimile"" of Wilson's original vision, believing that he had ""underproduced"" the song at the last minute.Reflective of the song's complicated production history, many significantly different alternate versions of ""Heroes and Villains"" have seen release on subsequent compilations, along with numerous pieces which initially derived as unused sections interpolated within the song. These include ""Gee"", ""Do You Like Worms?"", ""I'm in Great Shape"", ""Barnyard"", and ""My Only Sunshine"".