One Album Wonders: Brett Smiley’s Breathlessly Brett

The vinyl LP was introduced by Columbia Records in 1948 but the 45 inch single remained the primary market for the music industry until the dawn of the album era, which began in the mid-1960s. In that era, for any number of reasons, many fine musical acts released only one studio album. This series looks at some of my favorite “one album wonders.”


BRETT SMILEY – BREATHLESSLY BRETT (1974, released in 2003)

Breathlessly Brett


Brett Smiley was a former child actor who was “discovered,” managed, produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, who attempted to sell the mostly-unknown (he’d starred in a production of Oliver!) teenaged American glam rocker to the same skeptical, public which had already rejected the openly gay Jobriath. Unlike Jobriath, however, Smiley was merely (if extremely) effeminate, lisping in an affected British accent on his debut single, “Va Va Va Voom” b/w the even better “Space Ace” in 1974.  After it utterly failed to sell in numbers Loog Oldham (best known for managing and producing The Rolling Stones) was accustomed to, Smiley’s planned full-length album was shelved until its eventual release in 2003 by RPM Records.


Update: Brett Smiley died on 8 January 2016



Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities — or salaried work. He is not interested in writing advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other 21st century varieties of spam. Brightwell’s written work has appeared in AmoeblogdiaCRITICS, and KCET Departures. His work has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County StoreSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured in the Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of his maps are available from 1650 Gallery and on other products from Cal31. He is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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