Engineer Stephen Desper has said that "Cool, Cool Water" was stuck in Brian's head "for years", and that the song had branched from an earlier composition entitled "I Love To Say Dada". The chord progression and melodic hooks are almost identical to it, and tracks from both "Cool, Cool Water" and "Love To Say Dada" sessions are paired side-by-side in The Smile Sessions box set. Brian later stated:
I'm proud of "Cool, Cool Water" because that was a divinely inspired song. I had just moved into a new house on Bellagio Road in Bel Air, in March of 1967, and the first day I moved in, there was a piano there, and I went to the piano and wrote "Cool, Cool Water". I sat and wrote the gist of it, the basic song. It was finished much later of course.
"Cool, Cool Water" was first attempted in June 1967 and October 1967 during the sessions for the Smiley Smile and Wild Honey albums. The 1967 recording did not make it to the final track listing of these albums and was discarded. Three years later, Lenny Waronker, then an A&R executive at Warner Music, heard the unfinished tape, and convinced Wilson to finish the track for Sunflower. Waronker was impressed with the song's inspired simplicity and stated "If I ever get the opportunity to produce Brian, I'd encourage him to do something that combined the vividness of 'Good Vibrations' with the non-commercial gentleness of 'Cool, Cool Water'."
A revised version of "Cool, Cool Water" was released on their 1970 album Sunflower, featuring new lyrics by Mike Love and an altered arrangement. "Cool, Cool Water" was also released as an edited single, with the B-side of the single being "Forever". The single failed to chart in the US and in the UK. The truncated single edit was released in 2007, on the group's The Warmth of the Sun compilation.
The "Water Chant" segment first attempted during the late-1967 Wild Honey sessions also features as the intro to the Brian Wilson Presents Smile version of "Love to Say Dada" (renamed "In Blue Hawaii").
^Badman, Keith. The Beach Boys. The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band: On Stage and in the Studio Backbeat Books, San Francisco, California, 2004. ISBN 0-87930-818-4 p. 289
^http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,11964.msg238603.html#msg238603 "The chant is or was part of the original Smile sessions recorded at Columbia Studios by Brian. He was not involved in the CCW released on "Sunflower." Carl used the chant to tie the first and last sections together. It was his creative decision. The original chant was not a chant. It was a song about a baby with the title, "I love to say Dada." It was never finished or released."