Brian WilsonOn Our Show: September 25, 2010
Birth Year: 1942
Origin: Inglewood, CA
About Brian Wilson:
Brian Wilson is one of popular music’s most deeply revered figures, the main creative force behind some of the most cherished recordings in rock history. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to call Brian Wilson one of the most influential composers of the last century.
Wilson’s remarkable journey began in a modest Hawthorne, California home that was filled with music. His mom and dad both played piano, and he took up an early interest in singing and harmonies.
In 1961 Brian founded the Beach Boys, comprised of himself, brothers Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson, cousin Mike Love and family friend Al Jardine. The Beach Boys became one of the legendary “All American” groups of the 1960s.
He began to create some of the most beloved records ever… nine consecutive “gold” albums that featured such classics as “Surfer Girl,” “In My Room,” “I Get Around,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “Help Me Rhonda” and “California Girls”…just to name a handful of the more than two dozen Top 40 hits Brian co-wrote, arranged, produced and performed.
In 1966, the Beach Boys released the seminal album Pet Sounds. On the charts in America, the album reached #10 and featured four hit singles (including two Top 10 hits, a reworking of the folk standard “Sloop John B” [#3] and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” [#8] as well as two others that cracked the Top 40—“God Only Knows” and “Caroline No”).
One outtake from the Pet Sounds recordings later evolved into the Beach Boys’ first million-selling, worldwide #1 “Good Vibrations,” which the legendary publicist Derek Taylor called a “pocket symphony”; given its kaleidoscopic movements.
Brian was nearly done with the next album SMiLE when a combination of circumstances forced him to shelve it. Throughout the years, even as Wilson battled his personal demons and rode the roller coaster of professional ups and downs, he continued to produce intimate musical gems, continued to make beautiful music. There were entire albums (1968’s Jazzy Friends, 1977’s cult favorite Love You) and tracks (“Time To Get Alone”, “This Whole World”, “Add Some Music To Your Day”, “’Til I Die”, “Marcella” and “Sail On Sailor”) that let us know that his compositional and arranging magic was still intact. He subsequently released a number of solo albums over the years.
In 2004, after a debut of the work at London’s Royal Festival Hall and an extended tour of the UK and Europe, Brian and his band recorded an all-new studio version of SMiLE, and completed an acclaimed U.S. tour. It topped many “Album of The Year” lists, went “gold” in the UK and earned Wilson his first Grammy Award. A two-disc Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE DVD set, released in 2005, garnered Wilson yet another Grammy nomination.
In addition to being a Kennedy Center Honoree, Brian won the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In recent years, he continues to create original solo works and has also recorded works by George Gershwin.