TUESDAY MUSEDAY – Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson is the band leader of The Beach Boys, the renowned surf music band who peaked in the mid-sixties. We focus today on Brian’s genius (even though he several times made clear that this affirmation made no sense) during his psychedelic period, judged by numerous to be one of the most interesting in modern music history.
Brian Wilson, a man at peace with his childhood
Brian Wilson’s father, Murry Wilson, was known to be extremely demanding with the young members of The Beach Boys. By the time of the SMiLE sessions, Wilson had grown up, but still used childhood as a strong inspiration at the service of children’s health (no joke here, it was his firm intention) with delightful songs like Barnyard, Vega-tables or In A Great Shape. During the session for Fire/Mrs O’Leary’s Cow, Brian also invited the session players to wear firefighter hats. The idea was abandoned, but beautifully shot in Love and Mercy:
Passion for creation versus oppression
While working on Pet Sounds and SMiLE, Brian Wilson seemed unbreakable despite growing difficulties. For instance, Columbia pressured the band to deliver surf-oriented hits in the style of their glorious past. Additionally, Mike Love’s leadership was proven to be unfair and disheartening on Wilson’s faith in his creativity. That being said, Wilson continued to take his time, session after session, take after take, to produce the masterpieces we know today. More than twenty fan-made versions of SMiLE are known to be circulating.
Brian Wilson and technology: itinerary of an adventurous madman
Who never dreamed to match their heroes’ achievements? Having created his own competition with Spector’s Wall of Sound, the student seemed to have surpassed his teacher fairly quickly by the extended use of phenomenal mixing techniques and stereo effects. Additionally, Brian’s production talents became an instant standard for many bands of their era. Did you know that Paul McCartney’s favorite song is God Only Knows?
Want to know more? We strongly recommend you to buy these cool Summer reads:
I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times, Charles L. Granata, on the making of Pet Sounds.
Smile, The Story of Brian Wilson’s Lost Masterpiece, Dominic Priore, on the making of SMiLE.
I am Brian Wilson: a Memoir, Brian Wilson, his life in his own words.