Posts Tagged ‘Brian Wilson’

BRIAN WILSON has announced a massive world tour to honor the 50th anniversary of ‘Pet Sounds’, the Beach Boys‘ groundbreaking 1966 LP. The 70-plus date trek begins March 26th in Auckland, New Zealand, progressing through Australia, Japan & Europe. The American leg begins June 14th in Burlington, Vermont, running until late July & picking up again in September. These will be the Brian’s final performances of Pet Sounds’…Brian Wilson has announced a world tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Pet Sounds”. According to Wilson’s official website, it will be the last time he performs the Beach Boys album live. The tour kicks off at the end of March in Australia, and includes a performance at Primavera Festival.

The Beach Boys‘ classic ‘Pet Sounds’ wasn’t designed as a concept album, and it may not even appear to be one on the surface. But there’s no mistaking the underlying theme of teenage anxiety in Brian Wilsons ambitious, and gorgeously orchestrated, song cycle. It’s the moment where ’60s pop gained the sophistication of Frank Sinatra’s classic concept albums of the ’50s. Without it, there’d be no ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ … or probably any other album on this list.In 1966, several albums were deemed as concept albums by their thematically-linked songs, and became inspiration for other artists to follow. The Beach Boys‘ “Pet Sounds” portrayed Brian Wilson state of mind at the time, and was in turn a major inspiration to Paul McCartney.

Album writers Brian Wilson and Tony Asher insist that the narrative was not intended, though Wilson has stated that the idea of the record being a “concept album” is mainly within the way the album was produced and structured. Later in 1966, Wilson began work on “Smile” , an intentional narrative, though it was scrapped and later revived in November 2011. Freak Out!, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention‘s sardonic farce about rock music and America as a whole, and Face to Face by The Kinks, the first collection of Ray Davies‘s idiosyncratic character studies of ordinary people, are conceptually oriented albums. However, of the three, only Pet Sounds attracted a large commercial audience.

Welcome to the latest edition of Masterpiece Reviews. Once again, we’ve thrown on our favorite velvet robe, turned up the fire, and are here to regale you with stories of the greatest and most classic albums of all time. It’s a fresh, new perspective on why these albums are filed under “M” for masterpiece.

In honor of the upcoming summer season, we pull the curtain back on one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Following their 1965 release, Beach Boys Party!, Brian Wilson began penning new music for the band to record. Utilizing new recording techniques and instruments, 1966’s Pet Sounds would go on to become The Beach Boys’ most heralded album and still considered one of the best albums to this day.

 

An impossible dream has become reality. “Smile”, the great lost Beach Boys album, Finally received an official release on Capitol Records in 2011. The musical jigsaw that Brian Wilson couldn’t quite piece together in 1967, has, thanks to the wonders of digital editing, been assembled 44 years behind schedule. It may only be a version of Smile – using the 2004 album Brian Wilson Presents Smile as a template – but that’s good enough for Wilson. “Yes, Smile is now a finished piece of work,

Pet Sounds (1966) had been a symphonic, heart-tugging album about adolescent love and the coming of age. The intention with Smile – briefly called “Dumb Angel”, a title soon jettisoned – was to explore America’s landscape and history in a theatrical (but also cinematic) style, executed in a spirit of gaiety and fun. “Brian was consumed with humour at the time and the importance of humour,” his friend David Anderle later recalled. “He was fascinated with the idea of getting humour onto a disc and how to get that disc out to the people.”
“We wanted to try something different with music,” says Brian today. “We wanted to do something a little more advanced. We wanted to try and top Pet Sounds.” Brian Wilson and his lyricist Van Dyke Parks conceived Smile as a journey across America from east to west; a movie in widescreen Surreal-O-Vision, featuring pioneers and frontiers, cantinas and log cabins, railroads and “waves of wheat”. Wilson began recording Smile in earnest in October 1966, a week before the release of the spectacular No 1“Good Vibrations”. As Wilson and his musicians – some of LA’s leading session players – worked on the new songs (tackling them in individual sections to be linked together later), his fellow Beach Boys embarked on their second European tour. On October 27th, to pick a date at random, Brian was in Western Studio at 6000 Sunset. Directing and organising sessions for “Heroes And Villains” and “I’m In Great Shape”, while his stripey-shirted comrades performed on a bill with Peter & Gordon in Ludwigshafen, oblivious to their leader’s visionary activities back home.

Smile was given a catalogue number (T-2580) by Capitol and scheduled for release in December 1966. In mid-December, its release date was put back to January 1967. Artwork depicting a Smile ‘shop’ was created, and Capitol printed around 400,000 booklets for the album. Smile missed its January release, but Brian told the NME’s Keith Altham, in an article published on April 29, that the 12-song album was at last ready. Brian was filmed singing “Surf’s Up”, a particularly poignant moment on the LP, for a CBS TV doc, Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution, which aired on April 26th. However, on May 6th, Beach Boys’ publicist Derek Taylor broke the news that Smile had been “scrapped”. Though Wilson continued to record until May 18th, he formally abandoned work on the album later that month. “We junked it,” he says now, curiously adopting the royal ‘we’. “We didn’t like where we were coming from. It was too advanced. We were taking drugs. We just decided not to do it any more.”

Various problems had combined and conspired to send the Smile project and Brian Wilson as a human being – off the rails. He was smoking hashish and ingesting uppers on a regular basis, and had started experimenting with LSD. An enormous musical backlog had built up as he attempted to edit down more than 30 hours of music into the 36-minute confines of a vinyl LP. In a classic case of a man under stress, he worked obsessively on details (“Heroes And Villains”, a proposed single, ran to some nine sections), losing sight of the overall picture. He became paranoid that tapes of Smile had fallen into the hands of The Beatles. He daily faced the implacable opposition of his father, Murry, and he’d seen Van Dyke Parks quit the sessions twice (in March 1967, and again in April), offended by Mike Love’s mockery of his lyrics.

Some months later, in September, a new Beach Boys album, Smiley Smile, emerged. Consisting of re-recordings of tracks intended for Smile, it was a vastly  reduced, whimsically simple outline of Brian’s grand vision. Sessions for Smiley Smile had begun, tellingly, on June 3rd – two days after the release of Sgt Pepper, the conclusive proof that Brian’s race with The Beatles for artistic supremacy had been lost. Despite the presence of “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes And Villains”, Smiley Smile was savaged by critics for being hopelessly anti-climactic. “There was no purpose to it,” says Brian. “We just wanted to make something peaceful. Like ‘aaaaah… peace of mind’.”

For some years afterwards, The Beach Boys excavated elements of Smile periodically. “Cabinessence” and “Our Prayer” featured on their 1969 album 20/20. “Cool Cool Water” (previously known as “Love To Say DaDa”) appeared on Sunflower (1970). “Surf’s Up”, combining original Smile recordings with a new lead vocal from Carl Wilson and new ensemble vocals at the end, was the finale of the 1971 album Surf’s Up. Indeed, as their record sales declined, plans were even concocted for The Beach Boys to finish Smile as a matter of urgency. Capitol circulated an internal memo in late 1967 promising a forthcoming album of 10 unheard Smile tunes (and, for good measure, the release of the 400,000 booklets). The insurmountable obstacle, though, was that Brian was in no fit state to revisit the tapes. The Beach Boys released Wild Honey instead, and the Smile booklets were pulped.

A second attempt to revive Smile was made in 1972. The Beach Boys had left Capitol and were now signed to Reprise. Their contract, intriguingly, demanded that they deliver a master tape of Smile to the record company by May 1st, 1973. “When The Beach Boys started courting underground radio in the early ’70s, it was almost like they had to pull Smile out of the hat,” says Domenic Priore, author of Smile: The Story Of Brian Wilson’s Lost Masterpiece. “It was as if Smile gave them legitimacy in the eyes of the counterculture.” Carl Wilson, along with the group’s manager Jack Rieley and recording engineer Stephen Desper, sifted through the tapes – and quickly realised that, sans Brian’s input, they were lost. The tapes were returned to the vaults.

In the summer of 1975, a three-part article was published in NME, written by Nick Kent. Armed with bizarre stories of ‘meditation tents’ and pianos in sandboxes, Kent delved deep into the genius and insanity of Brian, the dysfunction of The Beach Boys and the enigma of Smile. He revealed that, following a hashish-fuelled recording session for a song called “Fire”, Brian had flown into a panic on hearing that a fire had broken out in another part of LA at the same time. He was convinced his music had become witchcraft.

There was a further twist that proved crucial to Smile’s mystique. When Kent wrote his story, Smile was so rare, so forgotten, that people couldn’t even find it on bootleg. “The first tape that started circulating of Smile – in very limited circles – was in about 1979, 1980,” explains Andrew G Doe, curator of the online Beach Boys archive Bellagio 10452, “when an official biography of the band was written by Byron Preiss. He was given Smile tapes by a member of Brian’s household, and they got into the hands of collectors. Those tapes circulated for two or three years before we began to see, in 1983, the first vinyl bootlegs that you could go into a shop and buy.”
In ’85 came a second bootleg, with improved sound quality. Evidently, a Beach Boys insider had obtained access to the vaults and, as Doe puts it, “liberated very good cassette copies”. In the late ’80s, Smile bootlegs began to creep out on CD. One of the most popular, believed to have emanated in Japan, bore the album’s original Capitol catalogue number (T-2580) and opened with a 15-minute “Good Vibrations”. The reason it sounded so good. Reputedly is because first-generation Smile tapes had been given to a collaborator on Brian Wilson’s 1988 solo album, who made copies and passed them to a DJ, who distributed them among friends. After that, the vaults opened wide. “Bootlegs of Smile came out left, right and centre,” says Doe. A 20-volume series of high-quality Beach Boys CD boots (Unsurpassed Masters) was made available in the late ’90s by the Sea Of Tunes label, which took its name from the publishing company founded by Murry Wilson.

Volumes 16 and 17 were dedicated to Smile sessions copied directly  from original tapes. Other CD bootlegs included a 5CD set (Archaeology – The Lost Smile Sessions 1966-1967) on a German label, Picaresque; Heroes And Villains Sessions One & Two, on Wilson Records; and a 2CD edition of Smile on the renowned bootleg label Vigotone, in 1993. Vigotone released a follow-up, Heroes And Vibrations, in 1998, examining the sessions for “Heroes And Villains” and “Good Vibrations” in detail, and planned a multi-disc Smile box set before being raided by the authorities and closed down in 2001.

Bootlegs of Smile, as a rule, contain familiar Beach Boys songs (“Good Vibrations”, “Heroes And Villains”, “Surf’s Up”, “Cabinessence”) performed in rather haunting, and at times halting, fragments. Some tracks have vocals, some don’t. As it became clear that Wilson had been working on up to 20 songs, fans speculated about which ones he’d earmarked for the LP – and in what versions, and in which order, they might have appeared. Nobody has ever been able to ascertain the truth. But one thing was inescapable. The music on the bootlegs lived up to the description of Smile as something exceptionally ambitious. How does Wilson feel today, Uncut wonders, about people first hearing Smile on bootlegs? “Well, I don’t know if they liked them or not,” he replies uneasily. “I mean, do you think they did?” Oh, absolutely! “Are you sure? Really?” Yes, really – they loved them. “OK, then.” Besides, didn’t the bootlegs help to establish Smile’s ‘specialness’, creating the romantic notion of a long-lost masterpiece that would blow people’s minds if it ever came out? “No!” he guffaws, and pauses. “But I guess it did, though, right?”

From the mid-’80s onwards, there have been occasional tantalising glimpses of Smile in an official capacity. Excerpts were used in a 1985 documentary, The Beach Boys: An American Band, including the notorious “Fire”. In 1990, edited highlights of sessions for “Good Vibrations” and “Heroes And Villains” were issued as bonus tracks on Smiley Smile/Wild Honey, a Capitol twofer CD. As interest in The Beach Boys’ legacy grew, a 5CD box set in 1993, Good Vibrations: Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys, found room for almost 40 minutes of music from Smile. Finally , on the 1998 anthology Endless Harmony Soundtrack, fans were treated to a recording of Brian and Van Dyke running through three Smile songs for an LA-based radio presenter in November 1966.

In the meantime, there had been another attempt (in 1988-’89) to prepare the Smile tapes for an official release, but things went awry when a cassette compiled for Capitol executives leaked into the public domain, causing Brian to lose interest.

In the mid-’90s, yet another attempt was made. Capitol announced plans for a Pet Sounds boxset (The Pet Sounds Sessions), to be followed by a 3CD Smile box. But the latter failed to materialise. An 18-month delay in the release of The Pet Sounds Sessions – allegedly due to Mike Love’s unhappiness about the way he was portrayed in the sleeve notes – made the relevant parties unwilling to risk a repeat performance.

A few years passed. Brian made a recovery and was persuaded by his wife Melinda to perform live again. His Pet Sounds tour played to packed houses in 2000-2002. Then, in 2003-’04, aided by Van Dyke Parks and musician Darian Sahanaja, work began on Brian Wilson Presents Smile, a modern-day recreation of Smile. “I will be honest with you,” Sahanaja told interviewer Lindsay Planer, “at first he was not into doing it at all. Remember, this was emotionally taxing for him back in 1967. So much so, he abandoned it. Bringing it all back to him was unsettling to say the least.” Brian Wilson Presents Smile was received warmly on its release in September 2004. Seven months earlier, amid scenes of extraordinary praise (the Evening Standard compared it to the comeback of King Lear), Wilson performed Smile live for the first time at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

Even so, few people expected an official release of the original 1966-’67 recordings. Al Jardine let the cat out the bag in February 2011: “Smile is the Holy Grail for Beach Boys fans… I’m happy to see it finally come out. Brian’s changed his mind about releasing the material, but it was inevitable, wasn’t it?” True to form, Smile still missed its scheduled release date (July 12), then its next one (August 9), then the one after that (October 4). It seems amazing it came out at all. Domenic Priore: “When Smile ended, it wasn’t pretty. All of them had their hearts broken in 1967. But I always believed this day would come. I always thought the music on Smile would overcome the inhibitions and the inertia about releasing it.”

Within days of being listed on Amazon, it was the fifth best-selling music title on pre-orders alone. Not bad for a bunch of 44-year-old songs recorded in mono.

Uncut broke the happy news to Brian Wilson. “Are you sure, man?” he says, uncertainly. “Really? It’s gonna sell? What market, though? Who’s going to buy it?” Bless him.

But don’t assume that the release of Smile has rendered the bootlegs obsolete. Collectors don’t think like that. “Bootlegs will still have a place,” remarks Andrew G Doe. “People will look at the Smile box and say, ‘It hasn’t got this 30-second snatch of “Cabinessence”, or it hasn’t got the 1967 Capitol promo disc.’ It’s extensive, but it won’t make the bootlegs redundant. I’m sure there’s stuff to be unearthed. New tapes will turn up.”

This version of “Smile” was made in 2000 and has some of the most interesting arrangements of the usual smile songs. I especially like the extended Heroes and Villains, the foxtrot version of Wonderful with the Rock with me Henry ending and The powerful Elemental suite. This version has great dynamics and originality but also uses some clips with too much static without any effort to remove it, but thankfully this doesn’t happen very often.

Our Prayer: Real stereo version and the last verse remixed with break out into laughter.

Heroes and Villains (The Barnyard Suite): This is not “Heroes and Villains”. This track is new-salvage remix called “Heroes and Villains” suite made with lots of fragments. This stereo remixed version contains “I’m In Great Shape” demo verse. Constitution is different from ever make-up another suite.

Child is Father of the Man: This track contains a lot of pieces from “Child is father of The man” sessions. The first verse is the same as “Look”. The second verse diverted to last verse of “Surf’s Up”. Break in as “Vega-Tables” tag, track move on last verse like a Jazz flavor (sic) sound.

Wonderful: Harpsichord version with “ma ma ma” chorus and “rock with me henry” verse. Ending part is smiley smile’s laughing dialogue tag.

With Me Tonight: An acappella (sic) version is smiley smile sessions, but this track’s end verse is never heard fast chorus on album version.

Do You Like Worms?: Real stereo version you never heard on other disc. Complete last mix with stereo sounds. And also this song is one part of “Heroes and Villains” suite.

The Old Master Painter: Real stereo version with “Barnyard part 2”. This song might be included among “Heroes and Villains” suite, too.

Cabin Essence: This a long version with instrumental introduction. After “Grand coolle (sic) dam-Over the crow cries” verse, “Who run the iron horse” arrival again as ending verse.

Good Vibrations: Incredible Stereo sound! First Time On C.D.! Try to hear each channel. Maybe you can find secret of this miracle number.

Vega-Tables: Incredible arrival at first time on this C.D. Real stereo sound! Again try to hear each channel.

Wind Chimes: Beautiful marimba version with stereo sound.

The Elemental Suite: The “Elements” is still in mysteriousness. Maybe Brian construct with “Good Vibrations” ” Vega-Tables” “Wind Chimes” “Look” “Holidays” “Mrs. O’leary’s (sic) Cow” “I Love to say Da-da” “I wanna be around” “Friday Night” … and other fragment from SMILE sessions. This is a puzzling suite made with lots of fragments that previously we heard.

Vega-tables reprise: Reprise with a incredible session track! This is take-2 of the session. Maybe this take is Brian’s original idea for “SMILE”. Because he filled up the track with a burst of laughter.

Surf’s Up: Luckily you can hear heavenly sound in this version presented by Brian. This version contains four parts. The First verse is instrumental introduction as prelude for Brian’s singing. Second one is incledible (sic) with Brian’s lead vocal and perfect track. Third one is solo performance from “Inside Pop”. Fourth one is as known as “Child is father of the man”.

 

The Beach Boys Surf The ‘70s

By the turn of the 1970s, the world was a very different place from the utopian image of endless Californian surfing, cars and girls, as represented by the Beach Boys. But once again, the group rose magnificently to the challenge of making music that was both socially relevant and evocative of their initial glory. On August 30th, 44 years ago, they unveiled their new surfing sound of the ‘70s with the classic album ‘Surf’s Up.’

One of the great landmarks in the Beach Boys’ canon, the record was released on August 30th, 1971 at a point when their commercial fortunes had been at a low ebb. Their album of 12 months earlier, ‘Sunflower,’ had only reached No. 151 in a meagre four-week run on the American charts, and the group hadn’t had a top 20 single in the US since ‘Do It Again’ (which topped the British bestsellers) hit No. 20 in 1968.

The new project, produced by the band themselves for their Brother label, got the Beach Boys’ ship moving in the right direction again. They were now working with a new manager, Jack Rieley, and with his encouragement, they became a multi-faceted songwriting force.

‘Surf’s Up’ is rightly remembered for Brian Wilson’s brilliant double-header that closes the album, ‘’Til I Die’ and the title track collaboration with Van Dyke Parks, filled with its enigmatic lyrics and stirring harmonies. But just as remarkably, the album showcased a group with multiple writing teams, all bringing excellent work to the table.

Mike Love and Al Jardine contributed an opening song with an anti-pollution lyric that was really ahead of its time, ‘Don’t Go Near The Water.’ Carl Wilson and Rieley completed ‘Long Promised Road,’ and Carl’s sweet voice led his own ‘Feel Flows.’ Al and Gary Winfrey added the short, equally relevant ‘Lookin’ At Tomorrow (A Welfare Song),’ the pair working with Brian on ‘Take A Load Off Your Feet.’

Bruce Johnston’s writing contribution was the magnificent ‘Disney Girls (1957),’ while Brian and Rieley composed the plaintive ‘A Day In The Life Of A Tree,’ on which the group’s manager also sang. There was even room for Mike Love to sing his adaptation of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s ‘Riot In Cell Block No. 9,’ renamed ‘Student Demonstration Time’ for the social situation of the day.

the-beach-boys-dont-go-near-the-water-stateside-2

the_beach_boys-student_demonstration_time_s

Dennis Wilson’s reduced role on the project was partly because he was working on solo material, and partly that the songs he contributed were omitted to avoid in-fighting within the group, and the album being dominated by only Wilson brothers compositions.

 

‘Surf’s Up’ was perhaps the Beach Boys’ most ecologically prescient work, and the press voiced their approval. “’Don’t Go Near The Water’ is probably the best song yet to emerge from rock’s current ecology kick,” wrote Time magazine. Richard Williams added in Melody Maker that “suddenly, the Beach Boys are back in fashionable favour and they’ve produced an album that fully  backs up all that’s been recently written and said about them.”

The album climbed to No. 29 in the US, their best showing since 1967’s ‘Wild Honey,’ and No. 15 in the UK. It’s since won its rightful place in Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.’ Even if not all of the Beach Boys themselves regard it as a true classic, the album moved the magazine Time reviewer to say that Brian’s music for it “has a high, soaring, quasi-religious vocal and instrumental character that even the Beatles of ‘Abbey Road’ could envy.”

Brian Wilson

Brian Fest
Fonda Theatre
March 30, 2015

At this point in his 50-plus-year career, Brian Wilson’s accomplishments need no introduction. His track record is almost second to none, as he’s managed to endure and become more appreciated over time for both his chart-topping hits and his more bizarre, experimental songs.

Following the likes of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and The Rolling Stones, the Beach Boy is the latest music luminary to be honored with a one-off benefit concert for Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. The event coincides with next week’s release of Wilson’s latest solo effort, “No Pier Pressure”. The record is as known for Wilson’s collaborations with Zooey Deschanel, Sebu Simonian, Nate Ruess and Kacey Musgraves as it is for the ones that didn’t come to fruition with Frank Ocean and Lana Del Rey.

Hosted by the Cabin Down Below Band, the night had a number of highs, lows and surprises that kept the crowd locked in on the stage even as the Jameson flowed (the Irish whiskey sponsored the event). Many of the early performers seemed either intimidated, under-rehearsed, or ill-equipped for their respective songs. The deeper the cut, the more apparently Herculean the task. In the cases of Jade Castrinos, Karen Elson and M. Ward, part of the challenge was simply the lack of backing vocal harmonies that defined The Beach Boys’ sound. While ambitious, the song selection in these cases hindered the performances, which came off as disjointed and nondescript.

Playing two of Wilson’s more obscure songs from his late ‘60s experimental period, Devendra Banhart was as entertaining as he was vocally proficient. Dressed up as a carrot, Banhart and his two pals — dressed, respectively, as peas and a banana — tackled “Meant for You” and “Vegetables.” Their outfits were as memorable as the performance, and loosened up the slightly stiff band and lethargic crowd.

When there were multiple singers — or even an entire band — the results were far superior. Local Natives were the first group to get the crowd singing along with them, even though they played the little known “Let Him Run Wild” before an obvious crowd-pleaser in “I Get Around.” Singer Taylor Rice was comfortable in the Mike Love role and his bandmates glided through the song with ease. Boz Scagg’s muscular version of “Sail on Sailor” and Doyle Bramhall II’s “Feel Flows” went over as well as Wilson’s biggest songs, and proved that much of The Beach Boys’ ’70s catalog has endured over the years, as well.

Though he was billed as one of the main acts along with Norah Jones, Brandon Flowers mysteriously didn’t show up. Instead, Kesha, who has made few public appearances since she entered rehab for an eating disorder, was a surprise addition. She delivered a confident, spirited rendition of “California Girls.”

The pop star wasn’t the only female vocalist who shined. Bethany Cosentino trading vocals with longtime Wilson collaborator Al Jardine on “Don’t Worry Baby,” while Wilson Phillips delivered a solemn version of “In My Room.”

Even before Wilson hit the stage for the final four songs, the evening’s participants went out of their way to show their appreciation. A huge gold “We Love You, Brian” balloon made its way to the stage, and subsequently passed around the room like a crowd surfer during the Flaming Lips’ choppy version of the iconic “Good Vibrations.”

As for Brian Wilson, at 72, he embraced the nostalgia of his Beach Boys catalog, giving the musicians a thrill by allowing them share the stage with him for some of his biggest hits, rather than anything from his forthcoming album Pier Pressure.

By the time people were dancing to set closer “Barbara Ann,” it became apparent that the notoriously fragile Wilson should have played a bigger role in the night’s proceedings. His presence behind the keyboard propelled the rest of both his touring band and Cabin Down Below Band to nail the songs when he was onstage. It’s understandable that Wilson kept a low profile until the end of the night, but if the Beach Boys maestro had been onstage for more of the show, it would have given the night a fuller, more memorable shape.

Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips, “Good Vibrations”

Part one of the exclusive two-part documentary series “Brian Fest: A Night to Celebrate the Life and Music of Brian Wilson” presented by FLOOD and “Love & Mercy.”
This is the first of two videos within a documentary series was filmed at Brian Fest, a star-studded concert event that took place in March at Los Angeles’ The Fonda Theater featuring an incredible lineup of artists that came together to pay tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honoree and legendary founding member of The Beach Boys. Each episode includes intimate interviews with a range of notable artists that were inspired and influenced by Brian Wilson.

Part two of the exclusive two-part documentary series “Brian Fest: A Night to Celebrate the Life and Music of Brian Wilson” presented by FLOOD and “Love & Mercy.”

This is the second of two videos within a documentary series was filmed at Brian Fest, a star-studded concert event that took place in March at Los Angeles’ The Fonda Theater featuring an incredible lineup of artists that came together to pay tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honoree and legendary founding member of The Beach Boys. Each episode includes intimate interviews with a range of notable artists that were inspired and influenced by Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson, “Surfin’ U.S.A” / Local Natives, “I Get Around”

Bethany Cosentino (of Best Coast) and Al Jardine perform The Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby” at the Brian Fest celebrating Brian Wilson at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood on March 30, 2015.

Setlist
Do It Again (Cabin Down Below Band)
Surfin Safari (Cabin Down Below Band)
Till I Die (Lucius)
Be True to Your School (Adam Busch & Danny Masterson)
I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times (Jade Castrinos)
Meant For You (Devandra Banhart)
Vegetables (Devandra Banhart)
Surf’s Up (The Punch Brothers)
Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Joy Williams)
You’re So Good to Me (M. Ward)
Don’t Talk Put Your Head on My Shoulder (M. Ward)
Let Him Run Wild (Local Natives)
I Get Around (Local Natives)
Caroline, No (Karen Elson)
California Girls (Kesha)
Wild Honey (Blondie Chaplin)
In My Room (Wilson Phillips)
Feel Flows (Doyle Bramhall II)
Sail on Sailor (Boz Scaggs)
Sloop John B (Al Jardine)
Good Vibrations (Flaming Lips)
Little Bird (Norah Jones & Gingger Shankar)
God Only Knows (Norah Jones)
Warmth of the Sun (Ann Wilson)
Our Prayer (Cabin Down Below Band)
Surfer Girl (Brian Wilson, Norah Jones, Boz Scaggs)
Fun, Fun, Fun (All)
Surfin’ USA (All)
Barbara Ann (All)

The life of reclusive Beach Boys songwriter and musician Brian Wilson, from his successes with highly-influential orchestral pop albums to his nervous breakdown and subsequent encounter with controversial therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.

LOVE & MERCY presents an unconventional portrait of Brian Wilson, the mercurial singer, songwriter and leader of The Beach Boys. Set against the era-defining catalog of Wilson’s music, the film intimately examines the personal voyage and ultimate salvation of the icon whose success came at extraordinary personal cost.

You’d think it would be difficult for Brian Wilson to pick his favorite Beach Boys song, but he’s decisive: It’s “God Only Knows.” he loves the new Wilson biopic Love & Mercy (out Friday), there are parts that were hard for him to watch.

“Paul Dano delivers an astonishing performance as the younger version of Brian Wilson, with John Cusack playing him in the later years, a gambit that pays off handsomely in a production that reflects Wilson’s blaring imagination with its own ingenious structure, visual approach, sound design and poetic sensibility.”
– The Washington Post


“A deeply satisfying pop biopic. John Cusack gives one of the best performances of his career.”
– Hollywood Reporter “It’s a refreshing surprise to find LOVE & MERCY, a story about the pop icon Brian Wilson from two ends of his life, break the mold and even invigorate the form.”

– Los Angeles Times

“For Beach Boys fans this will be an obvious must-see.”
– JoBlo

“Paul Dano and John Cusack both do sterling work as the two halves of this broken soul, drawing us in and making us care, so that when we do finally get a chance to see the real Brian Wilson.”
– Hitfix

“It’s like being inside Brian Wilson’s creativity.”
– Indiewire

“As conceived and written by veteran filmmaker Oren Moverman (Bob Dylan film I’m Not There, most pertinently), the fact-based LOVE & MERCY intercuts two tracks of Wilson’s life. In so doing, LOVE & MERCY achieves the improbable: make a music biopic circa 2015 fresh and interesting.”
– Los Angeles Times

“Paul Giamatti is marvelously monomaniacal as Eugene Landy.”
– Elle

“Elizabeth Banks is terrific.”
–  Film Journal International

 

Beach-Boys-Today

‘Beach Boys Today! Turns 50 years old , To call the Beach Boys prolific in their early years hardly does justice to an output of eight studio records in their first two and a half years of making albums. The last in that sequence, the fondly-remembered ‘Beach Boys Today!’ is marking its half-century today, released on March 8, 1965.

Also known simply as Today!,was the eighth studio album by the American group the Beach Boys, and their first of three releases that came out in 1965. It peaked at number four on US  Charts and included the top 10 singles When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)” and Dance, Dance, Dance“, along with “Do You Wanna Dance? which reached number 12 later that year. The album marked a major transition point for the band through Brian Wilson‘s sophisticated, orchestral approach. In December 1964, Wilson suffered a nervous breakdown while on a plane, and was then introduced to marijuana as a stress reliever. He then became a regular user after he realized the profound effect it had on the way he perceived music, subsequently resigning from touring with the group in order to focus solely on songwriting and producing. The tracks on the first half of Today! feature an electric guitar-rock oriented sound that contrasts the second half consisting of ballads, showing an increased mature lyrical depth that would foreshadow the future efforts Pet Sounds. The second side marks Wilson’s continuing maturation as a recording artist; all the songs showcase creatively developed vocal & instrumental arrangements,with a complex Wall of Sound production, and lyrically introspective subject matter.

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The LP hit record stores as the group were climbing the American charts with their latest single, which showed both their feelgood side, on Bobby Freeman’s ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ (with lead vocals by Dennis Wilson) and brother Brian’s increasingly thoughtful and inventive songwriting, on the lovely ‘Please Let Me Wonder.’

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Both tracks were included in ‘Today!,’ which showcased Brian’s ever more sophisticated production skills. The album also featured the Beach Boys’ two previous hits, the equally reflective ‘When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)’ and the upbeat ‘Dance, Dance, Dance.’

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Firmly established as the group’s creative inspiration, Brian Wilson was now making ever more use of the studio as a palette for his imagination. The album featured such exotic instrumentation as harpsichords, oboes, cellos, French horn and all manner of percussion, such as timbales, sleigh bells and even triangle.

‘Today!’ also featured the album version of ‘Help Me, Ronda,’ soon to be released as a single in an alternative recording, spelled ‘Help Me, Rhonda,’ which topped the US charts. Among the other highlights was another gorgeous, introspective Wilson composition, ‘She Knows Me Too Well.’ ‘Beach Boys Today!’ entered Billboard’s Top LPs chart at the end of March at No. 149 and went on to a No. 6 peak, staying on the bestsellers for two weeks short of a year.

Brian Wilson has a new album ‘No Pier Pressure” available on April 7th, 2015, Brian kicks back in the studio in the lyric video for “The Right Time,” a song that will appear on his new upcoming album “No Pier Pressure. The song features contributions from two of Wilson’s fellow Beach Boys, Al Jardine (who sings lead) and David Marks.
In the video, Wilson adds the vocal harmonies that made him famous to the song’s chorus and encourages the musicians, giving bassist Don Was a A-OK hand gesture and smiling at a story Al Jardine tells. Lushly orchestrated and relaxed sounding, right down to the “bah-bah-bah” bridge, the song finds Jardine questioning the right time to start a relationship with a woman. The song is available as an instant download on pre-orders of No Pier Pressure.

The LP contains another song that features Jardine and Marks, “What Ever Happened.” It also contains appearances by a number of notable guests, including She and Him’s Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward (who recently covered the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows”), fun. frontman Nate Ruess, Kacey Musgraves and early Seventies Beach Boys guitarist Blondie Chaplin. When Wilson wrote the album, he was thinking he would be recording it with all of the Beach Boys, as a follow-up to their That’s Why God Made the Radio comeback LP in 2012. But when the reunion fell apart, he assembled a new group of musicians to record what would become     “No Pier Pressure”. The record will come out on April 7th.

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Carl Wilson is one of the most-loved and much-missed vocalists and musicians of his generation, whose glorious voice and authoritative guitar graced scores of great recordings. In celebration of the late Beach Boys singer,

His premature death at just 51, in 1998, robbed us of many more years more of his fine work.

Born in the Californian town that the Beach Boys made famous, Hawthorne, Carl was four and a half years younger than his brother Brian, and two years the junior of his other sibling, Dennis. He was close to six years younger than the other mainstay of the group’s sound and personnel, his cousin Mike Love, so Carl had his work cut out to be taken seriously, at least as a vocalist.

He was, however, established in the role of lead guitarist for the group from their very first album, 1962’s ‘Surfin’ Safari.’ His Fender solo, halfway through the hit single title track and in between Love’s verses, sets the template for the customisation of Chuck Berry’s lead lines that was Carl’s first hallmark as a guitarist. His bold introductory line on ‘Surfin’ USA’ was another memorable motif, and occasional instrumentals also put him centre stage, such as the affectionately- titled rock ‘n’ roll shuffle ‘Carl’s Big Chance’ on 1964’s ‘All Summer Long.’

Carl’s early vocal leads on Beach Boys songs were often in the Berry-influenced rock ‘n’ roll idiom that partly defined their early sound, and he was in the spotlight on early album versions of ‘Summertime Blues,’ ‘Louie Louie’ and others. But gradually, his pristine voice started to imprint itself on some of the group’s most memorable sides.

As Brian’s songwriting became more sophisticated, Carl’s voice grew with it, developing a distinctive, supple soulfulness that makes a song like ‘Girl Don’t Tell Me,’ from 1965’s ‘Summer Days (And Summer Nights!)’ such a pleasure. By now, he was also expanding as a guitar player, using the 12-string Rickenbacker that he and other figureheads such as Roger McGuinn and George Harrison helped to popularise.

Then, in the mid-1960s period, came the two most indelible of all Carl’s vocal performances. To this day, many casual listeners probably don’t realise that it’s the often unsung Carl who gives life to his brother Brian’s incredible melodies and lyrics on either of them: ‘God Only Knows,’ the 1966 masterpiece from the ‘Pet Sounds’ album was followed by another work of genius before the end of the year, ‘Good Vibrations,’ on which Carl does the lion’s share of the vocal work, augmented by Brian and Mike.

Carl also showed himself a fine interpreter of the complex lyrics of Van Dyke Parks, as on the mesmeric ‘Wonderful’ from ‘Smiley Smile.’ As the group’s work became more influenced by the experimentation of the later 1960s, there was still room to rock out, with a soulful lead on their cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Was Made To Love Her,’ and to helm chart hits like ‘Darlin’’ and another cover, ‘I Can Hear Music.’

Wilson’s voice helped ease the Beach Boys into the 1970s on ‘Surf’s Up,’ on whose title track Carl plays a major role. The group’s next album, ‘Carl and the Passions – So Tough,’ was even named after an early group of his. As Brian’s involvement lessened, Carl’s musicianship grew ever more important, and his lead vocals on some of their less successful albums of the late 1970s remain very charming, notably ‘Sweet Sunday Kinda Love’ from the ‘M.I.U. Album.’

Carl was the main featured vocalist on 1979’s return to acclaim, the ‘L.A. (Light Album),’ singing and co-writing the fine ‘Good Timin’’ with Brian and steering the lovely ‘Full Sail,’ among others. As the 1980s dawned, the group’s momentum ebbed, even if they were, as Carl sang, trying to keep the summer alive; but 1985’s self-titled album provided the ballad ‘She Believes In Love Again,’ which he co-sang with its writer, Bruce Johnston.

Carl made two solo albums, a self-titled 1981 set and ‘Youngblood’ in 1983. while both are now sadly deleted, here also is a great live performance of ‘Heaven,’ one of the highlights of that solo debut:

A talent such as Carl Wilson’s comes along all too rarely and should be remembered every day, but especially on his birthday.

God only knows how, but the hoarse voiced photojock really pulls it off, slowing down the song to a funereal pace, intoning over bare piano, with only a trace of strings and some George Harrisony slide. OK, arguably Brian Wilson’s meisterwork, it’s a song hard to destroy, but this lily he has gilded to the wall, and may surprise his many detractors, of which I am usually one.

When Bryan Adams decided the Beach Boys’ 1966 song “God Only Knows”, he thought he’d approach it like one of Tony Bennett and Bill Evans’ classic voice-and-piano duets. “There was no way I would ever want to duplicate a Beach Boys song,” says the Canadian rocker, who included the song on his forthcoming album “Tracks of My Years”.

“I wanted to have the vocal featured up front, with no echo and no reverb. I wanted people to hear the nuances of the voice, without any color on it. There’s nothing more beautiful than piano and voice together — other than maybe voice and guitar.

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The Beach Boys “Holland” album was released this day in 1973. Brian’s contributions included “Sail on Sailor, “Funky Pretty” and the extended suite “Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairy Tale).” The album also featured Al Jardine’s “California Saga: California” with an intro vocal by Brian. I love Holland. I consider it one of the band’s  best Albums. Blondie and Ricky’s contributions to the Beach Boys were underappeciated. Huge fan of The Trader by Carl. Blondie’s vocal on “Sail on Sailor” is superb.

Holland was the nineteenth studio album by the American rock group The Beach Boys, released in January 1973. It was recorded in Baambrugge, Netherlands over the summer of 1972 using a reconstructed studio sent from California, and with two Brian Wilson tracks rush-recorded in Los Angeles and added to the album at the last minute. The photograph on the album’s front cover is an upside down image of the Kromme Waal, a canal that runs through the center of Amsterdam.

Holland included a bonus EP, Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairy Tale), a musical fairy tale written by Brian Wilson about a magical transistor radio who appears to a young prince. Narration was provided by the group’s manager: Jack Rieley.