Brian Wilson
Songwriter, Bassist, Pianist, Vocalist, Producer, Composer, Arranger
Brian Wilson
Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, best known as the leader and chief songwriter of the group The Beach Boys. On stage, Wilson provided many of the lead vocals, and often harmonized with the group in falsetto. Early during his on-stage career, Wilson primarily played bass on stage, but gradually transitioned to primarily playing piano/keyboards. Besides being the primary composer in The Beach Boys, he also functioned as the band's main producer and arranger.
Biography
Brian Wilson's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Brian Wilson from around the web
Elton John, Chaka Khan, Brian Wilson and more music greats react to George Michael's death
LATimes - about 2 months
The Internet was in shock Sunday as it learned of the sudden passing of pop music star George Michael.  Michael passed peacefully at home over the Christmas holiday, the singer's publicist said in a statement. As fans of the musician worked through their grief on social media, many expressed their...
Article Link:
LATimes article
Beach Boys Confirm They're Considering Playing Trump's Inauguration
Huffington Post - about 2 months
Over the past few weeks, Donald Trump has struggled to book performers for his presidential inauguration, with just about every major name in pop culture turning him down. As of now, the president-elect essentially only has reality TV star Jackie Evancho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and The Rockettes ― who allegedly want to boycott as well, but are currently barred by their union from doing so. Trump’s luck might be changing slightly though, because The Beach Boys haven’t flat-out refused him yet and are still actively considering his offer. “The Beach Boys have been asked to perform as part of the inauguration festivities,” a Beach Boys spokesperson told People. “But no decision has been made at this point as to how or whether they will participate. We will let you know as soon as a decision is final.” This, of course, is the Mike Love–led Beach Boys that no longer includes fellow original members such as Al Jardine or Brian Wilson.  Of Love, Rolling Stone wrote in a ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Eleven More Bass Players Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Huffington Post - 3 months
"You ask the average person what a bass is, or what a bass sounds like, and most of the time, they don't know. But remove the bass from any piece of music and suddenly it becomes the largest missing piece in the world! Whoa, fifty percent of the music just went away with one instrument! It is an instrument that is much more conspicuous by its absence than by its presence..." As told to this writer by Michael J. Visceglia, bassist, author, educator, recording artist The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees were revealed a few weeks ago and I congratulate all the artists: Bad Brains, Chaka Khan, Chic, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra, J. Geils Band, Jane's Addiction, Janet Jackson, Joan Baez, Joe Tex, Journey, Kraftwerk, MC 5, Pearl Jam, Steppenwolf, The Cars, The Zombies, Tupac Shakur, and Yes. Some of the choices are obvious to me, some less so. A few leave me bewildered, but that's rock and roll...the mistakes make the music real. And I see that a few of the nomi ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Music Video Premiere: Lovett Presents 'Don't Freak Out,' an All-American Song With a Universal Theme
Huffington Post - 4 months
Lovett's catchy "Don't Freak Out" seems made for these times. In fact, America should adopt it as the nation's theme song for this insane election year, no matter who wins the presidential race. Written specifically for a project called The Asheville Symphony Sessions, which includes contributions from some of Western North Carolina's top musicians, Lovett's song begins with his pleasant plinks on a toy piano. With the symphony conducted by Daniel Meyer, it develops into a full-fledged collaboration that includes sweeping orchestral arrangements, a children's chorus providing Beach Boyish (and girlish) harmonies and the buoyant spirit of a singer-songwriter-composer-producer who will warm your heart. Yet, Ben Lovett, who goes by only his last name professionally, had no political motives or heavy-handed messages to deliver when he wrote "Don't Freak Out." It's one of eight songs on the album released in May that, according to Asheville Symphony Orchestra Executive Director David ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
'I Feel Pretty Good': A Moment With Brian Wilson
NPR - 4 months
The songwriter and Beach Boys co-founder reflects on his family, his mental health and his plans for the future — and names his favorite Brian Wilson song.
Article Link:
NPR article
I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir
Huffington Post - 4 months
''Music is the solution,'' writes Brian Wilson in his new memoir. How can a man who is deaf in one ear and plagued by voices in his head create some of the most groundbreaking songs in history? I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir written by Brian Wilson with Ben Greenman shows you how. In his honest yet hesitant voice, Brian Wilson takes you on a journey into the life of a creative genius, exploring his turbulent life and creative influences and how, regardless of his inner and outer demons, there is always hope. Best known as co-founding member of The Beach Boys, Wilson's life story is no beach. Some may call this a memoir of a musical genius but in many ways it's simply a memoir of a man, who, just like the rest of us, is trying to find his way through life and make sense of all his struggles. Everybody, when faced with hardships, has some kind of coping mechanism to lean on when times get tough. Wilson has tried the lot: drugs, alcohol, and social isolation. But in the end, his escap ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Brian Wilson Talks Mental Illness, Drugs and Life After Beach Boys - RollingStone.com
Google News - 4 months
RollingStone.com Brian Wilson Talks Mental Illness, Drugs and Life After Beach Boys RollingStone.com Brian Wilson discusses his new memoir, 'I Am Brian Wilson,' as well as mental illness, drugs, his relationship with Mike Love and more. Credit: Andrew Toth/Getty. By Kory Grow. 6 hours ago. More News. Beach Boys Brian Wilson, Mike Love Tell All in ... Read the Harrowing Intro to I Am Brian WilsonVulture Beach Boy Brian Wilson Details Struggle with the 'Voices' Inside His Head After Troubled ChildhoodPEOPLE.com Brian Wilson on the Influence of the Beatles and Rolling Stones100.7 WZLX Classic Rock Esquire.com -NewsOK.com -AL.com -Orlando Sentinel all 48 news articles »
Article Link:
Google News article
Brian Wilson: The Beach Boy who bonds father and son
CNN - 5 months
The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" is acclaimed as one of the finest albums of the last 50 years; it has a particularly special place in my heart, as the CD was on repeat in our Brighton apartment while my partner Fiona was in the final throes of labor, about to deliver our first son.
Article Link:
CNN article
Pitchfork day 2: Brian Wilson looks like a bystander at his own concert
Chicago Times - 7 months
Reports from Friday, day one at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park, from Greg Kot (GK) and Bob Gendron (BG). 1:16 p.m.: A full minute of silence accentuates the dead time occurring during Circuit Des Yeux's set. Yet the band, led by Indiana native Haley Fohr, remains oblivious to the awkwardness....
Article Link:
Chicago Times article
Brian Wilson and band play Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds' and call for peace at Hollywood Bowl
LATimes - 7 months
Brian Wilson’s name is far from the top of the list of pop music artists known for social and political commentary, and his 50th anniversary performance of the Beach Boys’ watershed “Pet Sounds” album Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl was probably the last place concertgoers expected to encounter reflections...
Article Link:
LATimes article
What would Brian Wilson change about 'Pet Sounds'? He reflects 50 years later
LATimes - 8 months
Brian Wilson was doing his best to be a good sport. While talking to a reporter and then posing for a photographer, he often appeared to be enjoying himself about as much as he would on a visit to his oral surgeon. About 15 minutes into the interview, when asked how he felt about producer George...
Article Link:
LATimes article
The Strangest Thing Brian Wilson Has Ever Done
Huffington Post - 8 months
Brian Wilson headlined the Brooklyn Northside Festival on Sunday, where he played the entirety of "Pet Sounds" alongside fellow original Beach Boys member Al Jardine and the rest of Wilson's band. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the album, which Rolling Stone called the second greatest of all time. "Pet Sounds" features Beach Boys classics such as "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "God Only Knows." When Wilson began playing the latter track on Sunday evening, the person standing behind me at the festival exclaimed, "Oh my god, it's so beautiful," and began to tear up. A quick look at Twitter posts from around that same time showed that multiple people were doing the same thing. Paul McCartney has said that “Pet Sounds” made him cry and that “God Only Knows” is his favorite song in all of music history. With thousands of fellow festival-goers and dozens of Brooklynites on park-adjacent balconies and rooftops collectively welling as Wilson played the song, it was hard not t ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Drake, Brian Wilson and Blink-182: Your essential summer music guide
LATimes - 9 months
Missed the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival? Bummed you didn't score tickets to Adele's upcoming six-night stay at Staples Center or Radiohead's two-night jaunt at the Shrine Auditorium? Well, there's plenty of music still to be had this summer, both on record and in person. What follows...
Article Link:
LATimes article
Brian Wilson Memoir Coming in October
NYTimes - 10 months
Mr. Wilson, of the Beach Boys, worked on the book, “I Am Brian Wilson,” with Ben Greenman.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Pitchfork Music Festival lineup announced
Chicago Times - about 1 year
Beach House, Carly Rae Jepson, Brian Wilson, Savages, Sufjan Stevens, Miguel, Shamir, the Sun Ra Arkestra and Super Furry Animals are among the acts scheduled to perform at what is shaping up as a wildly eclectic Pitchfork Music Festival July 15-17 in Union Park. This year’s lineup, announced Friday,...
Article Link:
Chicago Times article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Brian Wilson
    FORTIES
  • 2016
    To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, Wilson will embark on the Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary World Tour in April 2016.
    More Details Hide Details It was promoted as his final performances of the album. An autobiography titled I Am Brian Wilson was announced in April 2013, written with help from journalist Jason Fine, and given a 2015 release date. In February 2016, it was reported that the book was "years in the making and has already seen at least one co-author hired and fired". Wilson said that the biography was about "three-quarters" finished and that it was now being written with help from friend Ray Lawlor. Wilson's understanding of music theory was self-taught. The first instrument he learned to play was a toy accordion before quickly moving to piano and then bass guitar. From an early age, Brian demonstrated an extraordinary skill for learning music by ear on keyboard. According to bassist Carol Kaye, "He took bass up another step. He saw it as integral in a symphonic orchestra. He used bass as the framework for a hit record. Very few people can write for bass, but his writing was beautiful. There are a lot of jazz musicians who admire him for it."
  • 2015
    On September 17, 2015, Wilson announced that he would play a November 4 benefit concert as part of a new partnership with the Campaign to Change Direction.
    More Details Hide Details Proceeds from the concert will go to provide free mental health services to veterans.
    Earlier in January 2015, Wilson contributed vocals to Mini Mansions' single "Any Emotions" from the album The Great Pretenders.
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    Almost two years after recording began, Wilson released his eleventh solo album, No Pier Pressure, on April 7, 2015.
    More Details Hide Details The thirteen track album (a deluxe edition containing three bonus tracks was also released) features many guest appearances including Al Jardine, David Marks and Blondie Chaplin. Fun’s Nate Ruess, She & Him’s Zooey Deschanel and M Ward, Capital Cities’ Sebu Simonian, along with Kacey Musgraves and Peter Hollens.
  • 2014
    A cover of Paul McCartney's "Wanderlust" was contributed by Wilson for the tribute album The Art of McCartney, released in November 2014.
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    On October 7, 2014, BBC released a newly recorded version of "God Only Knows" with guest appearances by Wilson, Brian May, Elton John, Jake Bugg, Stevie Wonder, Lorde, and many others.
    More Details Hide Details It was recorded to celebrate the launch of BBC Music. A week later, Wilson was featured as a guest vocalist for the Emile Haynie single "Falling Apart".
    Premiering in September 2014 at the Toronto International Film Festival, Wilson was in attendance at the first screening of Love & Mercy, a biographical film of his life directed by Bill Pohlad.
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    In January 2014, Wilson confirmed that he did not write any new material with Beck, that Beck was just a guest musician on songs he wrote and nothing the duo recorded together would appear on his upcoming album.
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  • 2013
    On June 6, 2013, Wilson's website announced that he was recording and self-producing new material with guitarist Jeff Beck, session musician/producer Don Was, as well as fellow Beach Boys Al Jardine, David Marks, and Blondie Chaplin.
    More Details Hide Details On June 20, the website announced that the material might be split into three albums: one of new pop songs, another of mostly instrumental tracks with Beck, and another of interwoven tracks dubbed "the suite" which initially began form as the closing four tracks of That's Why God Made The Radio.
  • 2011
    The official Beach Boys release of the original, partially completed Smile recordings was overseen by Wilson for the compilation, titled The Smile Sessions, released on October 31, 2011.
    More Details Hide Details In October 2011, Jardine reported that the Beach Boys would reunite in 2012 for 50 American dates and 50–60 overseas dates. The Beach Boys released their new album, That's Why God Made the Radio, on June 5, 2012. The album's title track was released as its first single in April 2012. The new album debuted at Number 3 on the Billboard charts which was their highest album debut to date. Following the reunion a year later, it was announced that Wilson would no longer tour with the band as Mike Love returned the lineup to its pre-Anniversary Tour configuration with him and Bruce Johnston as its only members.
    Wilson contributed his revival of Buddy Holly's "Listen to Me" to the tribute album, Listen to Me: Buddy Holly, released on September 6, 2011, on Verve Forecast.
    More Details Hide Details Rolling Stone praised Wilson's version as "gorgeous," featuring " angelic harmonies and delicate instrumentation."
    Wilson's second album for Disney was In the Key of Disney, a collection of classic Disney movie songs, which was released on October 25, 2011.
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    Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin achieved Number 1 position on the Billboard Jazz Chart, and had sold 53,000 copies by August 2011.
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  • 2010
    The resulting album, Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin, was released in August 2010 on Disney's Pearl label.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 2009
    In summer 2009, Wilson signed a two-record deal with Disney after he was approached to record an album of his interpretations of classic Gershwin songs, and to assess unfinished piano pieces by Gershwin for possible expansion into finished songs.
    More Details Hide Details After extensive evaluation of a vast body of Gershwin fragments, Wilson chose two to complete.
  • 2008
    On September 30, 2008, Seattle's Light in the Attic Records released A World of Peace Must Come, a collaboration between Wilson and Stephen Kalinich, originally recorded in 1969, but later lost in Kalinich's closet.
    More Details Hide Details Around this time, Wilson announced that he was developing another concept album, titled Pleasure Island: A Rock Fantasy. Accordingly: "It’s about some guys who took a hike, and they found a place called Pleasure Island. And they met all kinds of chicks, and they went on rides and — it’s just a concept. I haven’t developed it yet. I think people are going to love it — it could be the best thing I’ve ever done." The album has yet to surface, and for several years, Wilson has consistently maintained in interviews that he wishes his "next album" to be more rock-oriented.
    Wilson released That Lucky Old Sun in September 2008. The piece originally debuted in a series of September 2007 concerts at London's Royal Festival Hall, and in January 2008 at Sydney's State Theatre while headlining the Sydney Festival.
    More Details Hide Details Wilson described the piece as " consisting of five 'rounds', with interspersed spoken word." A series of US and UK concerts preceded its release.
  • 2006
    To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pet Sounds, Wilson embarked on a brief tour in November 2006.
    More Details Hide Details Beach Boy Al Jardine accompanied Wilson for the tour.
  • 2005
    He appeared in the 2005 holiday episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, performing "Deck the Halls" for children with xeroderma pigmentosum (hypersensitivity to sunlight) at Walt Disney World Resort.
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    In December 2005, Wilson released What I Really Want for Christmas for Arista Records.
    More Details Hide Details The release hit number 200 on the Billboard chart, though sales were modest. Wilson's remake of the classic "Deck the Halls" became a surprise Top 10 Adult Contemporary hit.
    In November 2005, former bandmate Mike Love sued Wilson over "shamelessly misappropriating...
    More Details Hide Details Love's songs, likeness, and the Beach Boys trademark, as well as the 'Smile' album itself" in the promotion of Smile. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed on grounds that it was meritless.
    In September 2005, Wilson arranged a charity drive to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina, wherein people who donated $100 or more would receive a personal phone call from Wilson.
    More Details Hide Details According to the website, over $250K was raised.
    On July 2, 2005, Wilson performed for the Live 8 concert in Berlin, Germany.
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    On June 26, 2005, Wilson performed at Glastonbury Festival in England to critical success.
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    In February 2005, Wilson had a cameo in the television series Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century as Daffy Duck's spiritual surfing adviser.
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    At the 47th Grammy Awards in 2005, Wilson won his first Grammy for the track "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" as Best Rock Instrumental.
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  • 2004
    In 2004, Wilson promoted Brian Wilson Presents Smile with a tour of Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
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    Following the tour, Brian Wilson Presents Smile was recorded, and released in September 2004.
    More Details Hide Details The release hit number 13 on the Billboard chart.
    Wilson debuted his 2004 interpretation of Smile at the Royal Festival Hall in London and subsequently toured the UK.
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    His work was finally revealed in concert on February 20, 2004, 37 years after it was conceived, though he later stated that the finished product was substantially different from what was originally envisioned.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1998
    Wilson's third solo album Gettin' In Over My Head (2004) featured collaborations with Elton John, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and brother Carl, who died of lung cancer in February 1998.
    More Details Hide Details With his mental health on the mend, Wilson decided to revisit the aborted Smile project from 1967. Aided by musician and longtime fan Darian Sahanaja of Wondermints, and lyricist Van Dyke Parks, Wilson reimagined the session material into something that would work in a live context.
    In 1998, he teamed with Chicago-based producer Joe Thomas for the album Imagination.
    More Details Hide Details Following this, he received extensive vocal coaching to improve his voice, learned to cope with his stage fright, and started to consistently perform live for the first time in decades. This resulted in Wilson successfully performing the entire Pet Sounds album live throughout the US, UK and Europe. In 1999, Wilson filed a suit against Thomas, seeking damages and a declaration which freed him to work on his next album without involvement from Thomas. The suit was made after Thomas allegedly began to raise his industry profile and wrongfully enrich himself through his association with Wilson. Thomas reciprocated with a suit citing that Melinda Wilson "schemed against and manipulated" him and Wilson. The case was settled out of court.
  • 1996
    All projects collapsed, and instead, Wilson was involved with the 1996 Beach Boys album Stars and Stripes Vol. 1: a group collaboration, backing country music artists singing lead vocals of Beach Boys' standards.
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  • 1995
    In 1995, Wilson married Melinda Kae Ledbetter, a car saleswoman and former model whom he met in 1986. The couple dated for three years before Eugene Landy put an end to their relationship. The couple reconnected in 1992 and married in 1995.
    More Details Hide Details As of 1999, Melinda was also acting as Brian's manager, a job which she said is "basically negotiating, and that's what I did every single day when I sold cars." In 1999, when asked if he was a religious man, Wilson responded: "I believe in Phil Spector," later clarifying that while he had spiritual beliefs, he did not follow any particular religion, also adding that he believed "music is God's voice". Wilson experiences auditory hallucinations and has been formally diagnosed as mildly manic-depressive with schizoaffective disorder that presents itself in the form of disembodied voices. According to him, he began having hallucinations in 1965, shortly after experimenting with psychedelic drugs. In recent years, Wilson's mental condition has improved, although he still has auditory hallucinations from time to time. His relationship with his wife and his new regimen of psychiatric care have allowed him to resume his career as a musician. In 1984, Wilson had been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, with doctors finding evidence of brain damage caused by excessive and sustained drug abuse. The paranoid schizophrenic diagnosis, originally made by Landy, was later retracted.
    Wilson released two albums simultaneously in 1995.
    More Details Hide Details The first was the soundtrack to Don Was's documentary I Just Wasn't Made for These Times, which consisted of new versions of several Beach Boys and solo songs. The second, Orange Crate Art, saw Wilson as lead vocalist on an album produced, arranged and written by Van Dyke Parks. I Just Wasn't Made for These Times includes Wilson performing for the first time with his now-adult daughters, Wendy and Carnie of the group Wilson Phillips and Van Dyke Parks. During the early 1990s, he also worked on some tracks with power pop band Jellyfish, which remain unreleased. Roger Manning has recounted an anecdote during these sessions involving Wilson falling asleep at the piano yet continuing to play. Later in the decade, Wilson and his daughters Carnie and Wendy would release an album together, titled The Wilsons (1997). Also, around this time, Wilson sang backup on Belinda Carlisle's "California".
  • 1992
    In 1992, for an unrelated court case, Wilson testified that he had never read the book.
    More Details Hide Details Landy's illegal use of psychotropic drugs on Brian, and his influence over Brian's financial affairs was legally ended by Carl Wilson and other members of the Wilson family after a two-year-long conservatorship battle in Los Angeles. Landy's misconduct led to the loss of his California psychology license, as well as a court-ordered removal and restraining order from Brian.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1989
    In order to dispel these claims, Landy separated from Wilson in 1989 to prove that Brian could function independently.
    More Details Hide Details However, they remained supposed business partners. Brian's proposed second solo album under the direction of Landy, titled Sweet Insanity, was rejected by Sire in 1990. In 1990 came a faux memoir, Wouldn't It Be Nice: My Own Story, published in 1991. In the book, whose authorship is still debated, Brian spoke about his troubled relationship with his abusive father Murry, his private disputes with the Beach Boys and his lost years of mental illness.
  • 1988
    His honors include being inducted into the 1988 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and winning Grammy Awards for Brian Wilson Presents Smile (2004) and The Smile Sessions (2011).
    More Details Hide Details In lists published by Rolling Stone, Wilson ranked 52 for the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" in 2008 and 12 for the "100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time" in 2015. In 2012, music publication NME ranked Wilson number 8 in its "50 Greatest Producers Ever" list, elaborating "few consider quite how groundbreaking Brian Wilson's studio techniques were in the mid-60s." He is an occasional actor and voice actor, having appeared in television shows, films, and other artists' music videos. His life was portrayed in the 2014 biopic Love & Mercy, which received a wide release in 2015.
  • 1985
    Coupled with long, extreme counseling sessions, this therapy was successful in bringing Brian back to physical health, slimming down from to. As Brian's recovery consolidated, he rejoined the Beach Boys for Live Aid in 1985 and participated in the recording of the Steve Levine-produced album The Beach Boys.
    More Details Hide Details Brian stopped working with the Beach Boys on a regular basis after the release of the album, largely due to the control that Landy exercised. Eventually, Landy's therapy technique created a Svengali-like environment for Brian, controlling every movement in his life, including his musical direction. In the mid 1980s, Landy stated, "I influence all of Brian's thinking. I'm practically a member of the band... We're partners in life." Brian later responded to allegations with, "People say that Dr. Landy runs my life, but the truth is, I'm in charge." Between 1983 and 1986, Landy charged about $430,000 annually. When he requested more money, Carl Wilson was obliged to give away a quarter of Brian's publishing royalties. Brian thereafter signed to a solo record deal with Sire Records label boss Seymour Stein and variously worked with Andy Paley, Russ Titelman and Landy's girlfriend as co-authors on the new material. Old friend and collaborator Gary Usher was a key participant in the early demo work for the album, though Landy later removed him from the project. After several years of genesis, Brian released his debut solo album Brian Wilson. It is arguable that this work was hampered by Landy's influence, since Landy insisted on controlling involvement in every aspect of Wilson's writing and recording and his lyrical influence is significant.
  • 1982
    According to Carolyn Williams, Brian refused to see Landy: "They told him that the only way that he could be a Beach Boy again, and the only way they would release his 1982 tour disbursement money, was if he would agree to see Dr. Landy.
    More Details Hide Details Brian started yelling that he didn't like Dr. Landy and that Landy was charging him $20,000 a month the last time. He was willing to see anybody to get the weight off, but he didn't want to see Landy. And they said, 'Well, no, you have to see Dr. Landy. That's the only way.'" Landy described the program that he accorded Brian in The Handbook of Innovative Psychotherapies:
    Brian overdosed on a combination of alcohol, cocaine, and other psychoactive drugs. Landy was once more employed, and a more radical program was undertaken to try to restore Brian to health. This involved removing him from the Beach Boys on November 5, 1982 at the behest of Carl Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine, in addition to isolating him from his family and friends in Hawaii, and putting him on a rigorous diet and health regimen.
    More Details Hide Details
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1976
    Brian was under Landy's care for fourteen months until December 1976, when the therapist was dismissed for a dispute on his monthly fee.
    More Details Hide Details Throughout the next several years, Brian vacillated between periods of relative stability and resurgences of his food and drug addictions. He repeatedly checked in and out of hospitals, and continued behaving erratically, plagued by incessant mood swings. At one point, he wandered off alone for several days and was sighted at a gay bar playing piano for drinks; living as a vagrant in Balboa Park, San Diego until officers took him to Alvarado Hospital for alcohol poisoning. Brian's role in the band, as well as the Beach Boys' commercial prospects, began to diminish once more. By 1982, Brian was immersed in debt, owing the government tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes.
  • 1975
    Though still under contract to Warner Brothers, Wilson signed a sideline production deal with Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher's Equinox Records in early 1975.
    More Details Hide Details Together, they founded the loose-knit supergroup known as California Music, which involved them along with L.A. musicians Gary Usher, Curt Boettcher, and a few others. This contract was nullified by the Beach Boys' management, who perceived it as an attempt by Wilson to relieve the burden of his growing drug expenses, and it was demanded that Wilson focus his efforts on the Beach Boys, even though he strongly desired to escape from the group. The idea of California Music immediately disintegrated. You couldn't stop him. To him, he was the star of the story... He was full of himself... He did so many other things that you thought the whole thing might have been a scam. However, one way to keep a person from taking drugs is having a guard there to keep him from taking drugs.
  • 1974
    Sometime in 1974, Wilson interrupted a set by jazz musician Larry Coryell at The Troubadour by leaping onto stage and singing "Be-Bop-A-Lula", again wearing slippers and a bathrobe.
    More Details Hide Details During summer 1974, the Capitol Records-era greatest hits compilation Endless Summer reached number 1 on the Billboard charts, reaffirming the relevance of the Beach Boys in the popular imagination. However, recording sessions for a new album under the supervision of Wilson and James William Guercio at Caribou Ranch and the band's studio in Santa Monica that autumn yielded only a smattering of basic tracks, including a banjo-driven arrangement of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"; "It's O.K.", an uptempo collaboration with Mike Love; the ballad "Good Timin'"; and Dennis Wilson's "River Song". Eventually, Wilson diverted his attentions to "Child of Winter", a Christmas single co-written with Stephen Kalinich; released belatedly for the holiday market on December 23, it failed to chart.
    Jimmy Webb reported Wilson's presence at an August 2, 1974 session for Nilsson's "Salmon Falls"; he kept in the back of the studio playing "Da Doo Ron Ron" haphazardly on a B3 organ.
    More Details Hide Details Later that month, he was photographed at Moon's 28th birthday party (held on August 28 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel) wearing only his bathrobe.
  • 1973
    Wilson spent a great deal of the two years following his father's June 1973 death secluded in the chauffeur's quarters of his home; sleeping, abusing alcohol, taking drugs (including heroin), overeating, and exhibiting self-destructive behavior.
    More Details Hide Details He attempted to drive his vehicle off a cliff, and at another time, demanded that he be pushed into and buried in a grave he had dug in his backyard. During this period, his voice deteriorated significantly as a result of his mass consumption of cocaine and incessant chain smoking. Previously, Wilson claimed that he was preoccupied with "doing drugs and hanging out with Danny Hutton" during the mid-1970s. John Sebastian often showed up at Wilson's Bel-Air home "to jam", and recollected: "It wasn't all grimness." Although increasingly reclusive during the day, Wilson spent many nights fraternizing with Hollywood Vampire colleagues such as Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop, who were mutually bemused by an extended, rebellious Wilson-led singalong of the folk song "Shortnin' Bread" at Hutton's house and related areas; other visitors of Hutton's home included Vampires Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and Keith Moon. Micky Dolenz recalls taking LSD with Wilson, Lennon, and Nilsson, where Wilson "played just one note on a piano over and over again". On several occasions, Marilyn Wilson sent her friends to climb Hutton's fence and retrieve her husband.
    In 1973, Jan Berry (under the alias JAN) released the single "Don't You Just Know It", a duet featuring Wilson.
    More Details Hide Details It messed up my mind, and it unplugged me from music. I just remember reading magazines. I would say, "Get me a Playboy!
  • 1972
    According to Dan Peek of America, Wilson "held court like a Mad King as friend Danny Hutton scurried about like his court jester" during the ascendant band's engagement at the Whisky a Go Go in February 1972 Concurrently, he contributed to three out of eight songs on Beach Boys' Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" (1972).
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  • 1971
    When the album itself was rejected by Reprise, the song "Sail On, Sailor"—a collaboration with Van Dyke Parks dating from 1971 that had grown to encompass additional lyrical contributions solicited by Wilson at parties hosted by Hutton—was inserted at the instigation of Parks and released as the lead single.
    More Details Hide Details It promptly garnered a considerable amount of FM radio play, became a minor chart hit, and entered the band's live sets as a concert staple.
    In late 1971 and early 1972, he worked on an album for the American Spring, titled Spring, a new collaboration between erstwhile Honeys Marilyn Wilson and Diane Rovell.
    More Details Hide Details He was closely involved in the home-based recordings with co-producer David Sandler and engineer Stephen Desper, and did significant work on more than half of the tracks. As with much of his work in the era, his contributions "ebbed and flowed."
    While working at the Radiant Radish, Wilson met journalist and radio presenter Jack Rieley, who would manage the Beach Boys and act as Wilson's principal lyricist for the next few years. Wilson played and sang on much of the 1971 Surf's Up album—the band's highest American album chart placement (#29) since 1967—and wrote or co-wrote four of the album's ten songs, including the title track.
    More Details Hide Details However, only one fully formed original song from Wilson emerged during the album's nominal recording sessions, the dirge-like "A Day in the Life of a Tree". According to engineer Stephen Desper, the cumulatively deleterious effects of Wilson's cocaine and tobacco use began to affect his vocal register in earnest during the Surf's Up sessions.
    The store closed in 1971 due to unprofitable produce expenditures and Wilson's general lack of business acumen.
    More Details Hide Details Reports from this era detailed Wilson as "increasingly withdrawn, brooding, hermitic... and occasionally, he is to be seen in the back of some limousine, cruising around Hollywood, bleary and unshaven, huddled way tight into himself." This notion was contested by lyricist Stanley Shapiro. Nevertheless, Wilson's reputation suffered as a result of his purported eccentricities, and he quickly became known as a commercial has-been which record labels feared. When Shapiro persuaded Wilson to rewrite and rerecord a number of Beach Boys songs in order to reclaim his legacy, he contacted fellow songwriter Tandyn Almer for support. The trio then spent a month reworking cuts from the Beach Boys' Friends album. As Shapiro handed demo tapes to A&M Records executives, they found the product favorable before they learned of Wilson and Almer's involvement, and proceeded to veto the idea. Wilson commented in 1976:
  • 1969
    Sometime in 1969, Wilson opened a short-lived health food store called The Radiant Radish.
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    Although Murry Wilson's sale of the Sea of Tunes publishing company (including the majority of Wilson's oeuvre) to A&M Records' publishing division for $700,000 at the band's commercial nadir in 1969 renewed the longstanding animus between father and son, the younger Wilson stood in for Mike Love during a 1970 Northwest tour when Love was convalescing from illness.
    More Details Hide Details He also resumed writing and recording with the Beach Boys at a brisk pace; seven of the twelve new songs on the 1970 album Sunflower were either written or co-written by Wilson. Nevertheless, the album was a commercial failure in the US, peaking at number 151 during a four-week Billboard chart stay in October 1970. Following the termination of the Capitol contract in 1969, the band's new contract with then-au courant Reprise Records (brokered by Van Dyke Parks, employed as a multimedia executive at the company at the time) stipulated Brian Wilson's proactive involvement with the band in all albums, a factor that would become hugely problematic for the band in the years to come. box And we went places. Brian and I used to get into his Mercedes and drive over to the Radiant Radish, or we'd go to Redondo Beach and hang out with his high school pals, or go look for Carol Mountain.
  • OTHER
  • 1968
    The album's lead track, the Wilson/Love-authored "Do It Again", was an unabashed throwback to the band's earlier surf hits, and had been an international hit in the summer of 1968, reaching number 20 in the US charts and number 1 in the UK and Australia while also scoring well in other countries.
    More Details Hide Details During this phase, Wilson also collaborated with his father (credited under the pseudonym of Reggie Dunbar) on "Break Away", the band's final single for Capitol Records under their original contract; although relatively unsuccessful in the US (peaking at number 63 in Billboard), the song reached number 6 on the British singles chart. At a press conference ostensibly convened to promote "Break Away" to the European media shortly thereafter, Wilson intimated that "We owe everyone money. And if we don't pick ourselves off our backsides and have a hit record soon, we will be in worse trouble... I've always said, 'Be honest with your fans.' I don't see why I should lie and say that everything is rosy when it's not." These incendiary remarks ultimately thwarted long-simmering contract negotiations with Deutsche Grammophon.
    Still psychologically overwhelmed by the cancellation of Smile and the imminent birth of his first child Carnie Wilson in 1968 amid the looming financial insolvency of the Beach Boys, Wilson's creative directorship within the band became increasingly tenuous; additionally, cocaine had begun to supplement Wilson's regular use of amphetamines, marijuana, and psychedelics.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly after abandoning an intricate version of Kern and Hammerstein's "Ol' Man River" at the instigation of Mike Love, Wilson entered a psychiatric hospital for a brief period of time. Biographer Peter Ames Carlin has speculated that Wilson had self-admitted and may have been administered a number of treatments ranging from talking therapies to stiff doses of Lithium and electroconvulsive therapy during this stay. In his absence, 1969's 20/20 consisted substantially of key Smile outtakes ("Cabinessence" and "Our Prayer") along with the long-germinating "Time to Get Alone".
  • 1967
    Throughout mid-to-late 1967, Wilson oversaw the production of only a few heavily orchestrated songs holding continuity with his Pet Sounds and Smile work, such as "Can't Wait Too Long" and "Time to Get Alone".
    More Details Hide Details Wilson's interest in the Beach Boys began to wane. Carl explained: "When we did Wild Honey, Brian asked me to get more involved in the recording end. He wanted a break. He was tired. He had been doing it all too long."
    Originally scheduled for release in January 1967, the release date was continually pushed back until press officer Derek Taylor announced its cancellation in May 1967.
    More Details Hide Details I was trying so hard. So, all of a sudden I decided not to try any more, and not try and do such great things, such big musical things. And we had so much fun. The Smiley Smile era was so great, it was unbelievable. Personally, spiritually, everything, it was great. Following the cancellation of Smile, the Beach Boys relocated to a studio situated in the living room of Brian Wilson's new mansion in Bel Air (once the home of Edgar Rice Burroughs), where the band would primarily record until 1972. This has been perceived by some commentators as "the moment when the Beach Boys first started slipping from the vanguard to nostalgia."
  • 1966
    Having been introduced to Van Dyke Parks at a garden party at Terry Melcher's home, Wilson liked Parks' "visionary eloquence" and began work with him in the fall of 1966.
    More Details Hide Details After Wilson famously installed a sandbox in his living room, the pair collaborated closely on several Smile tracks. Soon, however, conflict within the group and Wilson's own growing personal problems threw the project into terminal disarray.
    Wilson even toyed with the idea by releasing "Caroline, No" as a solo single in March 1966, it reaching number 32 on the Billboard charts.
    More Details Hide Details During the Pet Sounds sessions, Wilson had been working on another song, which was held back from inclusion on the record as he felt that it was not sufficiently complete. The song "Good Vibrations" set a new standard for musicians and for what could be achieved in the recording studio. Recorded in multiple sessions and in numerous studios, the song eventually cost $50,000 to record within a six-month period. In October 1966, it was released as a single, giving the Beach Boys their third US number-one hit after "I Get Around" and "Help Me, Rhonda". It sold over a million copies. Sometime after Pet Sounds was released, the Beatles' press agent Derek Taylor started working as a publicist for the Beach Boys. He gradually became aware of Wilson's reputation as a "genius" among musician friends, a belief that wasn't widely held at the time. Motivated by Brian's musical merits, Taylor responded with a campaign that would reestablish the band's outdated surfing image, and was the first to tout Brian as a "genius". According to Van Dyke Parks, this was "much to Brian's embarrassment".
  • 1965
    Upon hearing what Wilson had created for the first time in 1965, the group, particularly Mike Love, was somewhat critical of their leader's music, and expressed their dissatisfaction.
    More Details Hide Details At this time, Wilson still had considerable control within the group and, according to Wilson, they eventually overcame their initial negative reaction, as his newly created music began to near completion. The album was released May 16, 1966, and, despite modest sales figures at the time, has since become widely critically acclaimed, often being cited among the all-time greatest albums. Although the record was issued under the group's name, Pet Sounds is arguably seen as a Brian Wilson solo album.
    In late 1965, Wilson began working on material for a new project, Pet Sounds.
    More Details Hide Details He formed a temporary songwriting partnership with lyricist Tony Asher, who was suggested to Wilson by mutual friend Daro. Wilson, who had recorded the album's instrumentation with The Wrecking Crew, then assembled the Beach Boys to record vocal overdubs, following their return from a tour of Japan.
    It was during that December that Wilson was introduced to cannabis hesitantly by his friend Lorren Daro (formerly Loren Schwartz), an assistant at the William Morris Agency. Attracted by the drug's ability to alleviate stress and inspire creativity, Wilson completed the Beach Boys' forthcoming Today! album by late January 1965 and quickly began work on their next, Summer Days.
    More Details Hide Details Sometime in April, Wilson experienced his first acid trip, which had a profound effect on his musical and spiritual conceptions. Again, Daro was hesitant to provide drugs to Wilson, which he did not feel he was ready for, but has recounted that his dosage was "one hundred and twenty-five mics of pure Owsley," and that "he had the full-on ego death. It was a beautiful thing." The music for "California Girls" came from this first LSD experience, a composition which would later be released as a #3 charting single. Wilson continued experimenting with psychotropics for the next few years, sometimes even during recording sessions. He became fixated on psychedelia, claiming to have coined a slang, "psychedelicate," and foreseeing that "psychedelic music will cover the face of the world and color the whole popular music scene." A week after his first LSD trip, Wilson began suffering from auditory hallucinations, which have persisted throughout his life.
  • 1964
    From late 1964 to 1979, Wilson was married to Marilyn Rovell, with whom he had daughters Carnie and Wendy, who went on to musical success of their own in the early 1990s as two-thirds of Wilson Phillips.
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    The Beach Boys' rigorous performing schedule increasingly burdened Wilson, and following a panic attack on board a flight from L.A. to Houston on December 23, 1964, he stopped performing live with the group in an effort to concentrate solely on songwriting and studio production.
    More Details Hide Details Wilson explained in 1971: "I felt I had no choice. I was run down mentally and emotionally because I was running around, jumping on jets from one city to another on one-night stands, also producing, writing, arranging, singing, planning, teaching—to the point where I had no peace of mind and no chance to actually sit down and think or even rest." Glen Campbell was called in as his temporary stand-in for live performances, before Bruce Johnston replaced him. As thanks, Wilson "rewarded" Campbell by producing him with the single "Guess I'm Dumb". box I took LSD, a full dose of LSD, and later, another time, I took a smaller dose. And I learned a lot of things, like patience, understanding. I can't teach you, or tell you what I learned from taking it.
  • 1963
    For much of the decade, Brian attempted to establish himself as a record producer by working with various artists. On July 20, 1963, "Surf City", which he co-wrote with Jan Berry of Jan and Dean, was his first composition to reach the top of the US charts.
    More Details Hide Details The resulting success pleased Brian, but angered both Murry and Capitol Records. Murry went so far as to order his oldest son to sever any future collaborations with Jan and Dean. Brian's other non-Beach Boy work in this period included tracks by The Castells, Donna Loren, Sharon Marie, the Timers, and the Survivors. The most notable group to which Wilson would attach himself in this era would be The Honeys, which Wilson intended as the female counterpart to the Beach Boys, and as an attempt to compete with Phil Spector-led girl groups such as The Crystals and The Ronettes. He continued juggling between recording with the Beach Boys and producing records for other artists, but with less success at the latter—except for Jan and Dean.
  • 1962
    Looking for a follow-up single for their radio hit, Wilson and Mike Love wrote "Surfin' Safari", and attempts were made to record a usable take at World Pacific, including overdubs, on February 8, 1962, along with several other tunes including an early version of "Surfer Girl".
    More Details Hide Details Only a few days later, discouraged about the band's financial prospects, and objecting to adding some Chubby Checker songs to the Beach Boys live setlist, Al Jardine abruptly left the group, but rejoined shortly thereafter. When Candix Records ran into money problems and sold the Beach Boys' master recordings to another label, Murry Wilson terminated the contract. As "Surfin'" faded from the charts, Brian, who had forged a songwriting partnership with Gary Usher, created several new songs, including a car song, "409", that Usher helped them write. Brian and the Beach Boys cut new tracks at Western Recorders including an updated "Surfin' Safari" and "409". These songs convinced Capitol Records to release the demos as a single; they became a double-sided national hit. Recording sessions for the band's first album took place in Capitol's basement studios in the famous tower building in August 1962, but early on Brian lobbied for a different place to cut Beach Boy tracks. The large rooms were built to record the big orchestras and ensembles of the 1950s, not small rock groups. At Brian's insistence, Capitol agreed to let the Beach Boys pay for their own outside recording sessions, to which Capitol would own all the rights, and in return the band would receive a higher royalty rate on their record sales. Additionally, during the taping of their first LP Brian fought for, and won, the right to be in charge of the production – though this fact was not acknowledged with an album liner notes production credit.
  • 1961
    Wilson and his bandmates, following a set by Ike & Tina Turner, performed their first major live show at the Ritchie Valens Memorial Dance on New Year's Eve, 1961.
    More Details Hide Details Three days previously, Wilson's father had bought him an electric bass and amplifier. Wilson had learned to play the instrument in that short period of time, with Al Jardine moving to rhythm guitar. On stage, Wilson provided many of the lead vocals, and often harmonized with the group in falsetto.
    Over Labor Day weekend 1961, Brian took advantage of the fact that his parents were in Mexico City for several days, and the boys used the emergency money his parents had left to rent an amplifier, a microphone, and a stand-up bass for Jardine to play.
    More Details Hide Details After the boys rehearsed for two days in the Wilsons' music room, his parents returned home from their trip. Eventually impressed, Murry Wilson proclaimed himself the group's manager and the band embarked on serious rehearsals for a proper studio session. Recorded by Hite and Dorinda Morgan and released on the small Candix Records label, "Surfin'" became a top local hit in Los Angeles and reached number seventy-five on the national Billboard sales charts. Dennis later described the first time that his older brother heard their song on the radio, as the three Wilson brothers and David Marks drove in Wilson's 1957 Ford in the rain: "Nothing will ever top the expression on Brian's face, ever... that was the all-time moment." However, the Pendletones were no more. Without the band's knowledge or permission, Candix Records had changed their name to the Beach Boys.
    Wilson, his brothers Carl and Dennis, Mike Love and Al Jardine first appeared as a music group in the summer of 1961, initially under the name The Pendletones.
    More Details Hide Details After being prodded by Dennis to write a song about the local water-sports craze, Wilson and Mike Love together created what became the first single for the band, "Surfin'".
    At some point in 1961 he wrote his first all-original melody, loosely based on a Dion and the Belmonts version of "When You Wish Upon a Star".
    More Details Hide Details The song was eventually known as "Surfer Girl". Though an early demo of the song was recorded in February 1962 at World-Pacific Studios, it was not re-recorded and released until 1963, when it became a top-ten hit.
  • 1960
    Wilson enrolled at El Camino College in Los Angeles, majoring in psychology, in September 1960.
    More Details Hide Details He continued his music studies at the college as well.
  • 1942
    Brian Douglas Wilson was born on June 20, 1942, at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, California, the son of Audree Neva (née Korthof) and Murry Wilson.
    More Details Hide Details He was the eldest of three boys; his younger brothers were Dennis and Carl. He has English, Swedish, Dutch, German, and Irish ancestry. When Brian was two, the family moved from Inglewood to 3701 West 119th Street in nearby Hawthorne, California. Speaking of Brian's unusual musical abilities prior to his first birthday, his father said that, as a baby, he could repeat the melody from "When the Caissons Go Rolling Along" after only a few verses had been sung by the father. Murry Wilson said, "He was very clever and quick. I just fell in love with him." At about age two, Brian heard George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, which had an enormous emotional impact on him. A few years later, he was discovered to have diminished hearing in his right ear. The exact cause of this hearing loss is unclear, though theories range from him simply being born partially deaf to a blow to the head from his father, or a neighborhood bully, being to blame.
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