|Fun, Fun, Fun
||[Jun. 27th, 2005|09:33 am]
BBC3 has been relaying concerts from the Glastonbury festival. Last night they gave us Brian Wilson's gig. Yes, you heard right- Brian Wilson. The Beach Boys' mentally fragile, drug addled infant genius was up on stage with a great backing band belting out the classics. He's in his 60s, paunchy and had to do most of the set sitting down; his voice is weak, he can't reach the high notes but-wotthehell- this is only slightly less sensational than the raising of Lazarus. |
Michael Moorcock says of the Beatles that they're "the poets of paradise"- well so they are- but so are the Beach Boys. Fun, Fun Fun, Barbara Ann, Good Vibrations- these are the happiest, most beatific songs of any generation.
Wilson has had severe mental health problems. His performance has to be seen in context. Yeah, he was doing the minimum and his excellent backing band were carrying him- but it's a miracle he was there at all.
And the songs are fabulous.
It brought tears to my eyes.
Well, it does make a difference when you understand that, and I agree that it was great to see such sunny songs getting an outing at Glastonbury anyway. It certainly seems a very appropriate setting for hearing them.
Those songs are 40 years old and they still sound fresh.
The Beach Boys had a style all of their own. There is and was nobody like them.
And his mental health problems affected everything else. HIs songs are amazing...I saw a documentary with and about him, a few years ago. He had a very sad life, even though he was famous. His father abused him (mentally). His brother Dennis drowned, and his brother Carl died recently. He talked about coming home from school and writing his songs (the man doesn't read music...) and then writing the harmony. If you listen to Beach Boys music - the REAL stuff, I mean--the harmony is what gets you. It's AMAZING.
Brian was always easily 'led', and fell in with some pretty unsavory characters. But he finally managed to shake himself off, and the music he writes and records and sings, now, is...well, it is amazing. I know, I said that already.
His two daughters are in 'the business' and I believe Carney has toured with him.
Paunchy. He at one time weighed nearly 400 pounds,
I admire Brian Wilson. I think he is a genius...and he has paid some pretty heavy dues!
I haven't heard any of Wilson's recent stuff. Do you have any recommendations?
But I do have the recently released Smile. It's wonderful that that "lost" record has finally been completed and issued.
Smile is on my list, and Pet Sounds is great (that's an old one)
Orange Crate Art (is a collaboration between Van Dyke Parks and Brian Wilson) is gorgeous.
Brian Wilson (the remastered version, originally recorded in 1988) is dynamite. And so is "I Just Wasn't Made for these Times".
I find it hard to choose. The Beach Boys were part of my 'growing up' soundtrack, one of the very best concerts I ever attended was the Beach Boys (though without Brian, he was in the throes of his depression, then...) and I remember dancing with my friend Colleen at that concert. But without the driving force of Brian, they somehow lost a lot of their...oomph, originality, something. When you go back and listen to Brian alone, or the wonderful "Smile" you get it...it wasn't all surf and sand and sun.
The interview I mentioned earlier...they asked him about Dennis (this was before Carl died) and he got tears in his eyes. "Yeah, maybe we didn't get along, but he was my brother..."
Thanks for those suggestions.
I think Good Vibrations is the greatest single ever released.
The only possible contender is Hey Jude.