Category Archives: Beach Boys

Book Review: “I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir”

I really should learn to be more disciplined in my reading. It really doesn’t set me up to write good reviews when I have to spend an entire Saturday reading the second half of a book. It’s usually not the author’s fault. Nothing wrong with the book itself. I just have a bad habit of procrastinating. But I digress…

I pre-ordered I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir months ago when I heard about it’s release. After all my other various reviews of Beach Boys books, movies, documentaries and concerts over the past year, this was a must read for me.

I must start out by saying that having seen the movie ‘Love and Mercy‘ really set this book  up for me. I think the movie and this book go hand in hand in explaining the life and mind of founding Beach Boys member, Brian Wilson. In fact, the book is going to fill in a lot of the blanks that the movie left out, including Brian’s first wife, Marilyn, and their two daughters Wendy and Carnie.

One interesting factor in the book is the infamous plane flight to Houston. The movie Love & Mercy opens with the scene of the Beach Boys getting on that flight and Brian having a full blown panic attack almost immediately after take off. This obviously painful memory is brought up over and over throughout the book. It was the turning point in Brian’s life that led to his depression, use of drugs and unfortunate ten years of being held mentally and physically hostage by Dr. Landry. The plane flight would shape Brian’s entire future.

Brian, in his child-like manner, does his best to explain his difficult and tumultuous relationship with his abusive father, but I’m not sure that he ever really gets to the bottom of it. He explains early on in his writing that to talk about his dad, he has to revisit a very painful time in his life. A situation that he really doesn’t want to think about or analyze anymore. He does his best when he does bring up his father, Murry Wilson, to be fair in his assessment.

And for the Beatles connection: Brian gives major props to George Martin and does hope to someday write a song with Paul McCartney.

To truly understand this book, be sure to see Love & Mercy. It’ll explain the child-like way that this book is written. It’s not deep…but one has to believe it was cathartic for Brian to write. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

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Movie Review: Brian Wilson – Songwriter: 1969-1982

Here’s another shameless plug for the 30 day free Amazon Prime trial subscription.  When I went to cancel before my month was up, then informed me that I could continue to use the free benefits until my 30 days was over!  So…I watch another free movie.

Brian Wilson – Songwriter: 1969-1982 was a hell of a lot better than I had expected.  This documentary was a great way to fill in the blanks that were left from watching “Love & Mercy“.  As I said in my review, Love & Mercy was an excellent film, but you really had to know exactly what was going on with Brian in the 1960’s thru 1980’s to understand the movie completely.  This film is going to give you those missing links.

And for that reason…

 

I rate this movie, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

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Note: And keep an eye out for May Pang’s book, Loving John, on Peter Ames Carlin’s bookshelf!

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Concert Review: Brian Wilson at the Tropicana, Atlantic City 10/24/2015

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Continuing with on my Beach Boys kick….Last night, my husband Craig and I had the great pleasure of seeing former Beach Boy Brian Wilson in concert in Atlantic City, NJ. This is one of the geniuses of the rock world that I’m glad I got to see before it was too late.

How could I say anything bad about this show when Brian opened the show with my favorite Beach Boys’ song, Heroes and Villains. And there I was, wondering if they’d even play it. I actually remember where I was the very first time I heard that song in the mid 80s! (intersection of Rt. 401 and Phoenixville Pike in Malvern, PA. I called the radio station when I got home to find out the name of the song and who sung it. The DJ told me the wrong song, despite my objections, so it took me weeks to track it down.)

Anyway, I digress.

This is a must see show for anyone (notice I didn’t say Beach Boys or Beatles fans?). Even though, Brian remains seated at the piano throughout the show, managing to do only some hand-dancing during several songs, the sound and the rest of the band make this a great show that had the fans dancing in the aisles. Al Jardine is in top form, and his son Matt Jardine sings lead on several songs, letting us all know he has followed well in his father’s sandy footsteps. The only part of the show I could have done without was Blondie Chaplin’s stage antics as he ran about the stage as if he was at a Stones show. But hey, if the rest of the band could tolerate it, who am I to criticize.

Check out Brian Wilson‘s website for the cities and dates on the rest of his tour. You’ll be glad you did! And for that reason…

I rate this concert: 4 out of 4 Beetles!

***After thoughts: I decided to add a little bit more to this review after someone commented on the video from last night’s show of “Heroes and Villains” that I posted on Facebook. Brian’s voice is not at it’s best, but the man has been through a lot in his 73 years on this planet and still suffers the effects of years of dealing with his own health issues. If you want an explanation of his issues, watch the movie “Love & Mercy“. At the same time, Paul McCartney isn’t at his vocal best anymore and after seeing him three times in the past 25 years, I’ve decided not to see him live anymore. I’d rather remember his shows from when Linda was still with him. This was my first (and probably last) time ever seeing Brian Wilson in concert, but I am oh-so glad that I made the trip and spent the money to be able to see a musical genius that, in my opinion, is equal to the likes of the Beatles.

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Movie Review: “Love & Mercy”

“I’ve often played Pet Sounds and cried. It’s that kind of an album for me.” – Paul McCartney

Rubber Soul inspired Pet Sounds, which inspired Sgt. Pepper’s and that inspired me to make Smile,” – Brian Wilson

Ever since watching Love & Mercy 5 days ago, I haven’t been able to stop Beach Boys songs from playing in my head. The movie has that much of an impact.

There’s no doubt that the Beach Boys were the Beatles biggest rivals (or threat). This friendly rivalry between the bands helped to created four of the greatest albums ever made as Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney were determined to out due each other with their songwriting genius.

Love & Mercy is the heartbreaking story of Brian Wilson. Brian is the oldest of the three Wilson brothers who were the foundation of the Beach Boys, along with their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. Suffering from anxiety and mental disorders from an early age, Brian became a recluse not only physically, but mentally. But it was within his own self-imposed isolated and demented world that he created Pet Sounds…an album that Rolling Stone magazine ranks as the #2 album of all time!

This is one of those times that I believe that the greatest musicians of the world were given their gift from the universe, as you watch a young Brian Wilson (played magnificently by Paul Dano) struggle with the voices and sounds in his head, and turn them into art.

Get yourself a copy of Love & Mercy…this movie is a must see for any true music fan! And for that reason…

I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

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Book Review: “Son of a Beach Boy” by Scott Wilson

Me and Scott Wilson at MANCIt’s really a shame that Son of a Beach Boy is so poorly written, because the stories within are just amazing.  This is Scott Wilson‘s story of growing up as the son of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson.  It’s his story that was adapted into this book by an acquaintance of his.  Despite it’s less than stellar writing, it’s well worth picking up to read.

I had the pleasure of meeting Scott Wilson this past weekend at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention where he was appearing and signing his book.  His friend Mitch was standing in front of my table where I was selling Beatles books.  Mitch and I started talking and next thing I know, he says, I’m here with the son of a Beach Boy.  He called Scott over, told me about his book, so I made a point to get a copy (and a picture with him…he’s really good looking!).

Scott pours his heart out in this book and at one point brought tears to my eyes when he tells of being sent away to a school in Guatemala.  I actually had to put the book down and go distract myself for a while before going to bed.  The stories are so engaging, and the book is not very long, that I was able to finish it the next morning.

Once you get past the fact that this is written on the level of a high school report, you won’t be able to put it down.  And if you ever get the chance to meet Scott, you’ll be as enamored with him as I was and still am.  And though he doesn’t mention them in this book, he does have stories of his dad hanging out with Paul McCartney.

Scott’s led a roller coaster ride of a life as the son of one of the greatest American bands that ever graced this earth and his story deserves to be heard.  I can only hope that this book falls into the right hands and a publisher take him under his wings and turns this book into the book that is deserving of such a great story.

Unfortunately, due to the writing….

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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