MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: ICONIC & IDENTITY-BUILDING ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 6: THE BEACH BOYS

Throughout the past few weeks, we’ve embarked on probably one of the most ambitious blog series yet. The past 3 years, we’ve delved into and explored the music of influential artists and artists who are on the cusp of being influential. But these 50 artists Jon and I are going to write about… are in a whole new different category. Much more clear-cut with little to no room for disagreement about the artists; the category of Identity-Building and Iconic artists; reminds us that some artists are timeless, and some artists will just be legendary even 50 years from now. We’ve written about Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, ABBA, Bon Jovi, and Keith Green; and these 5 artists thus far, are some of the most powerful, confronting, and thought-provoking artists ever to have lived. And we will continue to write about iconic heavyweights of the music industry for the many months to come. Iconic artists, to me, differ to influential artists in the sense that these artists are iconic just because. You don’t need to justify the reasons why you believe they are iconic, and you don’t have to write an essay length piece… because all of the readers virtually will agree with you anyway. And as such, the past few installments have been different from how Jon and I have been blogging in the past. Simply because we do not write about every single hit song from every single album. It’s pointless, when these musicians and singers have etched their way into legendary status and folklore long before I even thought about writing about them; and so, perhaps the way forward for my structure of these blogs could be similar to how we’ve blogged in the past about Michael W. Smith, U2 and Bryan Adams? Anyway, I’ve decided to tackle someone completely unexpected this week (and probably not ordinarily in my preferences of musical genre); and after listening and ruminating on a number of songs in their discography over the past couple of weeks- can I say that pop band The Beach Boys is one of the most successful U.S. bands of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and deserves their place in this blog series, even though they’re still not my musical preference?

Yep, I’m going there. To a period where I wasn’t even alive and to a period when my dad wasn’t even a young man yet. The period of the 60’s and 70’s was when UK band The Beatles and Aussie group The Bee Gees (more on those two groups in future blogs!) were popular; and The Beach Boys were in direct competition to them. Comprising of Brian Wilson and his siblings Carl and Dennis (both deceased), as well as their cousin Mike Love, and good friends Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston; there’s only a handful of songs that I reckon The Beach Boys are famous for- of which I will write about all of them in this blog. You can read about The Beach Boys on Wikipedia (as well as the histories and life of Brian Wilson and Mike Love, two of the lead singers of the band); and though I won’t go into any detail about the lives of these influential musicians (because Wikipedia goes into great detail where I probably don’t have time to do that!), we can all see that there is currently no love lost between Love and Wilson– and The Beach Boys have their own share of drama to the max throughout the group recording albums.

Throughout their career, the group have recorded 29 albums, 11 live albums, 61 compilation albums, 12 video albums and 24 EP’s, as well as releasing 75 singles. It’d be crazy to talk about them all, because then we’d be here until next week. But I do want to say this right off the bat- aside from the cultural significance The Beach Boys have with their contribution to the California sound… their music isn’t all that deep and meaningful. Sure, there are a few songs here and there, and you might call me ignorant at me declaring that I wasn’t terribly wowed nor awed by the group’s music. But maybe it is because they are from a couple of generations above me, and the age difference means that it’s hard for me to ‘get into’ any songs pre-the 80’s. Perhaps that is true. Perhaps I didn’t give The Beach Boys a fair enough go and a fair enough listen. Maybe I was glossing over them because of the fact that a number of their songs are around the 2-minute mark. Maybe I just don’t resonate with the California sound because I’m not a beach goer and I don’t live in America. Whatever the case, I didn’t really connect with The Beach Boys as much as I thought that I would; however objectively I do see why these guys are famous and iconic in every sense of the word. I’m going to circle back near the end of this blog when talking more about Brian Wilson, the demons he faced, and why I believe the group has been at loggerheads for all this time. I will also speak briefly about their achievements as well. But before I get into that, and also delve into a number of their biggest hits (because, let’s face it, you all came to hear my thoughts on these songs!); can I give you all the ‘dry’ facts and figures? Instead of summarising it all… can I give you some direct quotes from Wikipedia? What good is summarising something that is already there that I can correctly reference? The Beach Boys have done a lot of good for music- and even if you cannot understand and see how they are relevant and relatable now, can you grasp and understand why they might be objectively brilliant and moving and needed for society today?

The Beach Boys are one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful bands of all time, selling over 100 million records worldwide. They helped legitimize popular music as a recognized art form and influenced the development of music genres and movements such as psychedelia, power pop, progressive rock, punk, alternative, and lo-fi. Between the 1960s and 2010s, the group had 36 songs reach the US Top 40 (the most by an American band), with four topping the Billboard Hot 100. In 2004, they were ranked number 12 on Rolling Stone’s list of the greatest artists of all time. The founding members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

The Beach Boys are one of the most influential acts of the rock era. In 2017, a study of AllMusic’s catalog indicated the Beach Boys as the 6th most frequently cited artist influence in its database. For the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, 26 artists contributed to a Pitchfork retrospective on its influence, which included comments from members of Talking Heads, Yo La Tengo, Chairlift, and Deftones…In 2021, the staff of Ultimate Classic Rock ranked the Beach Boys as the top American band of all time; the publication’s editor wrote in the group’s entry that “few bands … have had a greater impact on popular music.”

In 1988, the core quintet of the Wilson brothers, Love, and Jardine were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ten years later, they were selected for the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. In 2004, Pet Sounds was preserved in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.” Their recordings of “In My Room”, “Good Vibrations”, “California Girls” and the entire Pet Sounds album have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The Beach Boys are one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful, and influential bands of all time. They have sold over 100 million records worldwide. The group’s early songs made them major pop stars in the US, the UK, Australia, and other countries, having seven top 10 singles between April 1963 and November 1964. They were one of the first American groups to exhibit the definitive traits of a self-contained rock band, playing their own instruments and writing their own songs, and they were one of the few American bands formed prior to the 1964 British Invasion to continue their success. Among artists of the 1960s, they are one of the central figures in the histories of rock. Between the 1960s and 2010s, they had 36 songs reach the US Top 40 (the most by an American group) with four topping the Billboard Hot 100; they also hold Nielsen SoundScan’s record as the top-selling American band for albums and singles.

Now… if you have read that whole slab of information that Wikipedia has given you about the awards and the accolades presented to this group over the years… then well done! That’s most impressive, because these days we all have an attention span of about a few minutes. I mean- that’s a lot of information being dumped onto you, don’t you reckon? However, if you do read this above section word for word… you’ll find just how timeless these melodies from Brian, Mike and co. actually are. With their genres including baroque pop and avant-pop, some would say that The Beach Boys is one of the most successful US bands in the 60’s and 70’s. They’re famous for that ‘beach sound’ that has permeated through many of their tracks- a sunny, jovial, joyous, and happy disposition and attitude and outlook, which now I see as a mask fronted by all of the members to mask the hatred, they felt for each other; while on the whole their singles don’t seem to be that deep. The band, I felt when listening to their songs, had an atmosphere of being a ‘fun, upper-class band’, speaking about superficial issues and fun issues about going to the beach and hanging out and having fun. To me, songs from The Beatles and The Bee Gees are more meaningful, inspiring, poignant, and impacting, and I felt that those two bands have plenty of songs that stand the test of time. But for The Beach Boys… not so much. Even a casual fan I reckon would know Beatles or Bee Gees songs, but not so for The Beach Boys. Regardless though, the group’s legacy lives on in many ways. Pop singer Colbie Caillat’s entire discography feels like beach album after beach album after beach album (even if it’s not intentional!), while rock band Switchfoot’s name came from surfing and the beach, and they themselves wrote and recorded an album about surfing as well as a documentary. Alternative folk duo She & Him recently released a Brian Wilson tribute album (which we will review soon!), while pop trio Wilson Phillips released an album called Dedicated in 2012, where they honoured their musical parents, and covered songs from The Beach Boys and The Mamas And The Papas. The influence of The Beach Boys goes well beyond their heyday of the 60’s and the 70’s, even if we’re all not that connected nor enamoured with the beach sound; and even if they don’t seem that deep, we do have a number of timeless classics and inspirational songs that have stood the test of time.

Actually, it was in the ‘80s, not the ‘60s. The ‘60s were such a struggle, and so the ‘80s were really the highlight of my career. We re-assessed The Beach Boys, I guess, internationally. We always felt like a hometown band. We didn’t see ourselves on the level of like The Beatles. Although, I guess with “Good Vibrations” we were kind of kicking in there. And with Pet Sounds. So yeah, we had respect, but it didn’t feel like it. In the mid ‘70s, we had a resurgence with an album called Endless Summer. Then we got our legs under us again.

We also got rediscovered by another generation, which is happening right now as a matter of fact. We have that same discovery going on now thanks to Sounds of Summer, for instance. That helps people recognize our accomplishments. It seems like there’s a renewal in every generation. Every ten years it feels like. Because people start listening to music when they are eight or ten years old, or even earlier. And now all of a sudden, it’s like, hey, The Beach Boys are still around?

There aren’t many harmony bands like ours left, really, in the world. We kind of set a standard and everybody else was just trying to meet that standard. But it’s very difficult and it takes a lot of hard work and great songwriting and, of course, great arranging and producing. So, you have to have all those components together at the same time. It’s pretty miraculous.

And, you know, musical styles change as well. It’s not always in vogue in that particular time. And then those other bands come and go, and then they all fall back. And then people realize how great it is to listen to great music. The Beach Boys are always there underpinning pretty much everyone. So, it’s like we’re always here.

There will be. They are working on a documentary, but we haven’t really been approached yet as to how to put it together. So, they must be — they being Iconic. Which is this big company that we’re in partnership with. They are working on something, but up to now I haven’t heard how it’s gonna be done. But yeah, there will definitely be something like that in the works. I mean, there is something like that in the works.

It’d be nice to have a reunion. I bug them about it once every couple of weeks until they are sick of hearing from me, I think. See, they have Mike Love out there. So as long as he is out there celebrating the 60th anniversary or Sounds of Summer, they don’t need the rest of us [laughs]. Isn’t that ironic? Thanks Iconic, thanks for having us on your label. It’s a little bit of a… it’s a cheat. But it works for them, it just doesn’t work for us. And let that be a little message to my partners over there. I mean, our business partners. I think they should know that. I think they know they know that, but do they know that I know that?

According to band member Al Jardine in the excerpts of the interview above with Consequence; it seems as if this hatred and feud between Brian Wilson and Mike Love has run extremely deep. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how it started or why… but it’s probably two guys being petty and digging their heels in, with both not feeling like they need to say sorry to the other person (even though they both may have been in the wrong). The result is probably one of the most dramatic falling outs in music history; however not for a second could you guess there was animosity with the songs itself. And I guess that’s the measure of a good band, don’t you think? To be able to put all of your feelings and differences and issues at the door, and then record an album acting like you’re all best friends and chummy chummy? I mean sure, The Beach Boys were probably as fake as The Civil Wars were when Joy Williams and John Paul White were having their issues. But at least we have these timeless songs… isn’t the feeling you get from a song all that matters? Well maybe not all, but a good part of it, am I right?

Probably the most recognisable and impacting song from The Beach Boys, is “Good Vibrations”. I first heard this melody as a parody ad of sorts promoting the appliance store The Good Guys… and boy, was that ad catchy. I don’t think I visited the store because of the ad. But it was on TV all the time. That song dug into my ear and stayed there- and even now when I heard The Beach Boys’ original recording, I still hear the Good Guys ad. Clever marketing, don’t you think? As for the lyrics, they’re about the persona wanting to keep the ‘good vibrations’ going with his lover (is this a sexually explicit melody?), so lyrically it’s not that deep. But it is the musical composition of “Good Vibrations” that really makes this song iconic and important in popular culture- and it was essentially the song the defined these guys and made the world stand up and take notice of their popularity. The song has also been heavily referenced in popular culture; while many other songs referencing and promoting beach culture and the California sound also remind us why The Beach Boys are incredibly iconic and inspiring to us all even today.

“California Dreamin’”, originally by The Mamas And The Papas, is a powerful, and on-the-surface thought-provoking melody whereby the vocalists passionately sing about wishing that they was at the beach during winter and that they were present in California (I know, superficial lyrics, am I right?); while “Surfin’ USA” is again another ‘beach sound’ song that isn’t anything deep, except to shamelessly promote the act of surfing, and the act of going to the beach to have a good time. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, a song I heard in many Cadbury ads way back in the day, is a catchy pop ditty that speaks about everyone living together in harmony and peace and love (an inclusive song that feels like a track meant for the hippie crowd at Woodstock!); while this melody is relevant and relatable today- because don’t we all want to live together with no hurt or pain or suffering? Similar in theme to John Lennon’s “Imagine”, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” allows us to imagine for a moment a place in the world where everyone doesn’t judge each other, and everyone loves each other for who they are. It’s a challenge for us to actively get to know our neighbours and to hang around with people that are different from us; and while this song could sound like a ‘pie in the sky blanket hope and prayer’, just to hope against hope for a ‘someday’ that may not ever occur, at the same time the real hope and prayer is that we should be able to actively make this song a reality someday- either we try very hard and succeed this side of eternity on Earth, or we try on Earth, but end up succeeding in Heaven, where we all will be living in harmony with Jesus anyway.

“Little Saint Nick”, a Christmas song that I have heard of but never attributed to Brian, Mike and co., is a fun melody where the group sing about Santa in a fun, cheerful and positive way; while “I Get Around”, though short, is still a fun classic, whereby the group passionately and earnestly relay that they would like to cruise around and drive around the street for fun. Obviously, this was a song early in the group’s career, and they’re teenagers at the time- these days, driving around for fun with no goal… would get old rather quickly. “Dance Dance Dance”, sad to say, isn’t particularly memorable either, with the group singing about dancing when they’re feeling down, sad, and unmotivated, concluding that dancing gets the spirits and the mood up (there is a message there, but it’s not a deep message!). “Help Me Rhonda”, a track where the persona wants to sleep with a girl called Rhonda to get over his heartbreak of his former girlfriend cheating on him and sleeping with another man, is a track that doesn’t have a positive message, but does speak about life and how situations can arise that can make you feel like garbage, but you have to make the best ‘lemonade’ out of the ‘lemons’ you are presented in life. “California Girls”, a profoundly dated, misogynistic, chauvinistic, and sexist melody, speaks about how the group think that ‘California girls’ are the best girls in the world (it’s certainly a song that will be frowned upon in today’s times!), while “I Can Hear Music” is a cover and one of the first songs that Brian wasn’t a part of in any way. It’s a nice simple song, but certainly not a song that I would call timeless by the way; while “Kokomo”, one of the group’s last ‘big’ singles, was an 80’s beach song that is indeed one of my favourites, and one of the songs that heavily played on the radio when I was a kid. It’s an insanely catchy song about chilling in the Caribbean, and as a summer jam, this is The Beach Boys at their finest, I firmly believe. The group reunited for an album in 2012 (that was fairly popular, but not really that ground-breaking!)… but if there is ONE song that you listen to from The Beach Boys, then it’d have to be “God Only Knows”.

When “God Only Knows” was released: At present our influences are of a religious nature. Not any specific religion but an idea based upon that of Universal Consciousness. The concept of spreading goodwill, good thoughts and happiness is nothing new. It is an idea which religious teachers and philosophers have been handing down for centuries, but it is also our hope. The spiritual concept of happiness and doing good to others is extremely important to the lyric of our songs, and the religious element of some of the better church music is also contained within some of our new work.

“God Only Knows” is what I wholeheartedly believe to be The Beach Boys’ crowning achievement. Even though it didn’t rise up in the charts (partly because it was released as a ‘B-side’ rather than an official single); “God Only Knows” has gigantic staying power. Controversial at the time because it had the word ‘God’ in the song title, the song is timeless because of the fact that it has been covered so many times, and also because the lyrics are relatable and relevant for such a time as this. With the song being a pure love song, and a reminder to the persona’s lover that ‘…if you should ever leave me, though life would still go on believe me, the world could show nothing to me, so what good would living do me, God only knows what I’d be without you…’; “God Only Knows” is also a promise to the people in our lives that we hold dear- whether they be a romantic partner or a platonic friend or even immediate family. it’s a promise that they are special in our eyes and that we care about them an awful lot. It’s a declaration that we cannot live life without them, and it’s a song to build up all of our friends and family. An uplifter and an encourager as well; the melody has been covered by Pentatonix, Peter Hollens, Marc Martel, The Ten Tenors, John Legend & Cynthia Erivo, Jillian Edwards, Michael Bublé, Bryan Adams, She & Him, Derek Webb, Wilson Phillips, Jars Of Clay, Phil Keaggy, Elton John, Olivia Newton John and David Bowie to name a few- and just one watch or listen of any of these covers will remind you why this song is a legendary song that will still be in our rotation for a long while yet!

The Beach Boys have been trading in nostalgia since 1967—they were rising with the Beatles and then sort of got left in the dust. In many cases, they haven’t done themselves a lot of favors in terms of their image. But at the core of the Beach Boys is Brian’s music, and the music that he influenced that the other band members made in the late ’60s and early ’70s when Brian was really struggling emotionally. And if you go back and listen beyond the hits—basically beyond Pet Sounds in 1966—you’ll find incredible, incredible depth of music in albums like Sunflower and Holland and Surf’s Up, which are as beautiful and as modern as anything you’ll find now. And what’s interesting now is that Brian’s instinct is still to move forward—he told me yesterday that he was writing new music. He’s constantly working—what’s the next song? what’s the next approach?—and he’s not writing in the style of a 23-year-old Southern California guy doing surf songs. He’s writing from the perspective of an almost 80-year-old man looking back on his life. And the kind of honesty he brings to it is what keeps it moving forward.

One of the things that always blows my mind is that studios didn’t work back then the way they work now. You couldn’t add all of these different parts later and layer things on—you had to do it on the spot. And the way Brian worked is that he thought of all these arrangements in his head, and then he had to execute them: You know, you needed four oboes and two violins booked from the L.A. Philharmonic for that day, along with a banjo and two French horns and whatever else he was thinking of.

Things don’t come easy for Brian, but one of the things I’ve always been inspired by is that despite all of this, he’s able to live a really productive life and create art and go on tour and enjoy his family. To me, that’s super heroic—and seeing how much he has to overcome to do the things that he does was part of my interest in sharing his story.

Jason Fine of The Rolling Stone- about Brian Wilson when filming his documentary Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road

When we cut the first album we were going to call ourselves The Pendletones, after a type of sweater everyone was wearing. Russ Regan, a promoter for Candix Records, came up with the name The Beach Boys. My brother Dennis said surfing was the new thing, the new fad. He was the surfer in the group. I was never a surfer. I never learned. Surfing was just what we thought people would want to hear.

A lot of it [the good fortune for our career] was my dad. He took us to a really good recording studio and helped us out a lot. But he was also pretty tough at times. He scared me so much with his yelling—he would be yelling and poking fingers in my chest, screaming, “Get in there and kick ass and make a good record.” All I could say was, “Okay Dad, all right.” But then we’d go ahead and cut something great like “Good Vibrations” or “California Girls.”

for the past 40 years I’ve had auditory hallucinations in my head, all day every day, and I can’t get them out. Every few minutes the voices say something derogatory to me, which discourages me a little bit, but I have to be strong enough to say to them, “Hey, would you quit stalking me? F*** off! Don’t talk to me—leave me alone!” I have to say these types of things all day long. It’s like a fight.

I knew right from the start something was wrong. I’d taken some psychedelic drugs, and then about a week after that I started hearing voices, and they’ve never stopped. For a long time I thought to myself, “Oh, I can’t deal with this.” But I learned to deal with it anyway. My depression goes pretty low, pretty deep. I get depressed to the point where I can’t do anything—I can’t even write songs, which is my passion.

I get it mostly in the afternoon. I dread the derogatory voices I hear during the afternoon. They say things like, “You are going to die soon,” and I have to deal with those negative thoughts. But it’s not as bad as it used to be. When I’m on stage, I try to combat the voices by singing really loud. When I’m not on stage, I play my instruments all day, making music for people. Also, I kiss my wife and kiss my kids. I try to use love as much as possible.

I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist once a week for 12 years now, and he’s become a really close friend of mine. We talk and he helps me out. He tells me, “Well when you hear the voices, why don’t you make a joke and say to them, ‘How are you doing, Voices? How are you doing today?’ You know, talk humorously to them.” I tried that out and it works a little bit.

I walk five miles a day in the morning, I eat really good food, I get a little sleep at night—four or five hours, sometimes six if I’m lucky—and I use my love with people. I use love as a way to get along with people. I sing for people and play songs for them on my synthesizer. I talk to people about music and love. I go through bad vibes, of course—everybody does—but I get through them because I have just enough will in my last name to do that. Yes, [my family], they’re the light of my life. Nothing brings joy into my life like my children. I have two girls by a previous marriage who are in their 30s, and now I have nine- and eight-year-old girls and a little two-and-a-half-year-old boy. And they are all beautiful kids. My children and my music are my two greatest loves.

Interview with Brian Wilson, 2006

As far as longevity goes, I reckon The Beach Boys are one of the most accomplished, iconic, and legendary bands, who are still touring and are active in some way. It’s an awesome and crazy achievement to still be present in the same industry as the band was during their inception in the 60’s. It’s a shame that Brian’s mental health took a toll, and it’s also a shame that Mike and Brian are still in the midst of this feud that seems to have no sign of stopping. I’ve actually read a lot of articles, and I do not know why these guys are fighting. Perhaps it’s over a trivial thing. Regardless, if Mike and Brian were able to bury the hatchet and forgive each other, as well as saying ‘I’m sorry’, years and years ago, instead of holding onto grudges and bitterness… could we possibly have gotten more albums and a much more impressive and influential band? Something to ponder over, that’s for sure. But these guys defined a whole generation, and even if you don’t resonate with any of the music, like myself; I firmly still believe that you can appreciate good art. The Beach Boys, with the songs like “God Only Knows”, “Kokomo”, “Surfin’ USA”, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “Good Vibrations”, “I Can Hear Music”, “Little Saint Nick”, and “I Get Around”; is a prime example of a band who has stood the test of time, and a band that will always be remembered. The other month I wrote extensively about influence in my Robbie Williams blog post, and before that in my Tim McGraw blog post. Influence is a funny thing because what I consider influential, may not be according to you. But in this series, being iconic and legendary is a different kettle of fish, and The Beach Boys certainly fit the bill.

In this blog, I haven’t written about every single hit that The Beach Boys have recorded. I’ve written about some. But loads and loads of hit songs aren’t the point. The point, rather, is that this artist has shaped a generation in what they do. Sure, you all may disagree with me, and that’s fine. But if we still all resonate with “God Only Knows” even now, what is that saying? What is next for Brian, Mike, and the rest of the band? The future isn’t known, but maybe more albums? Brian has been steadily doing his solo material, as has Mike. Will a full-scale reunion happen, knowing the bad blood that still resides between the two? Unlikely… But you never know- they might surprise us and release something that doesn’t require much effort, like a Christmas album or an acoustic album. But if The Beach Boys hang up their boots; that’s more than ok, because like every other artist we’ve written about in this series; this pop group has earned his time in the spotlight and his time away from the spotlight. The Beach Boys as a band are iconic. Let us remember that all it takes is one song for you to make it; but it takes many more songs to convince everyone else that you’re not a one-hit wonder. The Beach Boys have done that, even if I haven’t written about every single song under the sun. “God Only Knows”, and other songs like “Good Vibrations”, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “Surfin USA” to name a few, when hearing it now, might sound basic. But shall we dive deeper into The Beach Boys and their discography because of these songs? Are those songs worth telling the world about and have The Beach Boys reached the highest of heights, even higher than ever? Are sales more important that storytelling and changing people’s lives? Can two people be humble to hear each other out, even if they disagree? Something to think about as we dwell upon one of the most prolific pop bands ever! One thing’s for sure though. I reckon we all need to watch Love & Mercy, don’t you think? The Beach Boys may not be your favourite band. I know that they’re not mine. But when you strip away all of your preconceptions of beach music and the California sound and what we think it means… all that remains is a band that has toiled and a band that has continued to stay relevant for all this time. Isn’t that something to celebrate?

Brian suffers from a form of schizoaffective disorder. He hears voices in his head. They [his doctors] believe it’s always been there. He was misdiagnosed for a very long time, which was part of the issue in his life. Mental health, of course, has really taken a tremendous amount of leaps and bounds over the last 25 years or so. But through his wife Melinda’s help, he was able to get away from Dr. Eugene Landy, who was part of that misdiagnosis, very famously. Brian is now receiving treatment and therapy. It’s something he’ll live with his whole life, of course.

That’s part of the film, and what makes Brian’s story so amazing is that there’s no cure for mental [illness], it’s just something you manage, something you deal with. That devil is always nipping at your heels and it’s always just right there, one step away. Yet Brian has found a way in his everyday life to try to keep that at bay. I personally think that’s part of Brian’s story, and part of Brian’s journey is the courage he shows to continue to address his own mental health and deal with it every day. 

There’s a new song in the film that we use, it’s called “Right Where I Belong.” It’s written by Brian Wilson and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. I gotta say it’s a helluva combination, I’m really proud of this song. Brian wrote this incredible melody for the film and Jim came in and added these incredible lyrics in co-production with Brian. It’s such a great song and I can’t wait for fans to hear it.

There’s going to be a soundtrack in a few weeks, it’s going to be released and will be all new music by Brian. You get a little taste in the film when he does “Honeycomb.” And that great song from Brian and Jim. I’m just as excited by this music coming out as I am about the film coming out.

Director Brent Wilson- about Brian Wilson when filming his documentary Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road

Does The Beach Boys make the list for you all when you write your own ‘Iconic and Identity-Building Artists of All Time’ list? Is there any song (other than “God Only Knows”, “Good Vibrations”, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “I Get Around”, “Little Saint Nick”, “Help Me Rhonda”, “Surfin’ USA”, “California Girls”, “I Can Hear Music”, “California Dreamin’”, and “Kokomo”) that has impacted you on your journey through life thus far, or even your walk with God? Let us know in the comments. Till next time!

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