DO IT AGAIN! THE SONGS OF BRIAN WILSON.
Do It Again! The Songs Of Brian Wilson.
Label: Ace Records.
Release Date: ‘28th’ October 2022.
Brian Wilson is seen by some as the closest thing music has had to a genius. Proponents of this argument cite the Beach Boys 1966 progressive, psychedelic Magnus Opus Pet Sounds. By then, he was one of the most successful singer, songwriter and producers of his generation. Already, he had masterminded twenty-four hit singles including two number one singles for the Beach Boys. It looked like he could do no wrong.
Sadly, Smile, the followup album to Pet Sounds was cancelled. It was a huge blow to him.
Brian Wilson then suffered the first of several nervous breakdowns. As a result of his health problems his influence on the Beach Boys diminished. This just happened to coincide with a decrease in sales of the group’s albums.
Following Pet Sounds, the Beach Boys their albums were produced by the group. No longer was Brian Wilson the sole producer.
When the Beach Boys entered the studio in 1975, Brian Wilson was back in charge of producing the album 15 Big Ones. It was released in 1976, reached number eight in the US Billboard 200, and was certified gold. Many critics and record buyers thought that Brian Wilson was back. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.
By 1975, Brian Wilson was suffering from substance abuse problems and his health was failing. His wife Marilyn enlisted the help of psychologist and psychotherapist Eugene Landy.
He was best known for an unconventional twenty-four hour treatment program. At first, Brian Wilson was resistant to the demanding program. However, with the only alternative being admitted to a psychiatric hospital, he agreed to the program. Then in 1976, when Eugene Landy tried to double his fees he was sacked by the Beach Boys manager.
Six years later and Brian Wilson’s health was failing. The Beach Boys hadn’t released an album for two years. A decision was made to rehire Eugene Landy. He would be part of the Beach Boy’s life for the next ten years. Sadly, the relationship didn’t end well.
Part of Eugene Landy’s treatment, was micromanaging his client’s lives. Usually, he did this with team of counsellors, nurses and doctors. However, in Brian Wilson’s case he took a much more hands-on approach.
Not only was he Brian Wilson’s therapist but gradually, became his business adviser and cowrote songs with him. This was far from the usual therapist and client relationship.
Then when Brian Wilson released his long-awaited eponymous debut album in 1988, Eugene Landy was credited as executive producer. This was just the latest controversy.
Eugene Landy also co-wrote a memoir about Brian Wilson. Wouldn’t It Be Nice: My Own Story was published in 1991. However, by then people were questioning his relationship with Brian Wilson.
A year later and the relationship was over. A restraining order was issued by the court barring Eugene Landy from contacting Brian Wilson ever again. However, this wasn’t the end of the story.
In 1994, the state of California revoked Eugene Landy’s license to practise. There had been accusations of ethical violations and patient misconduct during his years working with Brian Wilson. While the relationship ended badly, Brian Wilson was on the comeback trail.
He returned with his sophomore album I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times in August 1995. The album featured songs Brian Wilson had originally recorded with the Beach Boys. He had rerecorded them for the soundtrack to Don Was’ documentary about his life.
Just two months later, in October 1995, Brian Wilson released Orange Crate Art his 1995 collaboration with Van Dyke Parks. The pair had first met in the early sixties and over thirty years later were still friend and making music together.
Since 1995, Brian Wilson has continued released another nine albums. Many of these albums have been released to critical acclaim. His most recent album is At My Piano which was released in November 2021.
Brian Wilson celebrated his eightieth birthday on June the ‘20th’ 2022. He’s now one of music’s elder statesman and his music still continues to influence several new generation of musician. Over the years, many musicians have covered Brian Wilson’s songs and that’s still the case today.
In 2015, Ace Records released Here Today!-The Songs Of Brian Wilson, as part of their long-running and critically acclaimed Songwriter Series. Seven years later comes the much-anticipated followup Do It Again! The Songs Of Brian Wilson. The compilation features twenty-four songs that cover a twenty-five year period.
The earliest is Steve Almaas and Ali Smith’s cover of The Lonely Sea which originally featured on the Beach Boys’ 1963 album Surfin’ USA. Libera cover Love And Mercy which featured on Brian Wilson’s 1988 eponymous debut solo album. There’s contributions from some of the biggest names in music, familiar faces and some lesser known names on Do It Again! The Songs Of Brian Wilson.
The compilation opens with Wall Of Voodoo’s cover of Do It Again. They released this genre-melting single on I.R.S. in 1987 and on the album Happy Planet. It’s a mixture of new wave and synth pop where the group take the song in a new direction but also pay homage to the Beach Boys.
Jan and Dean’s recording career began in 1959 and they were one of pioneers of the California Sound and vocal surf. Their most successful single was Surf City which reached number one in the US in 1963. They covered Vegetables which was released as a single in 1967 and then featured on the Jan and Dean Anthology Album in 1971. The cover features their trademark mixture of rock and pop as the duo rode the crest of a musical wave.
Bruce and Terry released a string of surf singles between 1964 and 1966. They also covered Hawaii which was penned by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. The song featured on the surf duo’s 1998 compilation The Best Of Bruce and Terry and is a reminder of their trademark sound.
In 1994, Darian Sahanaja released a cover of Brian Wilson’s Do You Have Any Regrets? On the B-Side was another of his songs. This was a heartachingly beautiful and heartfelt cover of I Wanna Pick You Up which is a hidden gem and welcome addition to the compilation.
In My Room was written by Brian Wilson and Gary Usher. The song was covered in 2017 by Lisa Loeb for her album Lullaby Girl. The arrangement is understated and the vocal breathy and impassioned as she breathes new life and meaning into the lyrics.
Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released Under The Covers, a four CD box set of cover versions in 2006. One of the tracks they covered was The Warmth Of The Sun. The song was perfectly suited for their voices which combine to create a quite beautiful and truly memorable cover of this Brian Wilson and Mike Love composition.
On Fleetwood Mac Live, which was released in 1980, the legendary group covered The Farmer’s Daughter. This is another song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. The song is taken in a new direction by the Anglo-American group and is best described as a melodic earworm.
When Samantha Sidley released her debut album Interior Person in 2019, it featured a cover of Brian Wilson’s Busy Doing Nothing. It features a vocal that veers between coquettish to emotive on this jazzy makeover where she reinvents the song.
Vocal ensemble The King’s Singers were formed in Cambridge, England, on May the ‘1st’ 1968. When they covered Please Let Me Wonder for their 1997 album Spirit Voices, they were joined by two high profile guest vocalists. This was none other than Bruce Johnston and Mike Love. They play their part in a heartfelt and thoughtful cover of this Brian Wilson and Mike Love song.
When Glasgow group The Pearlfishers released their maxi single Even On A Sunday Afternoon in 1997, they covered Let’s Put Our Hearts. This was no surprise as founder member and lead singer was a big fan of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys music. Their music has always influenced the group who have released nine albums since their debut Za Za’s Garden in 1993. For newcomers to the group, the perfect starting place is their third album The Young Picnickers, which was released in 1999 and is an album of perfect pop and rock.
Darlin’ was the B-Side to the Persuasions 1975 single One Thing On My Mind. This paean is a soulful hidden gem from the pen of Brian Wilson and Mike Love.
Closing Do It Again! The Songs Of Brian Wilson is a cover of Hang On To Your Ego by Frank Black. The alternative rocker released the song as a single in 1994. He reinvents the song and transforms it into a driving rocky anthem that ends the compilation on a high.
Brian Wilson is, without doubt, one of the most talented and singer, songwriter and producers of his generation. Some people have described him as a musical genius citing his career-defining opus Pet Sounds as proof.
Sadly, because of health issues, substance abuse and maybe even the internal politics of the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson never again reached the heights of Pet Sounds. Following the release of such a groundbreaking album that revolutionised music he was seen as the man who could’ve been King.
That is no surprise as Pet Sounds is a classic album that’s regarded as a masterpiece of modern music. When the Beach Boys released other albums they were always compared to Pet Sounds. It was a similar case when he embarked upon a solo career in 1988.
However, during a career that has spanned the best part of sixty years Brian Wilson has written, recorded and produced many classic songs. These songs have influenced several generations of singers and bands. Many have gone on to cover songs by the Beach Boys or from Brian Wilson’s solo career.
This includes the artists on Do It Again! The Songs Of Brian Wilson. It’s the latest instalment in Ace Records Songwriter Series. It’s the followup to Here Today!-The Songs Of Brian Wilson which was released in 2015. It features twenty-four songs that cover the period between 1963 and 1988. There’s contributions from familiar faces, giants of music, indie artists and some lesser known names. The result is a lovingly curated musical voyage of discovery where artists from the past and present pay tribute to Brian Wilson one of the greatest singer, songwriter and producers of his generation and for many the man who could’ve been King.
Do It Again! The Songs Of Brian Wilson.
- Posted in: Alt-Rock ♦ Indie Pop ♦ Indie Rock ♦ New Wave ♦ Pop ♦ Rock ♦ Soul ♦ Synth Pop
- Tagged: Ace Records, Brian Wilson, Bruce and Terry, Darian Sahanaja, Do It Again! The Songs Of Brian Wilson, Fleetwood Mac, Here Today!-The Songs Of Brian Wilson, Jan and Dean, Lisa Loeb, Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, Persuasions, Pet Sounds, Steve Almaas and Ali Smith, The Pearlfishers, Van Dyke Parks