Brian Wilson is considered to be one of pop music's most influential composers of the last fifty years. The American pop musician, producer, and composer is most notably known as being the founding member of The Beach Boys. In comparison to the early sixties, Wilson's most popular music mig... More
Brian Wilson is considered to be one of pop music's most influential composers of the last fifty years. The American pop musician, producer, and composer is most notably known as being the founding member of The Beach Boys. In comparison to the early sixties, Wilson's most popular music might seem today to be out of date and unfashionable, but the music of The Beach Boys and Wilson's part in creating them gives Wilson the recognition of being one of the most significant and innovative musicians and composers of the 20th century.
Life hasn't been the easiest for Wilson. Throughout his career, he has endured a number of ups and downs, setbacks and personal frustrations. But with the aid of time and support from family and friends he has rose above his challenges to continue his career to this day.
Wilson is known for his unique musical style that is reminiscent of the Rock n' Roll influences of Chuck Berry and the harmonics of a band from the fifties, the Four Freshman. Wilson favored the use of the eight channel multi-track tape recorder because he felt that the sound of stereophonic sound gave an incomplete sound picture if the listener wasn't listening between the speakers. Some thought that this was because of the partial deafness that he received at the age of sixteen from his drunk and sometimes abusive father that stuck him in the head with a 2x4 leaving him deaf in one ear for not mowing the lawn fast enough. Wilson felt that we worked best in the confines of the monaural sound that. He also favored the use of human voices as instruments; these included both his own voice as well as others from The Beach Boys.
He had originally formed The Beach Boys with his brothers Carl and Dennis, cousin Mike Love, and school friend Al Jardine. By 1967, The Beach Boys were amongst the world's biggest acts which at that time. Their direct competition was The Beatles who matched and surpassed their international fan base. The band had a string of international hits like, "Surfin USA", "Fun Fun Fun Fun", "I Get Around", "Help Me Rhonda", and "Wouldn't it Be Nice". Wilson also during that time co-wrote a number of songs for other artists like Jan and Dean. The Beach Boys soon after recorded the album Pet Sounds that would be rated on various music polls as being one of the greatest pop albums ever recorded.
Following a mental breakdown, Wilson soon descended into severe mental illness and drug abuse in the late 1960's and 1970's. These problems resulted in his declining and soon altogether halt in his front man role with The Beach Boys. After deciding to not tour with The Beach Boys, Wilson still focused his energies in producing the band's records. Wilson soon after went on to begin his solo career in 1988. Many fans felt that this might be another issue for him considering that he, even when he was with The Beach Boys, suffered from stage fright. To this day, he performs with a band consisting of highly talented rockers that have obtained a trait for selling out concert halls across the country. It wasn't until later in his solo career did Wilson win his first Grammy Award that he received for Best Solo Rock n' Roll Instrumental for a single from The Beach Boys album, SMiLe for the track, "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow (Fire)". He was also named MusiCares Man of the Year in 2005.
Photo by Flickr user Ella Mullins