Good Vibrations As Beach Boys Legend Brian Wilson Celebrates Their Greatest Hits
by Geoff Ford
The Beach Boys founder member of Brian Wilson makes a welcome return to the UK, this summer, to perform Good Vibrations Greatest Hits Live across the country with special guests Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. The tour, in May and June, will feature his greatest hits and fan favourites from his career with The Beach Boys and as a solo artist.
Brian Wilson is generally acknowledged as one of the most talented and influential musicians of the twentieth century. As the creative genius behind The Beach Boys, Brian helped to rewrite the pop-music-making manual, leading the way for other artists to write and record their own music. He formed The Beach Boys, in 1961 with brothers Dennis and Carl, cousin Mike Love and friends Al Jardine and, for two years, David Marks. Brian was fascinated by the four-part harmonies of vocal groups such as The Four Freshmen and, encouraged by Dennis, a keen surfer, began writing songs that celebrated the Southern Californian lifestyle. With songs about surfing, cars and girls: Surfin’ Safari, Surfin USA, Little Deuce Coupe and Surfer Girl, The Beach Boys became America’s favourite home-grown group, I Get Around, Help Me, Rhonda and California Girls gave them world-wide success.
Brian’s arrangements became ever more complex but by the end of 1964, the stress of touring, writing, and producing became too much for Brian and following a mid-flight panic attack he withdrew from touring to concentrate on writing and production. Brian’s role in the band would eventually be filled by Bruce Johnson.
In mid-1965 Brian began work on what is still considered one of the greatest albums ever made, Pet Sounds. His music came of age as he delved deeper into the emotional relationship subject matter that had begun to appear on previous albums. Pet Sounds included the timeless classics Wouldn’t It Be Nice and God Only Knows and examined Brian’s own vulnerability with I Know There’s An Answer and I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times. The rest of the group, who were touring while Brian laid down the music tracks in the studio, provided the vocals but had trouble coming to terms with the personal nature of the lyrics, Pet Sounds was a million miles from the beach.
On it’s release in 1966 Pet Sounds received mixed reviews and it took time for people to appreciate the enormity of what Brian had achieved. Brian was also working on another complex masterpiece Good Vibrations, released as a single in October 1966. This was an immediate critical and commercial success reaching number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic.
With Brian’s mental health suffering, his substance use increased and The Beach Boys’ next album SMiLE remained unfinished for nearly 40 years. The Smiley Smile album that was released in 1967 was a pale imitation of what Brian had envisaged as his most complex project to date and he withdrew from group activities, making only rare contributions for several years. Occasional fragments of SMiLE would appear on subsequent albums, notably Cabin Essence on 20/20 and Surf’s Up on the album of the same name.
When Dennis Wilson injured his hand, and Bruce Johnson departed, The Beach Boys recruited drummer Ricky Fataar and guitarist Blondie Chaplin from the South African group Flame and they appeared on the next two albums.
From the mid-seventies Brian’s contributions were sporadic and punctuated with bouts of ill health while tragedy struck when Dennis drowned in 1983. By now the band’s concerts were concentrating on the early, pre-1967 output, so it came as a pleasant surprise when they scored their first their first US number 1 for twenty years with Kokomo in 1988. There was further tragedy in 1998 as Carl succumbed to cancer.
The music of The Beach Boys remains as popular as ever as successive generations have discovered their iconic catalogue. In 2004 Brian completed the SMiLE project under his own name, earning him his first GRAMMY award. Over the last twenty years Brian has enjoyed a return to live performance, with The Beach Boys and as a solo artist. His tours quickly sell-out as fans flock to pay homage to one of the al-time greats and, with The Beach Boys, he celebrated the band’s 50th anniversary in 2012 with a major international tour and acclaimed studio album That’s Why God Made The Radio.
Brian now has eleven solo albums to his name and a string of awards. As a member of The Beach Boys, Brian was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and honoured with The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.
For his Good Vibrations Greatest Hits Live tour in 2020, Brian Wilson is joined by fellow Beach Boys’ founder Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin who has been a regular touring partner for Wilson in recent years. The UK tour dates are:
|Sunday 31 May||Brighton||The Dome||BOOK TICKETS|
|Monday 1 June||London||Royal Albert Hall||BOOK TICKETS|
|Thursday 4 June||Glasgow||SEC Armadillo||BOOK TICKETS|
|Saturday 6 June||Gateshead||The Sage||BOOK TICKETS|
|Monday 8 June||Birmingham||Symphony Hall||BOOK TICKETS|
|Tuesday 9 June||Nottingham||Royal Concert Hall||BOOK TICKETS|
|Wednesday 10 June||Manchester||Bridgewater Hall||BOOK TICKETS|
|Friday 12 June||Bournemouth||International Centre||BOOK TICKETS|
|Saturday 13 June||Cardiff||Motorpoint Arena||BOOK TICKETS|
|Sunday 14 June||Leeds||Town Hall||BOOK TICKETS|
|Tuesday 16 June||Blackpool||Opera House||BOOK TICKETS|
|Wednesday 17 June||Cambridge||Corn Exchange||BOOK TICKETS|
There will also be VIP Meet & Greet packages with details at www.brianwilson.com