There has been so much written about Brian Wilson that it's hard to know
where the myths and fables begin and the truth ends. There have been tales
about the abusive childhood he endured and the wrath of his father, Murray,
as well as the stories about his mental illness, addictions, inability to
write songs, and much more.
This memoir by Wilson answers all those questions in an astonishingly honest--and at many times painful--way. The iconic Beach Boys songwriter and
visionary talks at length about his addictions to pills and alcohol and how
the band was unwilling to follow him when his songwriting ventured off into
new areas that weren't about surfing and hot rods. He talks about his father,
and though you'd think he would have nothing but bad things to say about
him, Wilson does credit him with making him tough and helping him with his
Wilson also tries to explain how he writes songs, which is a fascinating
glimpse into the mind of one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived. He
writes at length about Pet Sounds, the breakthrough album that remains one
of the most critically acclaimed records to this day as well as the misery
of trying to complete SMiLE, an album that would only be completed decades
after it started.
This is a terrific book and will lay to rest all the untruths ever told
about Brian Wilson. In truth, he seems a little too forgiving in terms of
what his father did to him--physically abused him and even sold the Beach
Boys songs to someone else without telling Brian--but this is his story as
he lived it.
Any fan of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys needs to read this.