The erstwhile Beach Boy

A download tribute to Brian Wilson
By BRIAN E. KING  |  September 18, 2007
Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson may have spent a few years in bed, but he’s been up and about for the last few years, spreading the Smile gospel. Indeed, last month he and Smile lyricist Van Dyke Parks performed a new suite of songs in London titled That Lucky Old Man (A Narrative), parts of which are available on-line. Here’s a taste of what Wilson’s been up, to along with tracks by bands and artists who have been inspired by the erstwhile Beach Boy . . .

Brian Wilson, “Midnight’s Another Day”
From That Lucky Old Man, this one begins with gospel piano and those trademark vocal harmonies rising to meet revealing bittersweet lyrics like “All these people make me feel so alone.”

Paul Steel, “Moon Rock”
Possibly the best California-style singer-songwriter to come out of Britain in decades, this 20-year-old uses clever percussion and soaring falsetto combined with Pet Sounds orchestration to conjure Brian Wilson’s brand of quirky pop.

The Wondermints, “Ride”
When they aren’t backing Brian Wilson on tour, the Wondermints are making their own ’60s pop. This track — with a Brian Wilson vocal cameo on the chorus, plus watery piano, dreamy melodies, and Darian Sahanajah’s angelic Carl Wilson vocals — wouldn’t sound out of place on the Beach Boys’ Surf’s Up.

The Everyday Visuals, “I’ll Take It In Stride”
This Boston group cover Pet Sounds from time to time, and their Beach Boys infatuation carries over into their originals. Lushly orchestrated timpani and staccato piano punctuate this slice of moody chamber pop.

Tara Busch, “Superfriends”
The cheesy ’60s organ and big falsetto-like vocals in the chorus prove that guys aren’t the only ones taking inspiration from Brian Wilson. Busch’s other tracks delve into the more experimental and heavier side of California pop, but this tune is right up the Beach Boys’ alley.

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