Why We Need Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys Now More Than Ever
Yesterday was the 4th of July 2020 on the West Coast.
There were no beach parties to go to, no backyard barbecues, no outdoor concerts to attend. Those extravagant 4th of July crowds from forty years ago where The Beach Boys played for over half a million people are just historical memories.
It’s 2020, I sit in my room, (“In my Room”) missing playing live shows with my several bands, (I think I play in so many bands because I see what I love doing has limited days for me) (“When I Grow up to be a Man”) not to mention just getting together and practicing and learning songs. One forges lifelong friendships and respect in these musical groups and I am missing the camaraderie (“Friends”). I wonder will I ever get to play in a live setting again (“Please Let Me Wonder”)? For me, at this level, or any level that I have been involved in, it was never about money or fame. It was the few minutes of joy that one could bring to people from their everyday worries of life (“Don’t Worry Baby”). For is this not what music is all about? Music is a tool to forget the everyday stresses of living in this troubled era (“I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times”).
Now more than ever I am leaning on the positive songs (“Good Vibrations”) of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. Brian is a true American treasure. Born in southern California, Inglewood, the same city I was born in, Brian along with his younger brothers and cousin (you all know the story) wrote the soundtrack to many of our lives. Even if you didn’t grow up in SoCal and had access to the ocean (“Surfin’ USA”), you still had high school (“Be True to Your School/Fun, Fun, Fun”), falling in love (“Kiss Me Baby/Girl Don’t Tell Me”) to contend with, and more than likely you had a car to meet your buddies and make out with your current teen dream (“Your Summer Dream”).
I was born too late to enjoy these songs when they were penned. My first introduction was The Beach Boys Live In Concert lp then later, in my first year of high school, the Endless Summer compilation. In the waning years of high school, I discovered Pet Sounds. I wasn’t alone anymore. There were other people out there just as lonely, shy, doing stupid things (“That’s Not Me”) looking for answers (“I Know There’s An Answer”), disappointed in relationships (“Here Today”), wishing these years were behind me (“Wouldn’t It Be Nice”). From then on after Pet Sounds, I bought every Beach Boy lp voraciously and went to shows etc…for these songs connected me to others and unlike punk rock, there was no anger or hidden agendas in this music. Not that we don’t need punk rock, that’s another story (and if you think Jonathan Richman wasn’t a student of Mr. Wilson…) It was laid out simply (“Wind Chimes/Vegetables/Do It Again/It’s OK/Time to Get Alone”) for one to get lost in and to remember the fun times that was had. Music triggers memories and Beach Boy songs more than likely will trigger happy memories in all of us, thanks to Brian and the guys.Brian Wilson is considered a genius. I truly believe he is one. He took the lifestyle of southern California and made it a worldwide experience. I can’t recall a single song of his that throws down a negative emotion or reaction. Even his solo works has gems on each one of them (“Imagination/Rio Grande/Lay Down Burden/Love and Mercy/Soul Searchin’”).
I have seen Brian perform many times and each time I am filled with a positive spirit and a feeling of joy and respect. I also look at the love on the audience faces when they are at a Brian Wilson show. One can almost see the great memories that these songs inspired in them.
We need Brian now, more than ever. We have a world being torn apart by disease, hatred, racism (sure The Beach Boys are as white as they come, but Brian always sighted his influence of boogie woogie and doo-wop groups, even bringing two south African musicians into The Beach Boys along with Latinos, race was never an issue, as with most musicians that I know, we don’t see color, we see music and sharing of ideas) unemployment, scandal, lawbreaking politicians, politicians that only care about their riches to be made…It is a strange time to be alive for sure. But we are alive.
Brian wrote a song called “Love and Mercy”. It brought tears to my eyes quite a few times. Brian is a very sensitive person. Sometimes sensitivity is considered a weakness. People that create are very sensitive. It is inside them. They care about others. If this is a weakness, then be off with your negatory ways! We all need to show some love and mercy if we are to get through this era in American history. Regardless of your political leanings, we are all living here in this world. Be nice, be kind to one another. I find myself constantly going to the Beach Boy/Brian Wilson well to drink of the good vibrations and the feelings that everything is going to be okay. Like a great writer once wrote (Iman Lababedi), “you can hate The Beatles or Kanye, Beyonce, The Stones..if you hate Brian Wilson’s music you’re a bad person…” Dig folks, Brian puts his heart on the line and it is a very good heart, a heart that comes around once in a lifetime, a heart that comes with incredible musical enriched heavenly harmonies and spiritual fulfillment.
When you are feeling down or world weary, trust in Brian, he centers me constantly. We need Brian Wilson in this world now more than ever! I wish you all peace, love and understanding, in this time of uncertainty…our time isn’t forever here, let’s enjoy the little things before we go to surf city in the sky, because as far as I know, we ain’t coming back from deadman’s curve, don’t worry baby, everything will be alright..Peace, love and mercy, I will be in my room, if you all need me…respects, E.H.