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Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys Strikes Gold With a New Solo Album

Brian Wilson is back with a new solo album 'No Pier Pressure,' his first since 2008.

Brian Wilson is back with a new solo album ‘No Pier Pressure,’ his first since 2008.

Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame went out on the road last year with guitarist Jeff Beck, of all people, and announced he was working on a new solo album. Now out, the album, No Pier Pressure is a confusing affair on several fronts, but Wilson’s genius shines through, nonetheless.

Rumors abound that half the album was written as a Beach Boys album, before cousin Mike Love scuttled a new tour and the album along with it.

It sure does sound like one of the band’s. “Runway Dancer” is the Beach Boys through-and-through, though it’s just Wilson and a new band.

“The Right Time” is quintessential Wilson, while a duet with Nate Ruess, of fun, “Saturday Night,” is brilliant, catchy and everything you’d want in a Beach Boys song.

“Whatever Happened” featuring Al Jardine and Dave Marks is sensational. Stone cold Wilson genius at his serious and moody best.

The album also features guest performances by Sebu Simonian of Capital Cities, Kacey Musgraves, of She & Him, and former band member Blondie Chaplin.

Nobody makes an album like Brian. You hear references and musical notes from everywhere, yet he makes it all work. Truly American music, truly Brian Wilson; we’re lucky to have him.

I’m the first to admit, though, that I got into the Beach Boys late. The California surf sound just didn’t jibe all that well with an East Coast geek like me.

Sure, I listened to all their classics and grooved along like everyone else. But they didn’t seem to mean the same to me as The Beatles and The Stones.

But I must admit, after readings several books from the members and so-called insiders, I was enthralled by their story. Brian Wilson’s psychotic episodes and his sandbox in his living room, contributed to that.

In fact, now that I think of it, the moment when it may have all changed for me was when I saw a picture of Wilson in Rolling Stone, haggard, in an ill-fitting robe, in his sandbox!

That image just galvanized me, and I knew right then, I’d have to get more into their story.

Sibling rivalry permeated their tale, and it was amazing they made any music at all. But Brian’s harmonies with his brothers are angelic.

Additionally, brother Dennis Wilson’s brilliant 2-CD set, “Pacific Ocean Blue,” laid me out with not only brilliant harmonies, but stellar songs. To this day, it is one of my favorite albums of all-time.

A Brian Wilson solo album, titled Brian Wilson, had a song called “Love And Mercy,” that also just knocked me out.

It was later performed at the annual Kennedy Center Honors, I think, honoring Wilson and his brothers. The performance by a choir was hauntingly good.

A friend of mine took me to see an Al Jardine at B. B. King’s in New York City, and I was a goner from there.

Jardine’s show essentially consisted of all of the Beach Boys’ hits, and it was brilliant.

The brothers got back together in 2012 and released That’s Why God Made the Radio, their the 29th studio album. Produced by Brian, the album was recorded to coincide with the band’s 50th anniversary.

It was their first album to feature original material since the release of Summer in Paradise in 1992, and their first album to feature guitarist and backing vocalist David Marks. Guitarist and co-founder Carl Wilson died in 1998.

The album reached No. 3 on the Billboard album chart and was their highest charting studio album since 1965, placing them second all-time with longest span of top 10 albums, at 49 years.

The Beatles would tie that record with On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 the following year. But Frank Sinatra holds the record at 52 years of top 10 albums.

No Pier Pressure is Wilson’s 11th solo studio album. It was released April 7 on Capitol Records. It’s Wilson’s first solo album of new material since That Lucky Old Sun in 2008.

Wilson has announced a summer tour to support the album with Jardine and Chaplin. Now, I just can’t get those Beach Boys-harmonies out of my head!

NAMES IN THE NEWS:

Clara Lofaro, Ray Caviano, Tom Silverman, Cory Robbins, Steve Plotnicki, Glenn Friscia, Vito Bruno, Tom & Lisa Cuddy, Steve Leeds, John Fugelsang, Jonathan Clarke, Ren Grevatt, Ken Sharp, Peter Robertson, Nate Ruess, David Salidor, Keith Girard, Tyrone Biljian, Jacqueline Boyd, Brad LeBeau, Donnie Kehr, Jim Knapp, Frankie Crocker, Larry Yasgur, Chip.

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