I Am Brian Wilson

I Am Brian Wilson

A Memoir

eBook - 2016
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They say there are no second acts in American lives, and third acts are almost unheard of. That's part of what makes Brian Wilson's story so astonishing.

As a cofounding member of the Beach Boys in the 1960s, Wilson created some of the most groundbreaking and timeless popular music ever recorded. With intricate harmonies, symphonic structures, and wide-eyed lyrics that explored life's most transcendent joys and deepest sorrows, songs like "In My Room," "God Only Knows," and "Good Vibrations" forever expanded the possibilities of pop songwriting. Derailed in the 1970s by mental illness, drug use, and the shifting fortunes of the band, Wilson came back again and again over the next few decades, surviving and-finally-thriving. Now, for the first time, he weighs in on the sources of his creative inspiration and on his struggles, the exhilarating highs and the debilitating lows.

I Am Brian Wilson reveals as never before the man who fought his way back to stability and creative relevance, who became a mesmerizing live artist, who forced himself to reckon with his own complex legacy, and who finally completed Smile , the legendary unfinished Beach Boys record that had become synonymous with both his genius and its destabilization. Today Brian Wilson is older, calmer, and filled with perspective and forgiveness. Whether he's talking about his childhood, his bandmates, or his own inner demons, Wilson's story, told in his own voice and in his own way, unforgettably illuminates the man behind the music, working through the turbulence and discord to achieve, at last, a new harmony.
Publisher: New York : Da Capo Press, 2016
ISBN: 9780306823077
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Greenman, Ben
Call Number: eBook

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Sep 10, 2019

I have always liked the music of the Beach Boys. And, it is no secret that Brian Wilson was the major driving force behind writing most of the band's biggest hit songs of the 1960s and early 1970s.

But, with that said - I found this autobiography by Wilson to be a less-than-inspiring read. It seems that Wilson has had to deal with a lot of issues revolving around depression in his life. And, the tone in which he has written this book could only be described by me as being a total "downer".

I, personally, wish that Wilson had chosen someone (other than himself) who was qualified to write the details of his life-story in a more up-lifting light. Anyway - That's the way it is from my perspective. Read "I Am Brian Wilson" for yourself and see what you think.

Jun 22, 2019

As I write this review, it is January 6, 2017 and this is by far the best book I've read this year. I know, it's only the 6th day of the year but I cannot recomend this book enough. It's hard to review Brian's book and not compare it to Mike Love's "Good Vibrations", which I read earlier last year so my apologies in advance. While both books are very informative and are filled with incredible little known things about the Beach Boys, "I Am Brian Wilson" is a much more enjoyable read. Mike Love's book made him seem so arrogant, the way he was always giving himself credit for pretty much everything that went right. Brian is more humble. Not once did I read a negative word about anyone, even about his father who was known to have been incredibly strict and abusive toward his sons.
The main thing I loved about this book was that it was unlike any other autobiography I've ever read. It skips around... a LOT. One minute he's talking about the 60's and the next he's talking about the 80's. He moves from being on stage with the Beach Boys to walking home from school with Dennis and Carl. He mentions his mental illness quite a bit, which probably contributes to the rapid change of subject matter, but I could imagine sitting with him and listening to him talk randomly about his life, going from subject to subject as the images came to him. Surprisingly, it wasn't confusing at all and in fact made his story more interesting.
Another thing I loved is that this book is laugh out loud funny! I don't know if it was meant to be, but there's something about the way it's written. Some of the things he says reminded me of a student who is learning to write stories. The perfection is not quite there but you get what he's saying and it's worded in such a funny way.
There are parts of this book that made me a little emotional and it's clear to me now how much he misses his brothers, Carl and Dennis. I wish he would have talked more about how he met his wife Melinda (Unless I just missed that part), but he is very candid about most things that happened to him in his life. There are a few other things I wish I had learned about such as the infamous "Lost Concert" and his apparent falling out with Mike Love.
I learned a great deal about his music and I'm surprised that he put out more albums than I imagined, a lot of them solo albums. He mentions big stars in this book, which I really loved and I also loved that he mentioned my city of Seattle not once but twice as having visited here to do a concert.
All in all I loved this book and I love all the music references and the lyrics that are included. I definitely plan on buying this in the future so that I can read it again.

Feb 23, 2019

This is not a book about the Beach Boys but focuses mainly on Wilsons solo career. He claims that the first time he tried LSD he started hearing threatening voices which have stayed with him all his life. HIs struggle with mental illness is constant throughout the book and to a large extent determines his music and personal relationships. There is an excellent discography at the end.

Dec 24, 2017

Not that long ago, I watched a documentary-DVD about #1 Beach Boy, Brian Wilson called "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times". At the time of this presentation Wilson was 53 years old. And it was very plain to see by what one was shown that Wilson was (indeed) a very troubled and unhappy man, to say the least.

Now (20 years later and Wilson being 74 years old) - Our ultimate Beach Boy delivers this much-anticipated autobiography, making it quite obvious that neither his troubles, nor his unhappiness has improved one bit over all that time.

And, so - I ask you - Would it be any surprise if I were to say that I was tres disappointed (indeed) by the apathetic, lack-lustre, and bored fashion in which Wilson told his life's story?

Anyway - In conclusion - I'd like to say that I have always enjoyed much of the Beach Boys' music. And, with that in mind - I, for one, think that Brian Wilson certainly owed his fans a more lively bit of storytelling than the likes of what he gave here in "I Am Brian Wilson".

And, because of that - I can only give this book just a below-average rating, at best.

Oct 19, 2017

This is one of the most moving autobiographies that I have ever read. Brian Wilson, who is one of music's geniuses has finally written HIS story. I've read several books on him before this. Brian verifies many of the stories that I have read or heard, but clarifies others. And he does it with a kind and loving heart.

Jun 09, 2017

For someone who had drug and alcohol problems not to mention a possible mental breakdown, his memory is amazing. He recalls detailed relationships regarding girlfriends, marriages and the influences on him as a songwriter. He also writes about the troubled relationship with his father.

After reading the book, I still don't understand what happened with Dr Landy. WIlson writes that he was not only Dr Landy's patient but much of his life was under the strict control of the doctor.

I was disappointed Brian did not write more of his relationships with the band and his brothers. Especially since his brothers Carl and Dennis are now gone.

Feb 10, 2017

This is a really great book with lots of Brian zingers and a humble appreciation of his strengths and weaknesses and his continuing love of music and all its possibilities.

Feb 03, 2017

Its gonna be a great read.
Loooking forward to reading Brian's memoirs.

Dec 29, 2016

Brian hits one out of the park. If you know, or even love The Beach Boys you'll NEED to read this book. He is eloquent in his storytelling. Lots of tidbits from the recording studio, and of course the psychiatrist's couch. Interesting that the stories we think we know about Brian doesn't really pan out according to Brian. This book is all the wonderful and not so wonderful moments you didn't know. Songwriters take note - there's a lesson or two in this book for future rock stars as well. You'll be humming Beach Boy songs all week. I wonder if Mike Love's book measures up. We shall see...read on surfer girls and surfer guys...


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