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Brian Wilson

Songwriter 1969-1982 DVD

Review by Diane Hill

The Beach Boys hits in the 60s were mostly composed by Brian Wilson. In the early 70s his mental health started to decline and his drug use escalated. The band had already started to decline with their 14th album Friends, released in 1968, not even making it into the top 100. Brian Wilson's brother Carl Wilson took over as leader when Brian Wilson became incapacitated. In fact, Brian Wilson didn’t leave his bedroom for two years due to clinical depression. The Wilson's had a domineering father, Murray, who pressured the band to produce more hits, further hastening his son’s decline into depression. He wasn't totally silent during his bedroom exile. He composed "A Day in the Life of a Tree" which chronicled his poor mental state and his tortured psyche.

Brian Wilson's Randy Newman influenced voice in 1972 left his fans disheartened. The dark Album Sail Away is said to be bereft of life but tells what he was going through. In 1973 his dad, who was damaging yet stabilizing, died. This caused the further decline of Brian Wilson. This revealing DVD tells of his wife bringing in psychologist Eugene Landy to bring Brian Wilson "back.” He was able to do that but he nearly killed him in the process. Under Landy's influence Wilson was off drugs and writing songs again. Landy was eventually fired by Mike Love.

This DVD is a must-see for any Beach Boys fan as it reveals what was going on behind the scenes that led to the decline of the band that brought us "surfer" music.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at

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