53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Brian Wilson is a musical genius. There isn't any doubt about this former Beach Boy's contribution to music during the 20th century. Over the last several years, there have been several DVD releases covering Brian's work and of the Beach Boys. However, the bulk of these do tend to cover the same exact time period and aspects of his seminal and influential career.
Where is the definitive documentary? Something comparing to the fascinating Keith Badham book, THE BEACH BOYS: THE DEFINITIVE DIARY OF AMERICA'S BAND ON STAGE AND IN THE STUDIO, or Peter Garlin's book, CATCH A WAVE: THE RISE, FALL, REDEMPTION OF THE BEACH BOY'S, BRIAN WILSON.
I'm still waiting for a new documentary, about the making of such under-rated, now - in recent years re-discovered Beach Boy classic albums such as, Friends, Sunflower, Surf's Up, Holland, and Love You. I'm waiting for a definitive documentary about Brian's controversial time with now-defunct pyschotherapist, Dr. Eugene Landy. Where's the documentary, just about the three Wilson brothers?
This new release, BRIAN WILSON: SONGWRITER 1962-1969 treads NO new ground. It continues with the NOW standard Beach Boy/Brian Wilson DVD formula - covering the exact same time period, as all previous DVD's.
Astoundingly ambitious (clocking in at 3 hours), BRIAN WILSON: SONGWRITER 1962-1969 simply polishes up the mythos with excellent technical filmmaking, including Wilson's essential 'Smile' era home demo recording of 'Surf's Up' as the main motif and theme for this release. The film features an almost completely cast of one time Beach Boy insiders and music critics that openly discuss Wilson's musicianship, songwriting, and personality.
Quickly, the film does give mention to the production of one of Beach Boy's most under-rated albums, Friends. It's just enough to get you interested then it leaves. The key stand-out here is on screen commentary from perhaps, the ultimate Beach Boys expert, Dominic Priore. Beach Boy die hards will appreciate his poignant comments on Wilson's career. Priore has been writing about Wilson and the Beach Boys for perhaps the longest, with his work going back the late 80's with his uber important print release covering the lost 1966-67 'Smile' album sessions, buzz, speculation and press coverage, 'LOOK, LISTEN, VIBRATE, SMILE.'
The packaging in which the film comes with is wonderful. A gatefold DVD, cardboard print that features classic images of Wilson in studio, during production of the greatest album of all time, 1966's Pet Sound's .
Overall, while this presentation features nothing new, it's a fresh reminder of Wilson's enigma that will hopefully keep him on the hearts and minds of his fans. BRIAN WILSON: SONGWRITER 1962-1969 is a great place for Wilson newbies to start their music education, and provide die hard Wilson collector's another DVD for their Wilson/Beach Boy's library. Buy it.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
1. Veteran SoCal socio-musical historian Domenic Priore, sitting alongside a tiki totem beneath a strategically placed orange branch, more than ably launches our story over a wealth of Eastmancolour'd freeway and beach footage, drawing, as only he can, that all-important connection from Gidget to Dick Dale all the way to teenage Brian's Hawthorne, California music room.
2. We see some very cool vintage Four Freshmen footage, and the undeniable influence that quartet's equally cool jazz vocal stylings had on Brian and his Boys, explained to us by none other than First Lady of the Wilsonian Bass Guitar, Carol Kaye.
3. Next, back-to-back clips of Chuck Berry serenading "Sweet Little Sixteen" at The TAMI Show and the young B. Boys themselves belting out their just-released "Surfin' USA" in full deck-swabbing gear illustrate, as thousands of words over the years have til now failed to, why CHUCK'S name is the one listed as composer of the latter hit.
4. Similarly, Inside The Music of Brian Wilson author Prof. Philip Lambert takes to the piano to juxtapose Phil Spector's "Be My Baby" with Brian's equally ingenious "answer" song "Don't Worry, Baby" ...as Phil's former Wrecking Crewman (and Brian's drummer of choice) Hal Blaine gets a little Prison Wall of Sound joke in at his ol' boss' everlasting expense.
5. We get to hear lots of fly-on-the-acoustic-tile recording studio chatter, stretching all the way back to the making of that very first Beach Boy record "Surfin'" itself. Not to mention, I'm afraid, a terrifying example of father / manager / producer Murry "I'm a Genius Too" Wilson putting the psychological screws into Brian's brain at the infamous "Help Me, Rhonda" vocal session (which ended at least one person's career).
6. Why, we even get to hear Winterreise by Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe used in the very same sentence as Pet Sounds !
7. Three Dog Night tripper Danny Hutton, however, has an even better word for all this: "Marijuana!!"
8. Original Beach Boy David Marks talks about all the treble Capitol Records liked to put on the band's Fender guitars, while current Beach Boy Bruce Johnston talks about all the trouble Capitol Records liked to put Brian Wilson through whenever he dared stray from his original musical sun-n-fun formula.
9. Which reminds me: Brian's most note-worthy by far collaborator Van Dyke Parks is shown in the old Tower Records parking lot off Sunset Strip circa 1976 in an attempt to explain why Mike Love never could get a lyric such as "Over and over the crow flies uncover the cornfield" in to his head, let alone out of his mouth.
10. And, as if the Seventies weren't cruel enough already to all concerned, we end with lifelong Beach Boy friend, confidante, and concert promoter Fred Vail still, forty years later, shedding a righteous tear recalling how he failed to get the band's "Add Some Music To Your Day" single added to a powerful East Coast radio station playlist back in the daze because, he was told, "The Beach Boys aren't hip anymore."
Needless to say said programme director - not to mention his station (and Top 40 radio in general) - is long long gone, Fred for one survives to tell this and many other poignant Beach Boy tales and, of this there can be NO doubt, Brian Wilson's magical melodies are poised to enter their second half-century of faithful, never disappointing service to one and all.
This magnificent 190-minute, two-DVD package, and the fine cast of musicians, historians, and Wilson pals and players therein, do a most remarkable job in explaining to us exactly why. It should indeed be considered Required Viewing by all who still love to add good vibes to their days