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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Universal Music Canada
  • Release Date: Nov. 30 2010
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • ASIN: B003Z8ZC7U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,914 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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more into the life and mind of a genius
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9f5ada44) out of 5 stars 34 reviews
55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f8ef75c) out of 5 stars SONGWRITER 1962-1969 WONDERFULLY DONE, BUT NO REAL NEW INSIGHTS Oct. 17 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: DVD
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.
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f8a2b58) out of 5 stars in depth profile of a true musical genius Nov. 16 2010
By George GMK - Published on
Format: DVD
How much of a genius was Brian Wilson? You can hear it on Pet Sounds, you can hear it in all his innovative compositions, vocal arrangements, singing and ambition all the way to the long road to finishing Smile decades after it was due. Another way is to understand the long history of Wilson, The Beach Boys, the record industry and the culture in which they arrived and many documentary programs have tried to do this well. None of them have succeeded as well as Brian Wilson - Songwriter: 1962 - 1969, an exceptional work from the U.K. company Sexy Intellectual

Running over three hours (and over two DVDs), the makers have dug deep into every archive they could, interviewed as many key figures as they could, gone through every album the band made with Brian Wilson running things along with the results after he handed over creative control to the rest of the band and an exceptional look at American pop culture and overall history that includes rare footage and audio.

All the original Beach Boys songs have been licensed, as well as other music, including songs Wilson made for other artists. We get more information on the conflict between him and his father, plus more about Capitol Records than you might imagine. Once I started to watch, I could not stop and Beatles fans will want to get this set because there is more Beatles here than usual, but it is the biography of Brian Wilson that is front and center, finally giving the American Treasure his due as the genius he was and still is.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f59ba20) out of 5 stars 10 Reasons why this is the last Brian Wilson documentary you need ever watch Dec 1 2010
By Jazz Baby - Published on
Format: DVD
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" 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
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa37760c0) out of 5 stars Worth the money Nov. 27 2010
By David Beard - Published on
Format: DVD
By David M. Beard
Editor and Publisher of Endless Summer Quarterly; The World's Leading Brian Wilson/Beach Boys Publication

For years Brian Wilson/Beach Boys fans have been exposed to mostly over-exaggerated and misdirected storylines filled with hyperbolae regarding Brian Wilson. More often than not documentaries have focused more on Brian's shortcomings of drug abuse and mental illness as opposed to his amazing musical gifts and the way he altered the course of popular music forever. Brian Wilson Songwriter 1962 - 1969 brings into focus Wilson's studio fortitude and compositional genius.

More importantly, the tightly edited chronology of Brian's life is articulated with thorough firsthand accounts by David Marks, Bruce Johnston, Danny Hutton, Hal Blaine, Carole Kaye, Billy Hinsche and Fred Vail. The third-party interviewees - Domenic Priore, Peter Ames Carlin and Philip Lambert - perfectly balance history, opinion and musical composition.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this particular release is having David Marks tell of Brian's early success and Bruce Johnston's reflections on Brian's career-defining work in 1966, which together create an aptly honed storyline. While this documentary doesn't exactly reveal anything new, it does provide the viewer with a better understanding of a magical era when Brian Wilson reigned supreme.

This will make an important addition to any collection.

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f8aa348) out of 5 stars Mixed Bag Dec 30 2010
By Andrew K - Published on
Format: DVD
I was very excited to see a new Brian Wilson documentary coming out, focusing on his songwriting from 1962-1969 and clocking in at over 3 hours long. It seemed like the type of in-depth analysis I've been waiting for plus finally some serious discussion of the 4 post-SMiLE 60s albums. I really thought the first disc was great. I'd give it 4 stars. But the second disc only gets 2 stars from me. I must say, though, that it is a very informative and interesting 3 hours. You get new insights by Domenic Priore, Peter Ames Carlin, Fred Vail, David Marks, Bruce Johnston, and more. I really enjoyed the first disc and the setting up of the Beach Boys story. The disc left me with a renewed interest in the early Beach Boys music and a newfound appreciation for what Brian was sharing with us underneath those great vocal tracks. "Surfer Girl," "I Get Around," "Little Deuce Coupe," the story about "Surf City," all good stuff. A nice section is also included about Phil Spector and the Wrecking Crew. Brian's exceptionalism was really laid out nicely here. I was greatly looking forward to the second disc.

Unfortunately the second disc abandons the entire "songwriting" focus and is a retread of familiar "Endless Harmony" and "An American Band" ground. I only recall the songs "Kiss Me Baby" and "God Only Knows" as getting any significant discussion in that area. There is a nice piece on the underrated "In the Back of My Mind," however. "California Girls" is presented to us in a very out-of-sync video which I've seen sync'ed up nicely in previous documentaries. After discussing how great certain "Pet Sounds" tracks are, we listen to them over those silly promo films of the time, which kind of takes away from the seriousness and importance of the music. And most of all, after all this discussion on how brilliant the studio recording of "Good Vibrations" was, they don't play it. Instead we get that horrible TV-show version where the guys are in front of the giant blue screen. And no mention, or audio samples, of Brian's vocal arrangements. I thought for sure that they would give some vocals-only "California Girls" or "Wouldn't It Be Nice" to let the viewer experience that side of the process.

It was nice to hear Bruce talking about how SMiLE would have been great and giving "Smiley Smile" some credit. The discussion on how there was more to early Beach Boys music than meets the eye was also welcome and nice to see. The analysis on how the changes of the 60s left the Beach Boys behind was clear and powerful. The sections on "Pet Sounds" and "SMiLE" were just so long that, as predicted, the other albums get slighted. "Wild Honey" and "Friends" are discussed briefly, but positively. The only songwriting that gets discussed is how Brian wrote "Darlin" for Danny Hutton and then Mike took it back. No mention of "20/20" at all. I was hoping to hear some talk on "Busy Doin Nothing," "Let the Wind Blow," "I Went to Sleep," "Time to Get Alone," or any number of songs from the time. We don't get anything. They deny the legend that Brian was laying in bed all of 1968 and 1969, but their lack of attention on those 2 years seem to suggest that Brian wasn't nearly as productive as he actually was.

Overall I still find this an entertaining, insightful, and worthy addition to your Beach Boys/Brian Wilson collection. I know I'll watch it many more times. I learned new things and I appreciate all the work that went into this documentary. It fills in some holes and helps advance the story in several areas. But maybe it needs another hour to hit those important things that were missed. "Pet Sounds" and "SMiLE," though including some very important and effective commentary, were probably handled better in "Endless Harmony" and Brian's A&E Biography (which I highly recommend).


One thing I forgot to include in my review: This is also the first place I've ever seen public discussion on whether "Sloop John B" should have been included on "Pet Sounds" or not. Bruce Johnston says it doesn't fit, Peter Aimes Carlin says it does. The song is said in the film to have been recorded during the sessions for "Summer Days" and Bruce says he didn't know why "Sloop John B" wasn't included on that album instead. This is very easily explained and the filmmakers didn't bring it up. "Summer Days" was released on July 5th, 1965. The instrumental backing for "Sloop John B" wasn't recorded until July 12th, which is a week after that album came out. (Therefore it's not from those sessions and its exclusion is not a mystery.) Furthermore, vocals for "Sloop John B" weren't even recorded until December 22 and 29 of that year. Over 5 months after the backing track was in the can.