Put aside all of the rumors you've ever heard about Brian Wilson. This is his story, told for the first time in his own words: it's recommended for both Beach Boys fans and anyone who has an interest in the musical legacy of the 1960s. Recommended By Ashleigh B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"[A] charming and powerfully written memoir that will engage a readership beyond the multitude of Beach Boys fans…Despite his fame and success, Wilson comes off as a genuinely modest and gentle soul…Wilson’s emotional authenticity is beguiling as he takes readers deeply into his mind, voices and all, to describe his unique manifestation of musical genius." Publishers Weekly
"1960s Beach Boy on mental illness, sorrow, drugs, destabilization, demons, turbulence and discord." New York Post
"I Am Brian Wilson slipstreams through the past like a message in a bottle…It has moments of personal testimony that are poignant and indelible." Vanity Fair
About the Author
Brian Wilson, best known for his work with the Beach Boys, is one of popular music’s most revered figures. The main creative force behind some of the most cherished recordings in rock history and one of the most influential composers of the last century, Wilson became a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2007. A father of seven, he lives with his wife in Beverly Hills, California.
Ben Greenman is a contributing writer to the New Yorker and a New York Times bestselling author who has written both fiction and nonfiction. He collaborated with Questlove on the hip-hop memoir Mo’ Meta Blues, and he cowrote George Clinton’s memoir Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You? He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.