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- DescriptionBrian Wilson is a musical genius. Ever since British press agent Derek Taylor launched a publicity campaign with that theme to promote the landmark LP Pet Sounds in 1966, some variation of that claim has been obligatory when discussing the significance of the Beach Boys' founder and chief composer. Originally designed to liberate Wilson from his outmoded image as a purveyor of sun-and-surf teen pop so the symphonic sophistication of his music might be properly appreciated, the assertion has been repeated so often in the forty-plus years since as to render it virtually meaningless. Indeed, if anything, the label today seems an albatross around the man's neck, inasmuch as Wilson's slow-but-steady reemergence as a working musician since 1998 after three decades of mental illness and drug abuse, has been freighted with expectations that he again produce something as epochal as Good VibrationsA to justify the adoration he inspires in impassioned defenders. Brian Wilson interrogates this and other paradigms that stymie critical appreciation of Wilson's work both with the Beach Boys and as a solo artist. This is the first study of Wilson to eschew chrology in favor of a topical organization that allows discussion of lyrical themes and musical motifs outside of any prejudicial presumptions about their place in the trajectory of his career. The meanings of Brian Wilson's work have tended to be determined by the well-kwn storyline of his rise, fall, and redemption.A From abused child to seemingly unstoppable hit-maker to eccentric with a living-room sandbox to the 300-pound Orson Wells of rockA to the heavily medicated Icarus figure with the full-time Svengali psychiatrist to his current incarnation as a fragile, elder-statesman survivor, Brian Wilson has, quite simply, lived the most celebrated bizarre life in pop music. Its sheer Shakespearean proportions have overshadowed a beauty and gentleness of spirit that is as vibrant in Farmer's DaughterA (1963) as it is in recent efforts such as Live Let LiveA (2008). While one would disagree that Wilson peakedA in 1966 with Pet Sounds his current CD, That Old Lucky Sun (2008), finds him creating beautiful music steeped in Americana that deserves discussion on its own terms rather than as a coda to the accomplishments of his gold-record youth.
- Author BiographyKirk Curnutt is Professor of English at Troy University, Montgomery, Alabama. He is the author of a number of works of fiction and scholarly books including, most recently, Key West Hemingway (University Press of Florida, 2009), The Cambridge Introduction to F. Scott Fitzgerald (Cambridge University Press, 2007), A Historical Guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald (Oxford University Press, 2004) and the forthcoming Reading Hemingway's To Have and Have Not: Glossary and Commentary (Kent State University Press, 2011).
- Author(s)Kirk Curnutt
- PublisherEquinox Publishing Ltd
- Date of Publication01/04/2012
- SubjectMusic & Dance
- Series TitleIcons of Pop Music
- Place of PublicationLondon
- Country of PublicationUnited Kingdom
- ImprintEquinox Publishing Ltd
- Content Note12 black and white photos
- Weight249 g
- Width138 mm
- Height214 mm
- Spine15 mm
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