Friday, 23 November 2012

Under The Influence: Brian Wilson

Lennon and McCartney are fantastic. They turn out so much good material. They're very melodic – they rely on melody and harmony rather than beat. They will simplify to it's skeletal form and arrangement where I would be impelled to make it more complex. Like Norwegian Wood, with it's one voice and a sitar. I would have orchestrated it – put in background voices – done a thousand thing. But the fact that the Beatles can do things with such simplicity is what makes them so good.

We recognised that the Beatles had cut Rubber Soul, and I really wasn't quite ready for it's unity – it felt like it all belonged together. [The American version of] Rubber Soul was like a folk album by the Beatles that somehow went together like no album ever made before, and I was very impressed. I had to go [into the studio] and experiment with sounds. I really felt challenged to do it – and I followed through with it [on Pet Sounds].

Brian Wilson in Charles L. Granata: I Just Wasn't Made For These Times (p. 71-2)

The Beach Boys covered I Should Have Known Better, Tell Me Why and You've Got To Hide Your Love Away on the 'Beach Boy's Party' album.

Why wasn't Brian Wilson as successful as Lennon & McCartney?
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  1. One of my favourite songwriters talking about my favourite band.

    In some cases I think that Brian was possibly trying to compete too much, which led to his problems. The Beatles and The Beach Boys are two different bands, with Brian Wilson and George Martin being different producers as well.

    The work that Brian did with The Beach Boys was a more layered approach because it worked for them. It suited the group. Despite a lot of people talking about the production and everything with The Beatles, for the most part it started with a good live performance guide track.

    That is when the better sounding material of The Beatles works, whereas Brian would sweat for even months with The Wrecking Crew (a great group of session musicians) in the studio honing perfection ready for the deliriously amazing vocals of the group themselves to come in.

  2. I take your point Marv, but I think it's cos Brian was doing most of the heavy lifting himself...