Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin in the Style of The Beach Boys
An elegant finish on the unfinished, or what the Gatsby era has to do with surfer culture.
By Maria Popova
In the 1920’s, George Gershwin engendered America’s love affair with popular jazz, composing some of the most prolifically covered and memorable melodies of all time. In the 1960’s, The Beach Boys cemented the nation’s matrimony to rock music, providing a soundtrack for the era and carving their way into popular culture as “America’s band.” Spearheaded by singer-musician-composer Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys suffered a tragic demise as Wilson’s mental illness and drug abuse led him to withdraw from the band, shortly followed by the death of two of the other band members, but their legacy of summertime rock and close vocal harmonies inspired generations of musicians to come. (Wilco, The Flaming Lips and Fleet Foxes, we’re looking at you.)
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin is both an epic comeback for the iconic Beach Boy and a beautifully executed homage to the legendary jazz composer. The album reinvents twelve of the Gershwin Brothers’ most timeless classics in the signature style of The Beach Boys, a remarkable ripple in the space-time continuum as two music culture titans converge.
The most priceless part of the album are the two rare, unfinished Gershwin pieces, which Wilson crafted into incredible collaborative compositions — The Like in I Love You and Nothing But Love. (On a marginally curmudgeonly aside, why is virtually all music about love? Don’t people have better things to do with their life of the mind? Humph.)
Other highlights include I’ve Got a Crush on You and an absolutely fantastic rendition of Summertime.
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin is out today and an invaluable chance to own a page of tomorrow’s music history books.
Published August 17, 2010