In 1961, brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine first brought the “California Sound” to radio waves around the world. Now, 55 years later (and on the 50th anniversary of the release of “Good Vibrations”), Brian Wilson and Mike Love have opened up about the secrets, lies and rivalries behind one of the most popular bands in music history in two competing memoirs.
In I Am Brian Wilson, Wilson discusses what drove him towards a career in music, and what threatened to derail that career entirely. “My story is a music story and a family story and a love story, but it’s a story of mental illness, too,” he writes in the prologue, alluding to his schizophrenia diagnosis after years of experimental drug use.
Wilson also breaks down his (and the other band members’) fractured relationship with father and former manager, Murry Wilson. Controlling and obsessed with perfection, Murry’s vocal disapproval in all aspects of Brian’s life continued to haunt Brian well after he passed away, bringing about his son’s spiral into mental illness and substance abuse. “The story of my dad is the big can of worms because it’s connected to everything else,” Brian explains.
Love uses his memoir as an outlet to air all his grievances against the band, his family, and the world. “For those who believe that Brian walks on water, I will always be the Antichrist,” he writes, despite claiming, “I’ve never been competitive with Brian.”
Whether you side with Wilson or Love, both their memoirs are must-reads for any Beach Boys fan, packed with never-before-seen personal photos and incredible anecdotes.
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