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Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1962-1969

32 customer reviews

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(Nov 23, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Brian Wilson Songwriter 1962 - 1969 is a documentary film in which the rich tapestry of music written and produced by this brilliant 20th century composer is investigated and reviewed. With the main feature running at over three hours in length across two discs, the songs Brian wrote for and recorded with The Beach Boys during the 1960s are here re-assessed to quite startling effect. FEATURES INCLUDE - Historical musical performances and rare and classic recordings re-assessed by a panel of esteemed experts Obscure footage, rare archive interviews and seldom seen photographs Exclusive contributions from fellow Beach Boys, Bruce Johnston and David Marks; Wrecking Crew musicians Carol Kaye and Hal Blaine; friend and Beach Boys manager Fred Vail; producers Russ Titelman and Bill Halverson; Wilson family friends Billy Hinsche and Danny Hutton, biographers Peter Ames Carlin and Domenic Priore and many others Live and studio recordings of many Brian Wilson classics

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Brian Wilson
  • Directors: Chrome Dreams
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Stereo)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sexy Intellectual
  • DVD Release Date: November 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 190 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003Z8ZC7U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,280 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 17, 2010
Format: DVD
Brian Wilson is a musical genius. There isn't any doubt about this former Beach Boy's contribution to music during the 20th century. Over the last several years, there have been several DVD releases covering Brian's work and of the Beach Boys. However, the bulk of these do tend to cover the same exact time period and aspects of his seminal and influential career.

Where is the definitive documentary? Something comparing to the fascinating Keith Badham book, THE BEACH BOYS: THE DEFINITIVE DIARY OF AMERICA'S BAND ON STAGE AND IN THE STUDIO, or Peter Garlin's book, CATCH A WAVE: THE RISE, FALL, REDEMPTION OF THE BEACH BOY'S, BRIAN WILSON.
I'm still waiting for a new documentary, about the making of such under-rated, now - in recent years re-discovered Beach Boy classic albums such as, Friends, Sunflower, Surf's Up, Holland, and Love You. I'm waiting for a definitive documentary about Brian's controversial time with now-defunct pyschotherapist, Dr. Eugene Landy. Where's the documentary, just about the three Wilson brothers?

This new release, BRIAN WILSON: SONGWRITER 1962-1969 treads NO new ground. It continues with the NOW standard Beach Boy/Brian Wilson DVD formula - covering the exact same time period, as all previous DVD's.

Astoundingly ambitious (clocking in at 3 hours), BRIAN WILSON: SONGWRITER 1962-1969 simply polishes up the mythos with excellent technical filmmaking, including Wilson's essential 'Smile' era home demo recording of 'Surf's Up' as the main motif and theme for this release. The film features an almost completely cast of one time Beach Boy insiders and music critics that openly discuss Wilson's musicianship, songwriting, and personality.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By George GMK on November 16, 2010
Format: DVD
How much of a genius was Brian Wilson? You can hear it on Pet Sounds, you can hear it in all his innovative compositions, vocal arrangements, singing and ambition all the way to the long road to finishing Smile decades after it was due. Another way is to understand the long history of Wilson, The Beach Boys, the record industry and the culture in which they arrived and many documentary programs have tried to do this well. None of them have succeeded as well as Brian Wilson - Songwriter: 1962 - 1969, an exceptional work from the U.K. company Sexy Intellectual

Running over three hours (and over two DVDs), the makers have dug deep into every archive they could, interviewed as many key figures as they could, gone through every album the band made with Brian Wilson running things along with the results after he handed over creative control to the rest of the band and an exceptional look at American pop culture and overall history that includes rare footage and audio.

All the original Beach Boys songs have been licensed, as well as other music, including songs Wilson made for other artists. We get more information on the conflict between him and his father, plus more about Capitol Records than you might imagine. Once I started to watch, I could not stop and Beatles fans will want to get this set because there is more Beatles here than usual, but it is the biography of Brian Wilson that is front and center, finally giving the American Treasure his due as the genius he was and still is.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jazz Baby on December 1, 2010
Format: DVD
1. Veteran SoCal socio-musical historian Domenic Priore, sitting alongside a tiki totem beneath a strategically placed orange branch, more than ably launches our story over a wealth of Eastmancolour'd freeway and beach footage, drawing, as only he can, that all-important connection from Gidget to Dick Dale all the way to teenage Brian's Hawthorne, California music room.

2. We see some very cool vintage Four Freshmen footage, and the undeniable influence that quartet's equally cool jazz vocal stylings had on Brian and his Boys, explained to us by none other than First Lady of the Wilsonian Bass Guitar, Carol Kaye.

3. Next, back-to-back clips of Chuck Berry serenading "Sweet Little Sixteen" at The TAMI Show and the young B. Boys themselves belting out their just-released "Surfin' USA" in full deck-swabbing gear illustrate, as thousands of words over the years have til now failed to, why CHUCK'S name is the one listed as composer of the latter hit.

4. Similarly, Inside The Music of Brian Wilson author Prof. Philip Lambert takes to the piano to juxtapose Phil Spector's "Be My Baby" with Brian's equally ingenious "answer" song "Don't Worry, Baby" Phil's former Wrecking Crewman (and Brian's drummer of choice) Hal Blaine gets a little Prison Wall of Sound joke in at his ol' boss' everlasting expense.

5. We get to hear lots of fly-on-the-acoustic-tile recording studio chatter, stretching all the way back to the making of that very first Beach Boy record "Surfin'" itself. Not to mention, I'm afraid, a terrifying example of father / manager / producer Murry "I'm a Genius Too" Wilson putting the psychological screws into Brian's brain at the infamous "Help Me, Rhonda" vocal session (which ended at least one person's career).

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Andrew K on December 30, 2010
Format: DVD
I was very excited to see a new Brian Wilson documentary coming out, focusing on his songwriting from 1962-1969 and clocking in at over 3 hours long. It seemed like the type of in-depth analysis I've been waiting for plus finally some serious discussion of the 4 post-SMiLE 60s albums. I really thought the first disc was great. I'd give it 4 stars. But the second disc only gets 2 stars from me. I must say, though, that it is a very informative and interesting 3 hours. You get new insights by Domenic Priore, Peter Ames Carlin, Fred Vail, David Marks, Bruce Johnston, and more. I really enjoyed the first disc and the setting up of the Beach Boys story. The disc left me with a renewed interest in the early Beach Boys music and a newfound appreciation for what Brian was sharing with us underneath those great vocal tracks. "Surfer Girl," "I Get Around," "Little Deuce Coupe," the story about "Surf City," all good stuff. A nice section is also included about Phil Spector and the Wrecking Crew. Brian's exceptionalism was really laid out nicely here. I was greatly looking forward to the second disc.

Unfortunately the second disc abandons the entire "songwriting" focus and is a retread of familiar "Endless Harmony" and "An American Band" ground. I only recall the songs "Kiss Me Baby" and "God Only Knows" as getting any significant discussion in that area. There is a nice piece on the underrated "In the Back of My Mind," however. "California Girls" is presented to us in a very out-of-sync video which I've seen sync'ed up nicely in previous documentaries. After discussing how great certain "Pet Sounds" tracks are, we listen to them over those silly promo films of the time, which kind of takes away from the seriousness and importance of the music.
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Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1962-1969
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