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Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson Paperback – June 26, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
In this exhaustive tome, former People magazine writer Carlin chronicles the lives of the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson. By now the Wilson story is well-known, and Carlin doesn't stray much from the script: Wilson's abuse at the hands of his cantankerous father, Murry; his decline into depression; his drug use; and the band's slide from the top of the charts, singing about surfing and fast cars, to the depths of despair and, ultimately, Wilson's redemptive 2004 release of Smile. While the major beats of the story may not be news to fans, Carlin's comprehensive research adds an entirely welcome perspective. Based on numerous primary interviews, and parsing through hundreds of hours of unreleased studio tape, he succeeds in rendering an immediate and often heart-wrenching look at both the psychological abuse and the artistic muse that prodded Wilson to greatness and paralyzing depression. In one memorable passage drawn from the studio session tape, Carlin renders the torment endured by Wilson at the hands of his father during the recording of the hit "Help Me, Rhonda." It is moments like these, mixed in with Carlin's sober insights, that raise this effort a cut above the standard rock biography. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The near-miraculous appearance of Smile in 2004, 37 years after Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson abandoned that ambitious concept album, has opened the door for another biography of rock's most notoriously troubled genius. To a great extent, Wilson's life is the Beach Boys life. He dominated the band, writing and producing virtually all the hits of its early 1960s heyday, before drugs and mental problems sidelined him. Carlin perforce covers the Beach Boys' rise, fall, and subsequent resurrection as a nostalgia act, as well as their internecine feuds, keenly poignant because the key band members were brothers and cousins. Yet, having enjoyed the cooperation of his subject, he sensitively and compassionately focuses on Brian; and having heard hundreds of hours of unreleased recordings and interviewed many of Brian's collaborators and associates, including the surviving Beach Boys, he emphasizes the music. A Beach Boys fan before he was a senior writer at People (he's since moved on), Carlin proves the ideal person to pen a highly readable and substantive book on this particular rock legend. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
In this aspect the book was good. In the movie Dr. Landy was portrayed as totally evil, but in the book it is clear that Landy saved Wilson's life, getting him off drugs and getting him to lose over 100 pounds and back writing music, when all other options had failed. It was also interesting to read about the rise of the Beach Boys. Brian's father Murry was similarly portrayed entirely evil in the movie, but, again, it is clear that the Wilson brothers' interest in singing came through their father's interest and at least early on, Murry, as their manager, fought tooth and nail for his sons' musical career.
Although this book is possibly the best book out there on Brian Wilson, while I was reading it there was just something that left a bad taste in my mouth that I had a hard time identifying, until later on in the book: Carlin's tone throughout the book is almost as if he is part of the Brian Wilson media promotion. Supposedly, Carlin is an independent newspaper reporter who followed Brian Wilson for a while before writing this book, but, honestly, aside from Wilson's remake of Smile in 2004, most of Wilson's musical output after 1967 is pretty darn mediocre, and if weren't for his past greatness, I'm not sure many people could bare listening to more than a song or two....but you wouldn't know this by the way Carlin writes.
A review of another book on Brian Wilson slams that book because all it talks about is the endless infighting and internecine lawsuits. Carlin's book goes light on the lawsuits, but certainly at least gives us the minimum without making the lawsuits the majority of the writing.
If you get a chance make sure to see some online video's of Brian Wilson talking and being interviewed to get a better idea of how mentally "damaged" he is. Diane Sawyer interviewed him and Dr. Landy in 1991. You've got to see this. The actor in the movie did a great job, but there's nothing like seeing Dr. Evil himself.
Lastly, before you read this book, buy a copy of "Brian Wilson Presents Smile" or the 1967 "Smile Sessions". Your life will never be the same.