Yesterday, I heard an NPR review of the latest Beach Boys box set, Made in California. The review was honest, fair, and somewhat somber. Thoughts of the Beach Boys' music is usually anything but somber, but a critical view of their 51 years as a band leaves one thinking about those early bloomers that we all have known-- like the basketball player who (arriving at 6' tall in the 8th grade while everyone else is 5'6") dominates for a season or two and then spends the next four years in athletic decline.
As the review wrapped up, and I pondered what could have been if Brian Wilson had remained well and able to develop as a creative artist, I again felt a little mournful for the band whose sound projected fun, but whose story reflects tragedy. I thought about their influence on Mike Roe who wrote a tribute of sorts with his band-mates in The Lost Dogs. I thought about the incredible blog post Ben Shive wrote two years ago about Smile for the Rabbit Room. I thought about the hundreds of times that I've sung along with those harmonies and smiled. All that to say, Merry Christmas, Brian Wilson. Thank you and the rest of the band for giving America 51
years of music to enjoy.