Photo from The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds photo shoot by George Jerman at San Diego Zoo, California in February 1966. Clockwise from Top Left: Carl Wilson, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Dennis Wilson (in front). © Capitol Photo Archives Ben Greenman took a dangerous gamble in co-writing I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir. The former New Yorker writer presented this autobiography of the chief Beach Boy as a disjointed narrative that jumps from topic to topic in a series of short, stilted sentences that reveal an astonishing naïveté. Greenman laid himself open to charges of rankly incompetent writing. In fact, what he has done is a remarkable achievement. He has captured Brian’s voice perfectly. As someone who has interviewed Brian on numerous occasions, I can testify to that. Just as importantly, Greenman has teased out of Brian’s short attention span, forgetfulness and unsophisticated worldview the kind of detail and nuance that has often been absent from this much-told story. Wilson’s autobiography is just one of four books about the Beach Boys that have come out over the past 18 months. Mike Love’s Good Vibrations: My Life As Beach Boy is the other high-profile publication. But fascinating in their own way are Kent Crowley’s Long Promised Road: Carl Wilson, Soul Of The Beach Boys and James B. Murphy’s Becoming The Beach Boys. “Sometimes memories come back to me when I least expect them,” Brian tells Greenman in the book. “Maybe that’s the only way it works when you’ve lived the life I’ve lived: starting a band with my brothers, my cousin and my high school buddy that was managed by my father; watching my... Sign In to Keep Reading
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