A fallen genius has risen up from the flames
Wilson's trip to the dark side resulted in the best pop ever made -- but mental torment for its creator, says Barry Egan
Brian Wilson is the sublime shaman of popular music. He invented a new sound -- a genre all his own. You couldn't help but smile hearing his music, his harmonies, his songs like Help Me, Rhonda, Surfin' USA and California Girls. He brought good vibrations in a breathless, almost messianic way that Westlife or Take That would never understand with their upbeat melodies.
He described his Sixties masterpieces as "symphonies to God".
We're talking about mom-ents of harmony-drenched pop-beauty like Surf's Up and God Only Knows. As author Barney Hoskyns wrote of the Beach Boys' still-mesmeric 1965 lustrous masterpiece Pet Sounds: "Everyone knew that Brian had crossed some invisible line between pop ephemerality and genuine musical brilliance."