Friday, April 16, 2010

"Brian Wilson" - The Barenaked Ladies

Many people are probably familiar with the song "Brian Wilson" by the The Barenaked Ladies, but few probably know the orgin behind it. The song chronicles the infamous breakdown of The Beach Boy's legend - Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson with Eugene Landy
In the early 1970's the The Beach Boy's lead singer/song-writer, Brian Wilson, had relinquished much of the creative control and input he had with the band. He spent 3 years sitting in his bedroom over-eating, taking drugs and sleeping. By 1975 Wilson's wife hired a controversial therapist - Eugene Landy to help Wilson.


Landy fired Wilson from The Beach Boys, isolated him from his friends and family by relocating him to a remote island in Hawaii, and took complete control over every aspect of Wilson's life. Landy allegedly co-write Wilson's solo album, charged him astronomical fees (upwards of $35,000/month + incidentals) and even had himself included in Brian's will.  Landy was ultimately charged with violating ethics and moral codes and surrendered his license. This incident became one of the biggest music scandals of all time.

Steven Page channeled Brian Wilson

Coincidentally The Barenaked Ladies vocalist/guitarist, Steven Page, wrote the song on his 20th Birthday while he was holed up like a hermit in his parents basement. In the song he muses, "I'm lying in bed, Just like Brian Wilson did." Wilson eventually got wind of the song and asked The Barenaked Ladies if "it was cool" that he covered it.  On his way out of the meeting he offered the band one piece of advice, "don't eat too much." He re-arranged the song A Capella and performed it at some of his shows.


Drove downtown in the rain nine-thirty on a Tuesday night,
just to check out the late-night record shop.
Call it impulsive, call it compulsive, call it insane,
but when I'm surrounded I just can't stop.

It's a matter of instinct, it's a matter of conditioning,
it's a matter of fact.
You can call me Pavlov's dog.
Ring a bell and I'll salivate. How'd you like that?
Dr. Landy tell me you're not just a pedagogue,
cause right now I'm

Chorus
Lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did
Well I'm lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did.

So I'm lying here, just staring at the ceiling tiles.
and I'm thinking about what to think about.
Just listening and relistening to Smiley Smile,
and I'm wondering if this is some kind of creative drought
because I am

Chorus

And if you want to find me I'll be out in the sandbox,
wondering where the hell all the love has gone.
Playing my guitar and building castles in the sun,
and singing "Fun, Fun, Fun."

Chorus

I had a dream that I was three hundred pounds
and though I was very heavy,
I floated 'til I couldn't see the ground
I floated 'til I could not see the ground
Somebody help me, I couldn't see the ground
Somebody help me, I couldn't see the ground
Somebody help me because I'm
Chorus

Drove downtown in the rain nine-thirty on a Tuesday night.
Just to check out the late-night record shop.
Call it impulsive, call it compulsive, call it insane;
but when I'm surrounded I just can't stop.

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