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January 2005

H.E.A.R. Honors Brian Wilson

Wilson is one of pop's most influential one of music's most revered figures. Starting in 1961 in his family living room in Southern California, Wilson, his two younger brothers Dennis and Carl, cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine first came together to create what would become the quintessential soundtrack to the California Dream — and more than two dozen Top 40 hits, including "Surfer Girl," "I Get Around," "Don't Worry Baby," "Fun, Fun, Fun," and "California Girls." By 1966, the Beach Boys emerged as America's preeminent pop group and also proved to be one of the best-produced groups of the '60s thanks to Wilson's continually evolving studio proficiency. It was this legacy that resulted in the Beach Boys' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

By the mid-'60s, Wilson opted not to tour with the Beach Boys to focus solely on studio productions. In 1966, he produced three records that would forever change the course of pop music. The first was Pet Sounds, his musical autobiography, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest albums ever made. The second record was the worldwide No. 1 single "Good Vibrations," a "pocket symphony" deemed one of the seminal singles of all time. His third creation was Smile, a collection of songs that combined classical composition, multipart harmonies, rock rhythms and an avant-garde sensibility, which unquestionably became one of the most anticipated works ever. However, a combination of circumstances, both personal and professional, forced Wilson to shelve the project — and during the subsequent 37 years, Smile became the most famous unfinished, unreleased album in music history.

Throughout the '70s, '80s and '90s, Wilson continued to write, record and produce sonic masterpieces, with the Beach Boys, as a solo artist, and in collaboration with other musicians ("Til I Die," "Love & Mercy," Orange Crate Art with Van Dyke Parks, Brian Wilson, I Just Wasn't Made For These Times, Imagination, Gettin' In Over My Head ); and in 2000, he was inducted by Paul McCartney into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Even as he battled personal demons and professional ups and downs, he never lost sight of his "holy grail" — Smile . Finally, in 2003, Wilson and his chief Smile collaborator Van Dyke Parks reunited to complete the work, which has been greeted with enthusiastic response from both fans and critics alike.

Earlier this year, Wilson and his band performed Smile to sold-out audiences across Europe, recorded an all-new studio version of the album, and then toured the U.S. Since its release this past September, Smile has garnered rave reviews and already is topping 2004 year-end critics' lists.

Wilson gives generously of his time and talent to worthwhile causes that are near and dear to his heart and the music community. His philanthropic efforts are evident in his ongoing support (through concerts and private donations) of the Carl Wilson Foundation for cancer research (his younger brother succumbed to the disease in 1998), as well as performances at the Adopt-A-Minefield benefit (appearing with Paul McCartney) and Neil Young's Bridge School concert (which raises funds to help ensure that individuals with severe speech and physical impairments achieve full participation in their communities through the use of augmentative and alternative means of communication and assistive technology).

GRAMMY-nominated composer Brian Wilson will be honored as the MusiCares 2005 Person Of The Year at a special tribute dinner, concert and silent auction to be held Feb. 11 in Los Angeles. Wilson will be awarded for his accomplishments as a musician, humanitarian and philanthropist.


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