Brian Wilson, the singer-songwriter who co-founded surf pop rock pioneers The Beach Boys, is undoubtedly one of the most influential composers of the last century.
Formed in California back in 1961, the Beach Boys brought combined their dreamy harmonies with the formation of surf rock and pop themes, tapping into the southern California youth culture of the era.
Wilson, who wrote or co-wrote well over two dozen Top 40 hits for the group, is widely considered to be among the most innovative and significant of the late 20th century. While his lyrics are rightly revered as some of the greatest of time, it was Wilson’s multi-tasking musicianship which paved the way for the band’s success.
Dennis Wilson, the Beach Boys drummer, co-founded and brother of Brian, was once famously quoted as saying: “Brian Wilson is the Beach Boys. He is the band. We’re his fucking messengers. He is all of it. Period. We’re nothing. He’s everything.”
Often referred to as “genius” of his field, Wilson successfully experimented with various if different types of production, the musician cultivated his skills from an early age and ended up repeatedly played around with concepts of jazz, rock and roll, doo-wop, R&B and more.
What ensued was major commercial and critical success, bouncing off the success of The Beatles as two of rock music’s most influential bands not only recorded at the same time, but directly influenced each other in the process. Between the 1960s and 2010s, the Beach Boys had over 80 songs chart worldwide and sold over 100 million records worldwide.
Numerous splits and tours later, Wilson has been battling mental health issues but continuing to tour Beach Boys material the world over. To celebrate the album’s 50th anniversary recently, Wilson played a series of festivals around the globe and did so to yet more sell out crowds. As part of those anniversary celebrations, Wilson sat down with Esquire to list what he considers to be his top 10 favourite records of all time.
“With a Little Help from My Friends….,” he says after predictably adding The Beatles iconic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to his list, the first of three to be included. When discussing Rubber Soul, the sixth studio album released by the Liverpool group, Wilson added: “The John and Paul combination in certain songs just blew me away.”
Perhaps not shy to celebrate his own success, Wilson includes three different Beach Boys records as part of his selected list of album. View the full collection, below.
Brian Wilson’s 10 favourite albums of all time:
- Randy Newman – Sail Away
- The Beatles – Rubber Soul
- Three Dog Night – Seven Separate Fools
- The Four Freshmen – Four Freshmen and Five Trombones
- The Beach Boys – Friends
- Phil Spector – A Christmas Gift for You
- The Beach Boys – Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
- The Beach Boys – Wild Honey
- The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
- The Rolling Stones – Between the Buttons
“Friends says it all… And we were,” Wilson said somewhat nostalgically about the Beach Boys’ 14th studio album.
“’Salt Lake City’ is an absolute rocker, which stands the test of time,” he added in reference to a number on Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!).