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Brian Wilson's latest recalls 'Beach' days

From Correspondent Ron Tank

Web posted on: Thursday, July 02, 1998 4:45:05 PM EDT

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- A quick sampling of the new CD "Imagination" brings to mind the tight harmonic chords of the Beach Boys. That's no coincidence, because the music is by "Beach Boy" Brian Wilson.

"Imagination" is Wilson's first solo album of new material in more than a decade. Although singer Jimmy Buffet appears on the album, most of the music is straight from Wilson and co-producer Joe Thomas.

Hear a short clip from "Imagination": 286k WAV audio file

Wilson performed live with the Beach Boys for only four years, before deciding to turn his attention to writing and producing

On his own

"I did all the vocal tracks myself. Now the thing is, when I was with the Beach Boys the different kinds of throats made a different kind of sound, but when you use the same throat five times, that's five of the same, it's gonna be more clear, more concise," says Wilson.

While the Beach Boys recorded dozens of hits, Wilson performed with the group for just four years before deciding to limit his work to writing and producing for the band.

In 1967, "Pet Sounds" became Wilson's and the Beach Boys most celebrated album.

"'Pet Sounds is, I think, the most loving album I think I've ever heard," Wilson says. "I say to myself, 'How could I put that much love on a record or an album?'"

Brian's brother Carl died recently from lung cancer

A new life

Although at the height of his musical career, Wilson's personal life was sinking. Drug use and a legal battle over the control of Wilson's career overshadowed his work. Now drug-free and in a new marriage, Wilson says he's back on track.

"My personal life is, of course, my wife and my babies and they're the biggest inspiration of all," He says. "As a matter of fact, that's the reason this album was made ... because of my wife and my daughters. I dedicated it to them and to Carl, who died."

Wilson's brother Carl died of lung cancer last February, 15 years after his brother Dennis drowned, leaving the on-stage Beach Boys without a Wilson brother for the first time since the group was founded in 1961.

Wilson got some help for his track "South American" from Jimmy Buffett

'I knew I would make music'

"Well, as long as Mike and Bruce and Al can pull it off and can still entertain people, I guess it's OK," he says, referring to the remaining Beach Boys. "It's not ever gonna be the same without Carl, but what can you do."

What Wilson did was create new music, a combination of the past and present. He calls it "Imagination."

"When I was a kid, I knew one day I would make music," he recalls. "I could feel it in my mind, in my soul."

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