Although it’s probably necessary to sugar-coat some of the darker parts of Brian Wilson’s life for your kids, there’s no doubt that it’s also necessary to celebrate and recognize this extremely talented member of The Beach Boys on his birthday. Hey, if Paul McCartney gets a birthday shout-out, then it’s only fair that Brian Wilson does, too. [photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment]
It’s hard to believe that he’s turning 71 today. It feels like yesterday that he was crooning out — and writing, for the most part — top-40 hits like “409” and “Surfin’ USA”. But even before he was a heartthrob member of a boy band, Wilson’s natural affinity for music was clear: At a very young age — and by “very young” we mean before he was one — Wilson could repeat the melody of “When the Caissons Go Rolling Along” back to his father. He couldn’t talk. He couldn’t walk. But he could pick up a melody like nobody’s business. If that’s not a case for innate talent, folks, we don’t know what is. Moms: Keep an eye on your kids. Give them a wooden spoon and saucepan and see if anything happens. Watch out for your eardrums, though. Searching for a musical prodigy is not exactly a walk in the park.
Wilson is most well-known for his Beach Boys career, but his solo work is pretty impressive, too. “Pretty impressive” is a slight — major — understatement, but we don’t want him reading this and getting conceited or anything. Brian Wilson, his debut solo album — bet you didn’t see that coming — was released in 1988 after Wilson’s recovery from, well, a lot of things.
In recent years, you’ve probably seen Wilson in the public eye thanks to The Beach Boys’ 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour. Or because he plans to release his 11th solo album soon. Sure, he’s 71. Yes, he first started his love affair with music 70 years ago. But does that mean he’s done? Not even close. Happy birthday, Brian Wilson!