Picks and Pans Review: Catch a Wave
By Peter Ames Carlin
REVIEWED BY PORTER SHREVE
David Crosby once called Brian Wilson the most highly regarded musician in America. Paul McCartney declared Wilson’s “God Only Knows” the greatest song ever written. But despite being labeled a genius for performing and writing the layered harmonies that made the Beach Boys superstars, Wilson has spent much of his life struggling. Acutely sensitive and saddled with a controlling manager-father, he sank into addiction and depressions that stalled his promised masterpiece, SMiLE, for decades. Wave follows Wilson from top of the charts in ’63 to besotted in ’75 to unburdened, though still fragile, in 2004, after SMiLE was an acclaimed hit. Journalist Carlin (formerly a PEOPLE writer) interviewed the surviving Beach Boys, including Wilson—who lives in Beverly Hills and still performs—and had access to hours of unreleased recordings. His book is both a first-rate biography and a compelling social history about a generation’s loss of innocence.