Once you've been labeled as a genius, you have to continue it or your name becomes mud. I am a victim of the recording industry. I didn't think I was a genius. I thought I had talent. But I didn't think I was a genius.
The Beach Boys were formed by Brian, his brothers Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Brian, who grew up influenced by 1950s rock and roll and jazz-based vocal groups, originally functioned as the band's Songwriter, Producer, co-lead vocalist, Bassist, keyboardist, and de facto leader. He co-wrote, arranged, and produced their LP Pet Sounds (1966), considered one of the greatest albums ever made. The intended follow-up, Smile, was canceled for various reasons, which included Wilson's deteriorating mental health. As he suffered repeated nervous breakdowns, Wilson's contributions to the Beach Boys diminished, and his erratic behavior led to tensions with the band. In the 1970s, he was increasingly reputed for his hermitic lifestyle and substance abuse. Following a court-ordered removal from the care of Psychologist Eugene Landy, Wilson started receiving conventional medical treatment, and in the late 1990s, he began performing and recording consistently as a solo Artist. He remains a member of the Beach Boys' corporation, Brother Records Incorporated.
Recorded by Hite and Dorinda Morgan and released on the small Candix Records label, "Surfin'" became a top local hit in Los Angeles and reached number seventy-five on the national Billboard sales charts. Dennis later described the first time that his older brother heard their song on the radio, as the three Wilson brothers and David Marks drove in Wilson's 1957 Ford in the rain: "Nothing will ever top the expression on Brian's face, ever ... that was the all-time moment." However, the Pendletones were no more. Without the band's knowledge or permission, Candix Records had changed their name to the Beach Boys.
Music producers after the mid 1960s would draw on Wilson's influence, setting a precedent that allowed bands and artists to enter a recording studio and act as producers, either autonomously, or in conjunction with other like minds. The Atlantic's Jason Guriel credits Pet Sounds with inventing the modern pop album, that Wilson "paved the way for auteurs ... anticipat[ing] the rise of the Producer ... [and] the modern pop-centric era, which privileges Producer over Artist and blurs the line between entertainment and art. ... Anytime a band or musician disappears into a studio to contrive an album-length mystery, the ghost of Wilson is hovering near. ... [he was] the first to turn an album into an occasion." In the late 1960s, Wilson also started a trend of "project" recording, where an Artist records by himself instead of going into an established studio.
Wilson and his bandmates, following a set by Ike & Tina Turner, performed their first major live show at the Ritchie Valens Memorial Dance on New Year's Eve, 1961. Three days previously, Wilson's father had bought him an electric bass and amplifier. Wilson had learned to play the instrument in that short period of time, with Al Jardine moving to rhythm guitar. On stage, Wilson provided many of the lead vocals, and often harmonized with the group in falsetto.
Recording sessions for the band's first album took place in Capitol's basement studios in the famous tower building in August 1962, but early on Brian lobbied for a different place to cut Beach Boy tracks. The large rooms were built to record the big orchestras and ensembles of the 1950s, not small rock groups. At Brian's insistence, Capitol agreed to let the Beach Boys pay for their own outside recording sessions, to which Capitol would own all the rights, and in return the band would receive a higher royalty rate on their record sales. Additionally, during the taping of their first LP Brian fought for, and won, the right to be in charge of the production – though this fact was not acknowledged with an album liner notes production credit.
For much of the decade, Brian attempted to establish himself as a record Producer by working with various artists. On July 20, 1963, "Surf City", which he co-wrote with Jan Berry of Jan and Dean, was his first composition to reach the top of the US charts. The resulting success pleased Brian, but angered both Murry and Capitol Records. Murry went so far as to order his oldest son to sever any Future collaborations with Jan and Dean. Brian's other non-Beach Boy work in this period included tracks by the Castells, Donna Loren, Sharon Marie, the Timers, and the Survivors. The most notable group to which Wilson would attach himself in this era would be the Honeys, which Wilson intended as the female counterpart to the Beach Boys, and as an attempt to compete with Phil Spector-led girl groups such as the Crystals and the Ronettes. He continued juggling between recording with the Beach Boys and producing records for other artists, but with less success at the latter—except for Jan and Dean.
From late 1964 to 1979, Wilson was married to Marilyn Rovell, with whom he had daughters Carnie and Wendy, who went on to musical success of their own in the early 1990s as two-thirds of Wilson Phillips. In 1995, Wilson married Melinda Kae Ledbetter, a car saleswoman and former model whom he met in 1986. The couple dated for three years before Eugene Landy put an end to their relationship. The couple reconnected in 1992 and married in 1995. As of 1999, Melinda was also acting as Brian's manager, a job which she said is "basically negotiating, and that's what I did every single day when I sold cars."
Formally diagnosed as a schizoaffective with mild manic depression, Wilson experiences auditory hallucinations that presents itself in the form of disembodied voices. According to him, he began having hallucinations in 1965, shortly after starting to use psychedelic drugs. In recent years, Wilson's mental condition has improved, although he still has auditory hallucinations from time to time. His relationship with his wife and his new regimen of psychiatric care have allowed him to resume his career as a musician. In 1984, Wilson had been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, with doctors finding evidence of brain damage caused by excessive and sustained drug abuse. The paranoid schizophrenic diagnosis, originally made by Landy, was later retracted.
By the time of the universal success of "Good Vibrations", Wilson was underway with his next project, Smile, which Wilson described as a "teenage symphony to God." "Good Vibrations" had been recorded in modular style, with separately written sections individually tracked and spliced together, and Wilson's concept for the new album was more of the same, representing a departure from the standard live-taped performances typical of studio recordings at that time. Having been introduced to Van Dyke Parks at a garden party at Terry Melcher's home, Wilson liked Parks' "visionary eloquence" and began working with him in the fall of 1966. After Wilson famously installed a sandbox and tent in his living room, the pair collaborated closely on several Smile tracks. Conflict within the group and Wilson's own growing personal problems threw the project into terminal disarray. Originally scheduled for release in January 1967, the release date was continually pushed back until press officer Derek Taylor announced its cancellation in May 1967.
Still psychologically overwhelmed by the cancellation of Smile and the imminent birth of his first child Carnie Wilson in 1968 amid the looming financial insolvency of the Beach Boys, Wilson's creative directorship within the band became increasingly tenuous; additionally, cocaine had begun to supplement Wilson's regular use of amphetamines, marijuana, and psychedelics. Shortly after abandoning an intricate arrangement of Kern and Hammerstein's "Ol' Man River" at the instigation of Mike Love, Wilson entered a psychiatric hospital for a brief period of time. Biographer Peter Ames Carlin has speculated that Wilson had self-admitted and may have been administered a number of treatments ranging from talking therapies to doses of Lithium and electroconvulsive therapy during this stay.
Sometime in 1969, Wilson opened a short-lived health food store called The Radiant Radish. The store closed in 1971 due to unprofitable produce expenditures and Wilson's general lack of Business acumen. Reports from this era detailed Wilson as "increasingly withdrawn, brooding, hermitic ... and occasionally, he is to be seen in the back of some limousine, cruising around Hollywood, bleary and unshaven, huddled way tight into himself." This notion was contested by lyricist and close friend Stanley Shapiro. Nevertheless, Wilson's reputation suffered as a result of his purported eccentricities, and he quickly became known as a commercial has-been whom record labels feared. When Shapiro persuaded Wilson to rewrite and rerecord a number of Beach Boys songs in order to reclaim his legacy, he contacted fellow Songwriter Tandyn Almer (whom Wilson would later characterize as his "best friend") for support. The trio then spent a month reworking cuts from the Beach Boys' Friends album. As Shapiro handed demo tapes to A&M Records executives, they found the product favorable before they learned of Wilson and Almer's involvement, and proceeded to veto the idea. Wilson commented in 1976:
In late 1971 and early 1972, he worked on an album for the American Spring, titled Spring, a new collaboration between erstwhile Honeys Marilyn Wilson and Diane Rovell. He was closely involved in the home-based recordings with co-producer David Sandler and Engineer Stephen Desper, and did significant work on more than half of the tracks. As with much of his work in the era, his contributions "ebbed and flowed." According to Dan Peek of America, Wilson "held court like a Mad King as [longtime friend] Danny Hutton scurried about like his court jester" during the ascendant band's engagement at the Whisky a Go Go in February 1972. Concurrently, he contributed to three out of eight songs on Beach Boys' Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" (1972).
Following the cancellation of Smile, the Beach Boys relocated to a studio situated in the living room of Brian Wilson's new mansion in Bel Air (once the home of Edgar Rice Burroughs), where the band would primarily record until 1972. This has been perceived by some commentators as "the moment when the Beach Boys first started slipping from the vanguard to nostalgia." Throughout mid-to-late 1967, Wilson oversaw the production of only a few heavily orchestrated songs holding continuity with his Pet Sounds and Smile work, such as "Can't Wait Too Long" and "Time to Get Alone". Wilson's interest in the Beach Boys began to wane. Carl explained: "When we did Wild Honey, Brian asked me to get more involved in the recording end. He wanted a break. He was tired. He had been doing it all too long."
Wilson spent a great deal of the two years following his father's June 1973 death secluded in the chauffeur's quarters of his home; sleeping, abusing alcohol, taking drugs (including heroin), overeating, and exhibiting self-destructive behavior. He attempted to drive his vehicle off a cliff, and at another time, demanded that he be pushed into and buried in a grave he had dug in his backyard. During this period, his voice deteriorated significantly as a result of his mass consumption of cocaine and incessant chain smoking. Wilson later said that he was preoccupied with "[doing] drugs and hanging out with Danny Hutton" (whose house became the center of Wilson's social life) during the mid-1970s. John Sebastian often showed up at Wilson's Bel Air home "to jam" and later recalled that "it wasn't all grimness." Although increasingly reclusive during the day, Wilson spent many nights at Hutton's house fraternizing with Hollywood Vampire colleagues such as Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop, who were mutually bemused by an extended Wilson-led singalong of the folk song "Shortnin' Bread"; other visitors of Hutton's home included Vampires Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and Keith Moon. Micky Dolenz recalls taking LSD with Wilson, Lennon, and Nilsson, where Wilson "played just one note on a piano over and over again". On several occasions, Marilyn Wilson sent her friends to climb Hutton's fence and retrieve her husband.
During summer 1974, the Capitol Records-era greatest hits compilation Endless Summer reached number 1 on the Billboard charts, reaffirming the relevance of the Beach Boys in the popular imagination. However, recording sessions for a new album under the supervision of Wilson and James william Guercio at Caribou Ranch and the band's studio in Santa Monica that autumn yielded only a smattering of basic tracks, including a banjo-driven arrangement of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"; "It's O.K.", an uptempo collaboration with Mike Love; the ballad "Good Timin'"; and Dennis Wilson's "River Song". Eventually, Wilson diverted his attentions to "Child of Winter", a Christmas single co-written with Stephen Kalinich; released belatedly for the holiday market on December 23, it failed to chart.
Marilyn and the Wilson family were dismayed by Brian's continued deterioration and were reluctant to payroll him as an active partner in the touring Beach Boys (an arrangement that had persisted for a decade). They enlisted the services of radical therapist Eugene Landy in October 1975. Landy diagnosed Brian as paranoid schizophrenic (a diagnosis later retracted), and the treatment prompted a more stable, socially engaged Brian whose productivity increased again. The tagline "Brian's Back!" became a major promotional tool for the new Beach Boys album 15 Big Ones, released to coincide with their fifteenth anniversary as a band as a mixture of traditional pop covers with newly written original material. The record was released in the summer of 1976 to commercial acclaim and, despite lukewarm reviews, peaked at number 8 on the Billboard album chart. Brian returned to regular stage appearances with the band, alternating between piano and bass, and made a solo appearance on Saturday Night Live in November 1976; to the chagrin of the other Beach Boys, Producer Lorne Michaels stipulated Brian's exclusive performance.
Brian was under Landy's care for fourteen months until December 1976, when the therapist was dismissed for a dispute on his monthly fee. Throughout the next several years, Brian vacillated between periods of relative stability (writing or co-writing eight of the twelve tracks on 1978's poorly received M.I.U. Album) and resurgences of his addictions. During this period, Marilyn and Brian amicably divorced in 1979 due to the strain of his erratic behavior on their family. He repeatedly checked in and out of hospitals and continued to be plagued by incessant mood swings. At one point, he wandered off alone for several days and was sighted at a gay bar playing piano for drinks. For a short period in 1978, he lived as a vagrant in Balboa Park, San Diego until police officers took him to Alvarado Hospital for alcohol poisoning. Brian's role in the band, as well as the Beach Boys' commercial prospects, began to diminish once more. By 1982, Brian was immersed in debt, owing the government tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes.
Brian expressed a fervent Desire to leave the group and record a solo album in this period but could not, due to conflicts that it would create between him and the group, leading him to remark, "Sometimes I feel like a commodity in a stock market." He was also firm in that he wanted to record another work on par with the achievement of Pet Sounds. In April 1977, the all-original Brian album Love You was released bearing the Beach Boys moniker, although the group's contributions were minimal. It was described by Brian as an attempt to relieve himself from mental instability brought on by a period of inactivity. Love You has since been cited as an early work of synthpop. The album features playful lyrics (alternately invoking Johnny Carson, Phil Spector, and adolescent interests) and stark instrumentation (featuring Moog bass lines and gated reverb-drenched drum patterns reflective of contemporaneous work by David Bowie and Tony Visconti). Although Love You only reached number 53 on the Billboard chart, it was lauded as an artistic watershed by many critics, including punk rock lodestar Patti Smith (writing for Hit Parader) and Robert Christgau of The Village Voice.
After Brian overdosed on a combination of alcohol, cocaine, and other psychoactive drugs, Landy was once more employed, and a more radical program was undertaken to try to restore Brian to health. This involved removing him from the Beach Boys on November 5, 1982 at the behest of Carl Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine, in addition to isolating him from his family and friends in Hawaii, and putting him on a rigorous diet and health regimen. According to Carolyn Williams, Brian refused to see Landy: "They told him that the only way that he could be a Beach Boy again, and the only way they would release his 1982 tour disbursement money, was if he would agree to see Dr. Landy. Brian started yelling that he didn't like Dr. Landy and that [Landy] was charging him $20,000 a month the last time. He was willing to see anybody to get the weight off, but he didn't want to see Landy. And they said, 'Well, no, you have to see Dr. Landy. That's the only way.'" Landy described the program that he accorded Brian in The Handbook of Innovative Psychotherapies:
Despite the critical success of his debut solo album, rumors abounded that Wilson had either suffered a stroke or had been permanently disabled due to excessive drug use. The actual Problem was that Wilson, who had been prescribed massive amounts of psychotropic drugs by Landy's staff since 1983, had developed tardive dyskinesia, a neurological condition marked by involuntary, repetitive movements, that develops in about 20 percent of patients treated with anti-psychotic drugs for an extended period of time. During recording of the Brian Wilson album, engineering staff had observed what seemed to be "every pharmaceutical on the face of the earth," referring to the Medicine bag Landy was using to store Wilson's prescription drugs. In order to dispel these claims, Landy separated from Brian Wilson in 1989 to prove that Wilson could function independently. However, they remained supposed Business partners. Wilson's proposed second solo album under the direction of Landy, titled Sweet Insanity, was rejected by Sire in 1990.
Coupled with long, extreme counseling sessions, this therapy was successful in bringing Brian back to physical health, slimming down from 311 pounds (141 kg) to 185 pounds (84 kg). As Brian's recovery consolidated, he rejoined the Beach Boys for Live Aid in 1985 and participated in the recording of the Steve Levine-produced album The Beach Boys. Brian stopped working with the Beach Boys on a regular basis after the release of the album, largely due to the control that Landy exercised. Eventually, Landy's therapy technique created a Svengali-like environment for Brian, controlling every movement in his life, including his musical direction. In the mid 1980s, Landy stated, "I influence all of [Brian]'s thinking. I'm practically a member of the band ... [We're] partners in life." Brian later responded to allegations with, "People say that Dr. Landy runs my life, but the truth is, I'm in charge."
His honors include being inducted into the 1988 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and winning Grammy Awards for Brian Wilson Presents Smile (2004) and The Smile Sessions (2011). In lists published by Rolling Stone, Wilson ranked 52 for the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" in 2008 and 12 for the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time in 2015. In 2012, music publication NME ranked Wilson number 8 in its "50 Greatest Producers Ever" list, elaborating "few consider quite how groundbreaking Brian Wilson's studio techniques were in the mid-60s". He is an occasional actor and voice actor, having appeared in television shows, films, and other artists' music videos. His life was dramatized in the 2014 biopic Love & Mercy.
Having missed out on the Beach Boys' 27th studio album Summer in Paradise, Wilson returned to the Beach Boys for sporadic recording sessions and live performances during the early to mid-1990s. Working with collaborators Andy Paley and Don Was, the sessions were reported to have been tenuous. It had also been discussed that Wilson and the Beach Boys would work with Sean O'Hagan of the High Llamas on a comeback album for Wilson and the Beach Boys. All projects collapsed, and instead, Wilson was involved with the 1996 Beach Boys album Stars and Stripes Vol. 1: a group collaboration, backing country music artists singing lead vocals of Beach Boys' standards.
An ostensible memoir, Wouldn't It Be Nice: My Own Story, was published in 1991. In the book, whose authorship is still debated, Brian Wilson spoke about his troubled relationship with his abusive father Murry, his private disputes with the Beach Boys and his lost years of mental illness. In 1992, for an unrelated court case, Wilson testified that he had never read the book. Landy's illegal use of psychotropic drugs on Wilson, and his influence over Brian Wilson's financial affairs, were legally ended by Carl Wilson and other members of the Wilson family after a two-year-long conservatorship battle in Los Angeles. Landy's misconduct led to the loss of his California psychology license, as well as a court-ordered removal and restraining order from Brian.
Wilson is the subject of the documentary films I Just Wasn't Made for These Times (1995) and Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of Smile (2005). He is also the theme of several tribute albums.
In 1998, he teamed with Chicago-based Producer Joe Thomas for the album Imagination. Following this, he received extensive vocal coaching to improve his voice, learned to cope with his stage fright, and started to consistently perform live for the first time in decades. This resulted in Wilson successfully performing the entire Pet Sounds album live throughout the US, UK and Europe. In 1999, Wilson filed a suit against Thomas, seeking damages and a declaration which freed him to work on his next album without involvement from Thomas. The suit was made after Thomas allegedly began to raise his industry profile and wrongfully enrich himself through his association with Wilson. Thomas reciprocated with a suit citing that Melinda Wilson "schemed against and manipulated" him and Wilson. The case was settled out of court. Wilson's third solo album Gettin' In Over My Head (2004) featured collaborations with Elton John, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and brother Carl, who died of lung cancer in February 1998.
In 1999, when asked if he was a religious man, Wilson responded: "I believe in Phil Spector," later clarifying that while he had spiritual beliefs, he did not follow any particular religion, also adding that he believed "music is God's voice". When asked by The Guardian in 2004 if he believed in life after death, Wilson replied "I don't."
Whether Wilson truly consents to his semi-regular touring schedule since the 2000s is a subject of debate among fans. In 2011, after speaking to some of Wilson's acquaintances, biographer Jon Stebbins speculated that "Working in the studio and especially touring is not really his choice. His handlers, managers, and wife insist that he work. It's all a bit Landy-like when you look behind the curtain." Although Wilson often says that he enjoys touring, Stebbins writes of a "recent interview [where he was asked] what he disliked the most about touring, Brian replied that it was going on stage and performing. ... Upon hearing Brian say that, his 'handler' quickly reminded Brian, through a fake smile, that he loved performing".
With his mental health on the mend, Wilson decided to revisit the aborted Smile project from 1967. Aided by musician and longtime fan Darian Sahanaja of Wondermints, and lyricist Van Dyke Parks, Wilson reimagined the session material into something that would work in a live context. His work was finally revealed in concert on February 20, 2004, 37 years after it was conceived, though he later stated that the finished product was substantially different from what was originally envisioned. Wilson debuted his 2004 interpretation of Smile at the Royal Festival Hall in London and subsequently toured the UK. Following the tour, Brian Wilson Presents Smile was recorded, and released in September 2004. The release hit number 13 on the Billboard chart. At the 47th Grammy Awards in 2005, Wilson won his first Grammy for the track "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" as Best Rock Instrumental. In 2004, Wilson promoted Brian Wilson Presents Smile with a tour of Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
In December 2005, Wilson released What I Really Want for Christmas for Arista Records. The release hit number 200 on the Billboard chart, though sales were modest. Wilson's remake of the classic "Deck the Halls" became a surprise Top 10 Adult Contemporary hit. He appeared in the 2005 holiday episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, performing "Deck the Halls" for children with xeroderma pigmentosum (hypersensitivity to sunlight) at Walt Disney World Resort.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pet Sounds, Wilson embarked on a brief tour in November 2006. Beach Boy Al Jardine accompanied Wilson for the tour.
Wilson released That Lucky Old Sun in September 2008. The piece originally debuted in a series of September 2007 concerts at London's Royal Festival Hall, and in January 2008 at Sydney's State Theatre while headlining the Sydney Festival. Wilson described the piece as "... consisting of five 'rounds', with interspersed spoken word." A series of US and UK concerts preceded its release. On September 30, 2008, Seattle's Light in the Attic Records released A World of Peace Must Come, a collaboration between Wilson and Stephen Kalinich, originally recorded in 1969, but later lost in Kalinich's closet.
The official Beach Boys release of the original, partially completed Smile recordings was overseen by Wilson for the compilation, titled The Smile Sessions, released on October 31, 2011.
In October 2011, Jardine reported that the Beach Boys would reunite in 2012 for 50 American dates and 50–60 overseas dates. The Beach Boys released their new album, That's Why God Made the Radio, on June 5, 2012. The album's title track was released as its first single in April 2012. The new album debuted at Number 3 on the Billboard charts which was their highest album debut to date. Following the reunion a year later, it was announced that Wilson would no longer tour with the band as Mike Love returned the lineup to its pre-Anniversary Tour configuration with him and Bruce Johnston as its only members.
On June 6, 2013, Wilson's website announced that he was recording and self-producing new material with Guitarist Jeff Beck, session musician/producer Don Was, as well as fellow Beach Boys Al Jardine, David Marks, and Blondie Chaplin. On June 20, the website announced that the material might be split into three albums: one of new pop songs, another of mostly instrumental tracks with Beck, and another of interwoven tracks dubbed "the suite" which initially began form as the closing four tracks of That's Why God Made The Radio. In January 2014, Wilson confirmed that he did not write any new material with Beck, that Beck was just a guest musician on songs he wrote and nothing the duo recorded together would appear on his upcoming album.
In 2014, Wilson's life was dramatized in the biopic Love & Mercy, directed by Bill Pohlad. It stars John Cusack as Brian Wilson during the 1980s and Paul Dano as Brian Wilson during the 1960s; supported by Paul Giamatti as Eugene Landy and Elizabeth Banks as Wilson's second wife Melinda.
Almost two years after recording began, Wilson released his eleventh solo album, No Pier Pressure, on April 7, 2015. The thirteen track album (a deluxe edition containing three bonus tracks was also released) features many guest appearances including Al Jardine, David Marks and Blondie Chaplin. Fun’s Nate Ruess, She & Him’s Zooey Deschanel and M Ward, Capital Cities’ Sebu Simonian, along with Kacey Musgraves and Peter Hollens. Earlier in January 2015, Wilson contributed vocals to Mini Mansions' single "Any Emotions" from the album The Great Pretenders. On September 17, 2015, Wilson announced that he would play a November 4 benefit concert as part of a new partnership with the Campaign to Change Direction. Proceeds from the concert will go to provide free mental health services to veterans.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, Wilson embarked on the Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary World Tour in April 2016. It was promoted as his final performances of the album. An autobiography titled I Am Brian Wilson, co-written by ghostwriter Ben Greenman, was published in October 2016. That same month, Wilson announced a new album, Sensitive Music for Sensitive People, comprising originals and rock and roll cover songs. He describes the name as a "working title", and that recording would begin in December 2016.
During the Pet Sounds sessions, Wilson had been working on another song, which was held back from inclusion on the record as he felt that it was not sufficiently complete. The song "Good Vibrations" set a new standard for Musicians and for what could be achieved in the recording studio. Recorded in multiple sessions and in numerous studios, the song eventually cost $50,000 (equivalent to $377,128 in 2017) to record within a six-month period. In October 1966, it was released as a single, giving the Beach Boys their third US number-one hit after "I Get Around" and "Help Me, Rhonda". It sold over a million copies.
Wilson is infamously difficult to interview, rarely ever giving a long answer. According to Salon Writer Peter Gilstrap: "He’s also been known to get up, extend a hand and blurt out 'Thanks!' well before the allotted time is up. And sometimes he just gets tired and shuts down. None of this, however, is due to a bad attitude." He admits to having a poor memory, and in interviews, occasionally lies to "test" people. David Oppenheim, who interviewed Wilson in 1966, remembers that "we tried to talk with him but didn't get much out of him. Some guy said 'He's not Verbal.' He was odd and he seemed odder." In 2017, the Charlotte Observer's Theodon Janes surmised that while Wilson's past struggles with mental illness are widely documented, he still "is faring well enough to write a book [I Am Brian Wilson] ... and to headline [a] hugely ambitious concert tour, so presumably he’s capable of telling people who work for him that he's not up for interviews, if he isn't." When asked about negative comments written in the book, Love responded: "He’s not in charge of his life, like I am mine. His every move is orchestrated and a lot of things he's purported to say, there’s not tape of it. But, I don’t like to put undue pressure on him, either, because I know he has a lot of issues. Out of compassion, I don't respond to everything that is purportedly said by him."