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fromDa Capo Press

I Am Brian Wilson

A Memoir

By Brian Wilson, Ben Greenman

They say there are no second acts in American lives, and third acts are almost unheard of. That's part of what makes Brian Wilson's story so astonishing.

As a cofounding member of the Beach Boys in the 1960s, Wilson created some of the most groundbreaking and timeless popular music ever recorded. With intricate harmonies, symphonic structures, and wide-eyed lyrics that explored life's most transcendent joys and deepest sorrows, songs like "In My Room," "God Only Knows," and "Good Vibrations" forever expanded the possibilities of pop songwriting. Derailed in the 1970s by mental illness, drug use, and the shifting fortunes of the band, Wilson came back again and again over the next few decades, surviving and-finally-thriving. Now, for the first time, he weighs in on the sources of his creative inspiration and on his struggles, the exhilarating highs and the debilitating lows.

I Am Brian Wilson reveals as never before the man who fought his way back to stability and creative relevance, who became a mesmerizing live artist, who forced himself to reckon with his own complex legacy, and who finally completed Smile, the legendary unfinished Beach Boys record that had become synonymous with both his genius and its destabilization. Today Brian Wilson is older, calmer, and filled with perspective and forgiveness. Whether he's talking about his childhood, his bandmates, or his own inner demons, Wilson's story, told in his own voice and in his own way, unforgettably illuminates the man behind the music, working through the turbulence and discord to achieve, at last, a new harmony.
Brian Wilson, best known for his work with the Beach Boys, is one of popular music's most revered figures. The main creative force behind some of the most cherished recordings in rock history and one of the most influential composers of the last century, Wilson became a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2007. A father of seven, he lives with his wife in Beverly Hills, California.
BrianWilson.com

Ben Greenman is a contributing writer to the New Yorker and a New York Times bestselling author who has written both fiction and nonfiction. He collaborated with Questlove on the hip-hop memoir Mo' Meta Blues and he cowrote George Clinton's memoir Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You? He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.
A New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly Best Seller!

Vanity Fair, September 2016
I Am Brian Wilson slipstreams through the past like a message in a bottle…It has moments of personal testimony that are poignant and indelible.”

New York Post, 8/11/16
“1960s Beach Boy on mental illness, sorrow, drugs, destabilization, demons, turbulence and discord.”

Booklist, 9/1/16
“Music journalist Greenman helps keep this meandering memoir coherent and poignant.”

CNN.com, 8/24/16
“Plenty of authors have written about this Beach Boy and now he'll get his say.”

Rolling Stone, 9/8/16
“Wilson tells his own story: his battles with his abusive father, the pressure to score hits in the Sixties, and his long struggle with mental illness.”

Billboard, 9/3/16
“Wilson delves into his battle with mental illness and how he created the band's pioneering sound.”

Publishers Weekly, 9/12/16
“[A] charming and powerfully written memoir that will engage a readership beyond the multitude of Beach Boys fans…Despite his fame and success, Wilson comes off as a genuinely modest and gentle soul…Wilson’s emotional authenticity is beguiling as he takes readers deeply into his mind, voices and all, to describe his unique manifestation of musical genius.”

No Depression, 9/16/16
“Wilson's memoir offers a more sober glance at the spiritual and physical forces that haunt artists and that often drive them to produce the beautiful, sad, and relentlessly affecting music we often embrace…Wilson's memoir eventually grabs us at a deeper level than Love's. If you're looking for fun, fun, fun, pick up Love, but if you're searching for a more introspective, in my room, experience, pick Wilson.”

Canadian Living, 9/22/16
“In this tell-almost-all memoir, Brian Wilson candidly reflects on his struggles with family, substance abuse and mental illness and digs deep into the inspiration and meaning behind his music. It's a must-read for any fan of The Beach Boys—or the '60s pop scene, in general—with big-name music icons of the era (Phil Spector, Carole King, Paul McCartney) featuring in many of the stories.”

Rolling Stone, 9/27/16
“Excellent…I Am Brian Wilson is soulful and earnest—like spending quality time with a gentle sage with an endearingly erratic attention span…Wilson is heartbreakingly blunt about his mental breakdowns and suffering at the hands of his father. He has startling insights into the music.”—Rob Sheffield

Time magazine, 9/29/16
“Disarmingly personal.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/29/16
“When you read his new memoir…you’ll get an even deeper exploration into the mental illness and the rebound, the villains and heroes in his life.”

Wall Street Journal, 9/30/16
“As plain-spoken as its title. Here the band’s presiding genius wanders over the terrain of his life as a son, father, husband and supremely gifted musician…Tell[s] us much that we didn’t know…Suggest[s] how we might best view the artistic life—any life, really.”

Loud and Quiet, October 2016
“In I Am Brian Wilson, Wilson is unflinching in his rendering of the euphoric highs and chaotic lows that have made up the last seven decades. His and the Beach Boys’ story has been told many
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