On the George Gershwin/Brian Wilson Collaboration

George Gershwin. Brian Wilson. Together again, for the first time.

I read comic books. Of course I’m going to use that hoary cliche, “together again, for the first time,” when describing a unique collaboration between George Gershwin, dead since 1937, and the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson.

Collaboration, you say? What’s this?

Wilson will be finished some uncompleted Gershwin pieces for an upcoming album.

Todd Gershwin, George’s great-nephew and a trustee of the George Gershwin family trusts, said a collection of several dozen song fragments, ranging from “a few bars to some almost finished songs and everything in between” had been sitting virtually untouched for more than seven decades. He and other trustees began reaching out in the last year or two to find contemporary artists who might be interested in completing those musical bits and pieces.

Wilson, who says “Rhapsody in Blue” is his earliest musical memory, said the pieces he’s working with are very likely to remain as instrumentals, and that they could easily wind up as three-minute pop songs. But he’s also holding open the possibility of expanding them to more substantive pieces.

Wilson said many of them aren’t easy to evaluate.

“I can’t decipher the verse from the chorus from the bridge,” he said, “so I’m going to try to insert some new music into them. I might even write some music for an introduction.”

This has cool written all over it. Not potentially cool. Cool cool. It’s like the use of Gershwin’s “Summertime” in Elbow’s “The Bones of You,” but amped up to 11.

George Gershwin and Brian Wilson, together again for the first time. I’m looking forward to this already…

And on a completely different note, it amuses me to no end that the label president of Walt Disney Records is named David Agnew. Doctor Who fans (or fans of British television in general) may find the humor in that as well. :spock:

2 thoughts on “On the George Gershwin/Brian Wilson Collaboration

  1. i hope that it’s brian doing all the music and then dishing out the parts to the band – i.e., no one else ghost writing parts for/with him like TLOS and the transitions on SMiLE.

    it could turn out to be a BW classic and amazing music … or it could be bland and uninspired if the trademark BW zaniness is snuffed out, which i think it will be, or at least toned down

  2. I didn’t know Brain Wilson used ghost writers for lucky old sun and the transitions on SMiLE. I know that on lucky old sun that he had help from that guy from the Wondermints, and Van Dyke on SMile but I’m not aware of any other help. Do you have any references for this statement?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *