TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Brian Wilson,
Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology

While there are any number of Beach Boys Best-of comps resting in the racks, a long overdue appraisal of Brian Wilson’s solo career arrived in shops only last month—Rhino Records’ astute appraisal Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology. We have three copies to give away to three of you, but first however some official background.

Brian Wilson’s eponymous solo debut for Sire in 1988 launched an extended period of renewal for the iconic Beach Boys songwriter. Rhino revisits Wilson’s solo career with a new 18-song collection that mixes studio and live recordings with two previously unreleased tracks: “Run James Run,” a new song Wilson wrote and recorded for this collection, and “Some Sweet Day,” an unreleased gem he wrote with Andy Paley in the early 1990s for an unfinished recording project.

Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology covers more than 30 years of music with selections from nine of Wilson’s solo albums. The collection opens with “Love And Mercy,” one of the four songs on Playback taken from Wilson’s self-titled debut. The song has become one of Wilson’s most beloved classics, a regular closer to his live concerts, and was adopted as the title of the acclaimed 2015 biopic that saw the Beach Boy memorably played by both Paul Dano and John Cusack.

Several tracks on Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology come from the two albums Wilson released in 2004: Gettin’ In Over My Head and the Grammy®-winning Brian Wilson Presents Smile. The most poignant of these is “Soul Searchin’,” a song Wilson built around a vocal track left behind by his brother Carl, who passed away in 1998. The celebrated orchestral masterpiece, Smile is represented by “Heroes And Villains,” and the timeless classic, “Surf’s Up.”

Those back-to-back releases ushered in a sustained burst of creativity for Wilson that includes four acclaimed albums. They’re represented on the collection by “Midnight’s Another Day” (That Lucky Old Sun, 2008); “The Like In I Love You” (Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin, 2010); “Colors Of The Wind” (In The Key Of Disney, 2011); and “One Kind Of Love” (No Pier Pressure, 2015.)

Tucked in with these studio classics are two live performances from Wilson’s 2000 concert recording, Live At The Roxy Theatre. Included here are “The First Time” and “This Isn’t Love,” a charming collaboration with Wilson’s Pet Sounds lyricist Tony Asher.

Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology includes a selection of classic photos from throughout Wilson’s solo career, in addition to a candid shot taken in the studio in 2017 during the recording of “Run James Run.” The album also includes liner notes by David Wild, and features a previously unseen picture of Wilson on the front cover, taken by legendary rock photographer Robert Matheu.

Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology
Track Listing

1. Love And Mercy
2. Surf’s Up
3. Heroes And Villains
4. Melt Away
5. Let It Shine
6. Some Sweet Day*
7. Rio Grande
8. Cry
9. Lay Down Burden
10. The First Time
11. This Isn’t Love
12. Soul Searchin’
13. Gettin’ In Over My Head
14. The Like In I Love You
15. Midnight’s Another Day
16. Colors Of The Wind
17. One Kind Of Love
18. Run James Run*

* previously unreleased

Enter to win Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology on vinyl by citing in the comments below your favorite Brian Wilson solo track or LP—and briefly why. We have three copies of the LP to give away to three entrants with a North American mailing address. Winners will be chosen one week from today, October 19, 2017. 

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  • Alessandro

    His second album and soundtrack to the documentary I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times. It seemed so much more stripped down and revealing than his overproduced (It was the eighties!) solo debut. Would love to see it emerge on vinyl one day.

    • Chris Shields

      Pretty sure it was reissued on vinyl in the last few years.

  • Chris Shields

    My favorite Brian Wilson solo LP is “That Lucky Old Sun.” I consider it his latter-day “Pet Sounds.” Whereas “Pet Sounds” was his youthful hopes, fears and frustrations, “That Lucky Old Sun” trod similar emotional grounds but from a position of age, experience, loss, doubt and recovery.

    Great songs, a thematic scope that feels personal and universal, and an emotional wallop that still touches my heart. Great on the ears, too!

  • Shelley Zarudenec

    That Lucky Old Sun – it’s so awesome to hear Brian rock out and then turn around and emote so much depth. An absolutely perfect tribute to his home state.

  • Scott Travis

    There are too many great ones…but right now I’d have to say Love and Mercy. The lyrics really hit home with everything going on in the world and in our local county….so many fires near us, the shooting that happened a week ago in L.V. just watching the news is really scarry….but we have hope in Christ. Brian, again just hit the nail right on the head. I love this song.

  • Paul Stockinger

    Run James Run on the anthology is such fun and mildly ironic in that it is a quintessential girls and cars song.

  • Max Shenk

    Some of my favorite Brian solo tracks were single B-sides that never made it onto LP: “He Couldn’t Get His Poor Old Body To Move,” “Being With The One You Love,” and “This Song Wants To Sleep With You.” Every one of them as good as anything he’s ever done! Thank you, Brian! And thanks for the LP! 🙂

  • Myra Hill

    Roll Plymouth Rock from the Brian Wilson Presents Smile album. I like riding my bike while listening to the song on my headphones.

  • Mark Truran

    The First Time….Amazing melody!

  • Chris Hampton

    ‘Love and Mercy. Brian’s first solo album.
    Why? Because it was the best thing he’d done since his failed ‘Smile’. It had the fun of the Beach Boys yet the feel of ‘God Only Knows.’ A sound of compassion to the world’s problems as well as to himself. Of a world upon his shoulders of peers, family and an opportunistic therapist, to create.

  • Adam Lacy

    I like Melt Away because it shows how good Brian’s solo material could be….just as good as any Beach Boys track. And, unlike a lot of his Beach Boys material, songs on this album in particular (Brian Wilson) ,come from an adult perspective, which is refreshing.

  • Kathryn Kulpa

    “Still I Dream of It,” Brian’s original demo from 1976–it’s so raw, lonely, and aching that it’s hard to listen to, but soaring and beautiful, too, in that Brian Wilson way.

  • Tim Hanes

    Let It Shine- first I couldn’t believe Brian was actually recording and then issued a solo album. And then he teamed up with another of my musical heroes Jeff Lynne. Great song. Wish they’d fine more but I’m sure Landry had issues with the greatness.

  • Adam Fuller

    What I Really Want For Christmas, the title track from Brian’s Christmas album (with lyrics by Bernie Taupin). So many artists turn out mediocre Christmas albums, that the whole genre often gets overlooked. But Brian made a great album of old and new songs that gets played every year in my home.

  • Amanda Harper

    Love and Mercy. It makes me tear up every time I hear it. It’s such a beautiful song. I think everyone in the theater teared up in Ohio when he sang that song.

  • Roger Yee

    My fave Brian Wilson LP is his self titled debut album. It just blew me away at first listen, what beautiful melodies and vocals. I just wish the album would have charted higher, it certainly deserved to. I guess in 1988, it wasn’t hip for radio and MTV. There isn’t one clunker on this album. I bought the expanded version and the two LP set many years later, that’s how much I love this album.

  • Molly M

    I absolutely love Wouldn’t It Be Nice from Brian Wilson and Friends. It’s such a happy song. Every time I listen to it, it takes me back to all my summer memories. Summer is my favorite season, and always has been, so it brings back wonderful memories. It makes me think of all the positive things in this world. It gives me hope for my future and others’ futures. “Wouldn’t it be nice to win this contest?” (See what I did there?)

  • Colin Kolb

    “Sail Away” from Brian’s No Pier Pressure album is an amazing track! It’s a super cool song with the great Blondie Chaplin on vocals (i.e. Sail on Sailor) along with Al Jardine, who still sounds like he is 20 years old!
    I saw Brian perform this with the guys in 2015 – awesome!

  • Mike

    I have always loved the song ‘Melt Away’ from Brian’s first solo album. It’s arrangement and lyrcis would have been be right at home on ‘Pet Sounds’!

  • hshiau

    my favorite is Brian’s first solo album. I was so excited to see Brian back in the studio and releasing beautiful music.

  • Charles T Walsh

    It is Love & Mercy…I am fighting MS every day and the words of this song comfort me in many ways. The melody combined with Brian’s angel voice makes the fear and pain go away for a while.

  • Vikram Gill

    My favorite LP is definitely 2008’s “That Lucky Old Sun.” It’s a hopeful and reflective work of art from a man who’s nearly been to hell and back. Coming off the heels of 2004’s resurrected “Smile,” it’s great that Wilson and his band were able to create a wholly new conceptual album that could go toe-to-toe with Wilson’s magnum opus (which is not my favorite LP here only because I’d count it more as a Beach Boys project).

  • Brian Becker

    I LOVE his album “In The Key of Disney”! Being a huge Beach Boys and Disney fan, this was a wonderful hybrid!

  • Daniel

    My favorite Brian Wilson solo album is the 1988 self titled album. Love and Mercy is such a powerful song, and songs like Melt Away and Theres So Many remind us of the sweeter side of Brian that we know and love while the track One For The Boys demonstrates Brian’s careful yet powerful ability to create harmonies even when it’s all him! Rio Grande really takes us back to the era of Pet Sounds and SMiLE when Brian experimented heavily, exploring new boundaries in music and story telling, the way the song changes at the halfway mark is so moving both sonically and lyrically! He really was and continues to be a musical genius, thank you for all the years of good vibrations Brian!

  • Scott Kennedy

    My favorite Brian Wilson album (besides Brian presents SMiLE) is That Lucky Old Sun. The melodies and arrangements are beautifully written and performed, and it’s great to hear Van Dyke Parks’ contribution. Every song on this album is a keeper. It is evidence that Brian still has those creative juices flowing in his veins.
    My favorite track of the moment is One Kind Of Love. The sweetness and fragility in his voice as it climbs “calling out for you…” is heart-breaking in the best way possible. It gives me the same feeling as when I first heard him whine “Oh Caroline NO!” as a kid. We love you Brian, never stop making music!

  • Robert Gerke

    My favorite Brian Wilson song is Lay Down Burden. When I first heard it on his Imagination album back when I was in my twenties, I was going through a very tough time in my life. My living situation was less than ideal, I had just been laid off from my job and there was just a lot of negativity. People talk about hitting rock bottom, and most people have had the experience of their own rock bottom in their lives and that was mine. That song, with its beautiful Melody and powerful message was one of the things that helped get me through it. I remember being alone in my room (which brings to mind another favorite) listening to it in the dark. It just gave so much comfort and inspiration to get my life back together and come out of my situation a better person than I had been going into it.

  • Mike Zonshine

    Let It Shine has all the markers of a great Brian Wilson track: Beautiful melody, interesting chord structure, great harmonies, an intricate arrangement that sends the listener to a different world, lyrics that create a need for love and feeling loved, and that special magic that only Brian Wilson can produce. No matter how much one studies no one can sufficiently analyze how it works and only he can recreate it. Let It Shine is something special.

  • Grant Thomas

    My favourite track is “Love and Mercy”. It sums up , not only, the feelings of Brian Wilson, but also reveals his insecurities. A beautiful piece, that clearly let’s everyone know the state of society and Brian’s feelings about them.


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