Sunday, November 1, 2009
"..Rhapsody In Blue...Blue Is The Ocean...The Ocean Has A Beach...The Beach Boys...Seems Like A No Brainer..."
At first glance, you’d think that Brian Wilson and George Gershwin don’t have a lot in common.
It ain’t necessarily so.
Apparently, the Gershwin family sees the connection.
Acclaimed early-20th-century composer George Gershwin’s estate has asked onetime Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson to try his hand at finishing some rare, unfinished Gershwin compositions. The completed songs—along with covers of Gershwin classics—will appear on the scruffy pop genius’s next solo album, to be released through a Walt Disney Records imprint.
“He had a gift for melody that nobody has ever equaled,” Wilson says of Gershwin. “The earliest music I remember hearing is ‘Rhapsody in Blue.’ Along with Irving Berlin, Gershwin basically invented the popular song.”
My first instinct here was to execute the “get cute” and try to come up with some possible Gershwin/Wilson collaborations.
“God Only Knows It’s Nice Work If You Can Get It”
“Round, Round, Get Around, I Got Rhythm”
“Bess, You Is My California Girl”
“I Loves You, Rhonda”
You get the idea.
But, while checking out the story, I came across an article by an entertainment reporter (that sounds oxymoronic to me, but damned if I can figure out why) who was apparently tempted to head down that same road..
The best he could do was:
“Lady Be Good Vibrations”
That pretty much made it clear that while Mssrs. Wilson and Gershwin may be birds of a musical feather, trying to turn their respective already completed work into a cohesive whole has about the same chance of success as did McCain/Palin.
That aside, I think the Gershwins have made a wise choice.
Both George and Brian were undisputed masters of pop melody in their time.
Both did a nice job of pushing the envelope containing the conventional wisdoms of popular music parameters without pushing it so far that it alienated.
Both were lovable and beloved eccentrics who were screwy but not psycho.
And if you want to stretch the point, both created their music in an atmosphere of literal family, George leaving the lyrical tasks to his brother Ira, Brian leaving the concert tasks to his brothers Carl, Dennis and cousins Mike and Al.
As I said, it might seem, at first, like an odd choice.
But, odd is good.
Both Gershwin and Wilson were considered odd.
Genius, by its nature, tends to trigger that reaction in the less gifted.
And, by the way, no, I’m not overlooking the other still living songwriter who is considered an undisputed master of pop melody in his time.
But Paul McCartney just isn’t the right fit for this particular gig.
“S’Wonderful, S’Marvelous, S’Michelle, Ma Belle” just doesn’t quite hook it.
Yoko is still around.
Pretty sure she wont be able to pull off breaking up Brian and George.