Brian Wilson, “Love and Mercy” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PISkFEzC5XE
No surprise to anyone who knows me even a little bit, I love music, a wide variety of music. On the day following Thanksgiving Day I posted a link to Charles Ives, “The Unanswered Question” on Facebook and Twitter.
One of the bands I listened to quite a bit when in college was The Beach Boys. At the time, the band was seen as primarily a sixties group with good time tunes about surfing and dating. They had made a bit of a comeback with the release of a compilation called “Endless Summer” – released June 24, 1974, my fifteenth birthday. Even with that, The Beach Boys were not really considered a “cool” group to listen to in my college years (1977-1981). I remember going with some of my friends to Florida for a spring break trip, and one friend was determined that we were not going to play any Beach Boys music. We did not want to come off as a bunch of rubes from Minnesota.
Though I enjoyed The Beach Boys music, I have to admit I considered them little more than a feel good band, with all the depth of cotton candy.
One of the graces of aging is that you can change your mind. To be sure, much of the music on “Endless Summer” is pretty simple and the lyrics are none too deep. Yet over time, I have come to appreciate opportunities for simple joy. In a complex, difficult and often hurtful world, we ought not to overlook simple joys. I also came to appreciate the creativity of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys as they explored adding new layers of sound to their music. “Pet Sounds” is considered a rock music classic. “Good Vibrations” is a complex piece of music, even as it celebrates the simple feeling of a good vibe.
Recently I was given a new opportunity for renewed appreciation of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. I watched the bio-pic “Love and Mercy.” At the end of the movie we are treated to a video of Brian Wilson singing the song from which the movie takes its title. The song comes from his first solo album (released in 1988), and it was a song I was not familiar with.
Listen to “Love and Mercy.” The lyrics aren’t cryptic, but they touch me. In our difficult, complicated and often hurtful world, I appreciate this simple good hope and good wish.
Love and mercy that's what you need tonight
So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight
With Faith and With Feathers,