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Brian Wilson talks Paul McCartney, George Gershwin and 'God Only Knows'




When Brian Wilson sat down to complete two unfinished songs by legendary composer George Gershwin, he found the process was not unlike that of his decades-in-the-making album Smile, which he started in the '60s but didn't complete until 2004.

“At first I didn’t know if I could,” Wilson, the creative soul of the Beach Boys, said of reviving Gershwin’s raw ideas. “I don’t think there’s anybody who can come up to their caliber of music.

“We looked through 104 unfinished piano pieces by Gershwin, of Gershwin himself playing the keys. And we narrowed it down to just two, and we wrote a song around those chords."

In all, he said, "we did 14 songs. We tried to do the best justice we could to all the songs, for the younger generation.”

Wilson's new tour comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Saturday. It is a sprawling show, with two sets and multiple encores, that sees Wilson backed by a band that reviews have called “impeccable” and “spectacular.” The two-hour concerts are peppered with some 40 songs, from the Beach Boys’ biggest hits to cuts from Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin. The concert is at 8 p.m. Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Tickets are $45-$69. Click here for details.

To read more of our interview with Brian Wilson -- including his thoughts on Paul McCartney, modern recording technology and what it means when he sings God Only Knows -- click here.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 9:58am]


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