Critics cast singer Mike Love as the villain who blunted Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson’s creative brilliance, but it was Love who brought coherence to Wilson’s greatest song, “Good Vibrations.”
Wilson, who co-founded the Beach Boys with his brothers and cousin Love, had stopped touring with the band by 1966, preferring to compose and record. When he unveiled a demo of “Good Vibrations,” it was aurally beautiful but made little sense lyrically and was missing a bridge to the chorus.
Even though Love couldn’t relate to the song’s lyrics, he started singing “I’m pickin’ up good vibrations …” which provided a perfect bridge.
“Good Vibrations” rose to the top of the charts in 1967. Yet, Love still takes heat for later prompting Wilson to scrap his album “Smile,” finally released in 2004.
Lesson: Naysayers have a place on the team, if they gin up good ideas.
— Adapted from Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Peter Carlin, Rodale Books.
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