“Summer Dreams” to “Sgt. Pepper” and Brian Wilson’s Ask Me Anything on Reddit

AS a fan of the Beatles, I’ve read many different pieces of writing about those four Liverpudians, be that magazine or news articles in print and online or books… Many things that almost always touched on an album by another group and one specific musical composer from that group: The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds and Brian Wilson.

I’d long-ago seen Summer Dreams: The Story of the Beach Boys TV miniseries which touched on moments here-and-there in telling the story of their successes and issues. One moment, a brush off moment in the series, caught my attention. Sure, the series which aired on ABC in 1990 was largely fiction based on actual events, but it did pique my interest. Generalized variations of the moment (lasting a lot longer than a moment) I read about in books about Brian Wilson. Wilson started showing issues more prominently and as the 1960’s progressed. Fame, stress, drug use (hey, it was the 1960’s) all propelled him off course.

That “incident” in the TV movie was seeing a whacked-out Wilson listening to The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. He was out of it in shock, awe, intimidation and a genius left over-thinking how to one-up the art he was beholding. With Summer Dreams telling about the Beach Boys a work of fiction or not, the fact is that two of the greatest bands of the 1960s and of the 20th century did in fact have an influence on each other – directly and indirectly.

In the spring of 2015, Brian Wilson participated in an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit; basically a Q and A where fans can do the interviewing or hold a conversation with someone who fills a role, has stature, or might be famous. In this case, it’s one of the greatest composers.

I’m a Reddit user, have been for what’s going on seven years at this time. I found out that Wilson was going to be doing an Ask Me Anything (also known as an AMA) and I made sure to be there for it…

It’s not difficult to write a question, what is difficult is to have the person conducting the AMA answers. What I asked was tied to what you’ve read above:

Brian, what is your favorite track from the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album? I mean, I realize you were in competition with the band at the time and things became very troubling around then… But it’s a question I’ve long wondered.

Thank you, sir. You’re a legend.

This was my first participation in an AMA. I know how these fan-interviews can go, with a mile-a-minute questions and answers. I didn’t expect to see a response from Wilson and I was downright flabbergasted when Brian replied:

A Little Help From My Friends because of Ringos performance and John Lennons chords and melody

Perhaps Brian Wilson is on record speaking at length on the subject of Sgt. Pepper or other Beatles albums. Perhaps Brian is on record speaking at length on other topics he touched on during his March 2015 Ask Me Anything session. Finding those on-record moments isn’t so easy (even with the Internet at your fingertips); getting responses from the man himself (in short or longer) is astounding.

I just wish I could have talked to him more on the subject with less competition for his attention. Oh well. I’m glad I got what I did.

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