Brian Wilson performs two classic songs on Colbert



Image: Ben Quinton / The Guardian

Brian Wilson is the latest artist to participate in The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s #PlayAtHome series. Wilson performed “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys and his 1988 solo single “Love and Mercy”.

Wilson’s song selections seem entirely intentional. He introduces “Love and Mercy” by saying, “Hello, this is Brian Wilson everyone. I just want you to know that we are all in the same boat. At 77, Wilson is in the demographic group most at risk for coronavirus. However, the message of solidarity seems more closely tied to the protests that have swept through the United States following the brutal police murder of African American George Floyd.

‘Love and Mercy’ starts with the lines, “I was sitting in a lousy movie with my hands on my chin / Oh the violence that happens, it feels like you never win. “In the second verse, Wilson sings:”I was sitting in my room and the news fell on the TV / A lot of people are in pain and it really scared me. “

Wilson’s long history of mental illness is well documented, but his voice is softer and more evocative than ever on his own piano accompaniment. “God Only Knows” is one of the Beach Boys’ most beloved songs. However, the combination of Tony Asher’s lyrics and Wilson’s bittersweet melodies makes him an all-time tearful. If you’re struggling to cope with whatever is going on, this performance might push you to the limit. “I love you all. Love and mercy to you all,” Wilson says at the end of the song.

Wilson recently announced the 25th anniversary edition of his 1995 collaborative album with Van Dyke Parks, Orange Box Art. The album is reissued on double CD and double vinyl – the first time it is pressed on vinyl. It is due out on Friday June 19 via Omnivore Recordings.

Check out Brian Wilson’s “Love and Mercy”:

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