Donovan & Brian Wilson Celebrate Fifty Year Anniversaries

Donovan & Brian Wilson Celebrate Fifty Year Anniversaries – Sunshine Superman and Pet Sounds were both released in 1966 and both the Glasgow born troubadour and American genius are marking the landmark releases with tours visiting New York City.

Donovan played Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on Thursday September 15th, 2016.   Brian Wilson played the Northside Festival at McCarren Park on June 12th, 2016 and returns to New York City on Saturday September 24th for a show at The Beacon.

When Donovan was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame four years ago, it was said that he single-handedly initiated the psychedelic revolution with Sunshine Superman.  When we spoke on Thursday, Don agreed he opened the door as “when you look at the lyrics, the sound, the attitude, and the presentation of that album, it does pre-date by a year and a half most of what is called psychedelic music.”    My bringing up the word psychedelic spurred a discussion that touched upon music, drugs, and meditation and Donovan recalled how he and The Beatles went to India seeking the ‘purest form’ of meditation to bring it back to the West.

On stage, Donovan shared a number of funny and engaging anecdotes including a songwriting session with Paul McCartney in which Macca played an early version of Eleanor Rigby with the title character named Oliver Tungee!  Upon hearing an embryonic version of what turned out to be the B-side of Eleanor Rigby, Donovan contributed the line, “Sky of Blue, Sea of Green…In Our Yellow Submarine.”  The scuttlebutt is he’ll be playing a set of Beatles songs when he accepts the John Lennon Real Love Award in December.  In another aside, he revealed he wrote There Is A Mountain on a trip to the Caribbean and added an exclamation point of “Rastafari” after playing it.  The stories, like the songs, were delivered with affection and the lucky 600 people at Zankel Hall went home delighted.  Richard Barone, by the way, was fab helping out on guitar on a couple of tracks including the climactic Sunshine Superman.

As for Brian Wilson, the show in Brooklyn on a cool night in June was an equally memorable affair.  The setlist was an embarrassment of riches with the complete Pet Sounds supplemented by a a generous handful of Beach Boys hits that weren’t on the album.  Matthew Jardine handled the falsetto parts admirably and it was as transcendent an experience as one would have hoped with the kind of immortal material that was presented.  With the acoustics of The Beacon enhancing the experience next Saturday, Broadway and 74th will definitely be the place to be.  A memoir is coming next month from the man called I Am Brian Wilson!



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