Brush With Greatness, Pt. III  

Posted by Tony Guerrero

Arguably, the three most important producers in pop music from the 60's were Phil Spector, George Martin & Brian Wilson. Spector created the "wall of sound" that characterized such hits as "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" and "Be My Baby", as well as some of the later Beatles hits like "The Long And Winding Road" (Spector's involvement infuriated Paul McCartney since his big lush arrangements happened without McCartney's approval - McCartney re-released many classic Beatles songs in 2003 as "Naked", basically stripping Spector's involvement from them). Next, of course, George Martin, who was The Beatles producer from the beginning and in many ways helped them to revolutionize the music industry. He was often called "the fifth Beatle", since he was so much a part of their sound.

Finally, there was Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys. While some of their hits lead some people to relegating them as "bubble gum" pop, the truth is, Brian set all sorts of new standards for production. In fact, it was his ground-breaking production on the "Pet Sounds" album that sounded the clarion call for The Beatles to meet the challenge with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". Brian influenced the influencers. The stories about his life and his struggle with mental illness are legendary.

I got a call to record with him around 1992. Awesome.

We showed up to the studio and were introduced to Van Dyke Parks, another notable producer who had long been associated with Brian, and he mostly led the session. Brian was nowhere to be found. Bummer. We were escorted into the recording room where the four of us horn players would be playing, and we noticed there was someone asleep on a couch about ten feet from us. We assumed he'd get up when we started playing. Nope. We did the whole session - five loud horn players - ten feet from a sleeping man who never budged.

When the session was over, the sleeper awoke. It was Brian. He literally seemed to have no idea that we had been playing - loudly - right next to him while we slept. We posed for a picture with him, and the session ended. Even though our contact was limited, I was honored to play on the project, and I drove away knowing I had worked with a legend.

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 5, 2008 at Saturday, July 05, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Do you think it was a set-up? Like you were being punk'd?

7/05/2008 10:28 AM

very cool...Brian Wilson is a genius. Pet Sounds is amazing. thanks for sharing, and I dig the hair in that pic.

7/06/2008 8:57 PM

No WONDER they talk about you so much on KSBR!! One of these days I'll be able to blog about "that one time I hung out with Tony Guerrero"..... :)

7/08/2008 8:40 PM

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