Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Freddie Mercury Vs. Brian Wilson

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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 01:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Okay. If you haven't a clue who Brian Wilson is, he is a emotionally disturbed man. If you're truly a fan of MUSIC, you'll know who he is, and you'll know more than "just the hits" that he's released with his former band.

Don't choose unless you know both of them basically equally.

And I'm comparing these...
Composing capabilities
Lyric capabilities
Instrument playing capabilities (Keyboard, piano, synth)
Vocal capabilities


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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 10:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Almost no-one can beat Brian Wilson 1963-1967. Producing, writing, playing and touring something like 10 albums in that timespan, all of which included amazing tracks like Let Him Run Wild, The Little Girl I Once Knew or Hushabye PLUS lots  of hits like Fun Fun Fun, Sloop John B and ofcourse God Only Knows and Good Vibrations is a feat no-one else could've accomplished - not even Freddy. BW even produced and wrote for other artists - while he was just 21!

On the other hand - the Brian from POST 1967 has produced some amazing crap - the 15 Big Ones album, Sweet Insanity from 1990, the 2004 album Getting In Over My Head.... Even though there are still some amazing gems to discover: Til I Die, the Fairy Tale from the bonusdis on Holland, the 2008 album That Lucky Old Sun....

Comparing BW to Freddy is not really possible. They came from very different backgrounds, worked in a totally different context and did completely different things. It's not like one of them is better than the other. Comparing a masterpiece like Surf's Up to another masterpiece like March of the Black Queen is not fair.


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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 10:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I agree with the above post.  Incomparable.


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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 12:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

No it's not really fair to compare the two geniuses.We can wax lyrical on both of them, Brian ,undoubtedly, brought new dimension to vocal harmonies and pushed them to a level nobody had been to, before or since, except Queen, namely Freddies compositions.For example 'Killer Queen' has unparalleled complex, and at the same time simple harmonies.
     It's said that Brian's most creative period came while under the influence of certain substances which eventually may have been responsible for his creative demise. But he also suffered a great deal under his father, Murray Wilson, as a child and in his adult life, which may be another contributory factor.He was at one time even sacked by the Beach Boys,and was devastated when he took no part in their 1988 single 'Kokomo'
     But as regards, '15 Big Ones' and his other under par efforts, perhaps it simply proves that  no artist has peaked, creatively and stayed at that level , they're all prone to peaks and troughs.How many years since Jagger / Richards have scored a hit of note?
     Having said this, Brian and his band 'The Wondermints' as they are known in their own right, are superlative live performers. (Check out my videos on youtube, Mr. Anth 58 ), gaining universal praise over the last 8 years or so since Brian went back on the road , thanks to the persuasive powers of his new wife Marnie, who convinced Brian that he 'needed to get back to work' and is probably the best thing that happened to him, i believe she is his redemption.
    Did Freddie subconsciously gain a penchant for harmonies from Brians work? I remember Pete Wingfields review of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in ( i think) the NME, in October '75 ; 'it opens with a Beach Boys pastiche' going on; ' an incredibly disjointed, but nevertheless dazzlingly clever epic from the fevered mind of Freddie Mercury' !!!
     Perhaps a 'Fevered Mind' is a prerequisite of genius.


     Master Marathon Runner



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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 12:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

One has been literally dead for ~20 years, the other might as well have been.


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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 14:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Plus, Freddie never lost his voice, and wasn't a drug addict.


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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 14:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It was once said about Brian Wilson, when The Beach Boys were competing against The Beatles (& vice versa) Rubber Soul/Pet Sounds/Revolver/Sgt Pepper/Smiley Smile which covers the years 1965-1967, it took John Lennon, Paul McCartney & George Martin to compete against him which is about as much credit any musician can be given


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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 14:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



maxpower wrote:

It was once said about Brian Wilson, when The Beach Boys were competing against The Beatles (& vice versa) Rubber Soul/Pet Sounds/Revolver/Sgt Pepper/Smiley Smile which covers the years 1965-1967, it took John Lennon, Paul McCartney & George Martin to compete against him which is about as much credit any musician can be given

True, although I would add George Harrison to the Beatles camp.







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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 17:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Here here !



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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 17:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It's absurd to compare them, they are completely different with also different backgrounds, different culture...everything. 

Brian Wilson lives in a world of his own, nearly unable to communicate with the world. I once saw him perform "Smile" with his fantastic band. It was a brilliant performance, but he hardly connected with the audience, he was "somewhere else" and from the way he moved his arms it looked as he could see the music in his mind. But he is far from being a performer like Freddie Mercury was. They have nothing in common except for the fact that they both made music that reached and influenced many people.

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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 20:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



I haven't listened to his music (more than the obvious Beach Boys hits) but I think I should. I've heard Pet Sounds is an amazing album and I seem to recall reading that the Beatles were consciously or unconsciously trying to top it when they did Sgt. Pepper.



He did look like a Muppet performing live at the Queen's Golden Jubilee, waving his hands and all. :)



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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 22:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Soundfreak wrote:

It's absurd to compare them, they are completely different with also different backgrounds, different culture...everything. 

Brian Wilson lives in a world of his own, nearly unable to communicate with the world. I once saw him perform "Smile" with his fantastic band. It was a brilliant performance, but he hardly connected with the audience, he was "somewhere else" and from the way he moved his arms it looked as he could see the music in his mind. But he is far from being a performer like Freddie Mercury was. They have nothing in common except for the fact that they both made music that reached and influenced many people.     


I didn't ask about stage performances. Brian has some horrible stage fright, ever since he quit touring with the Beach Boys back in '64, he rarely went on the stage without sitting behind a keyboard or piano or a bass guitar. Even on television specials or music programs where The Beach Boys mimed to tracks. Such as 'Getcha Back' on some television show hosted by Andy Gibb, Brian had his bass guitar and he didn't even perform a single instrument on the track except vocals. And when Brian isn't behind a keyboard or piano, he has these very odd dance moves, which freaks me out.



Brian has wrote a wide variety of songs. He obviously was an influene on Queen's harmonies, but he was questioned about what he thought of Bohemian Rhapsody, and he said it scared him.



There are songs by The Beach Boys (and songs on Brian's solo albums) that you can compare to Queen's. You just have to dig deep enough and know all the songs.




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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 22:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Gregsynth wrote:

Plus, Freddie never lost his voice, and wasn't a drug addict.

I recall Freddie's voice giving out. And I can recall some cocaine (Brian's favorite drug of choice) issues that Freddie had. I didn't ask about any voices giving out, nor did I ask about drug addictions.

In the late 70s and early 80s, sure, Brian could hardly sing or even talk normally due to his six or seven packs of cigarettes he'd smoke a day, but by 1984, he regained his falsetto. Listen to 'Getcha Back', 'I'm So Lonely', 'Wipe Out' (feat. The Fat Boys), 'In My Car', 'Let's Go To Heaven In My Car', 'Heavenly Bodies', 'Smart Girls', 'Daddy's Little Girl', and hundreds of other songs he's recorded since '84. It's kind of hard and impossible for him to do his original falsetto backing vocals while performing live when he's the lead singer on his solo tours. When he does a Beach Boys song, he obviously has to sing Mike's lines, as Brian it's a Brian Wilson tour. And when he performs songs like 'Don't Worry Baby', sometimes the post-cigarette falsetto comes back to light.


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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 22:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



 



Wiley wrote:



 



 



 



I haven't listened to his music (more than the obvious Beach Boys hits) but I think I should. I've heard Pet Sounds is an amazing album and I seem to recall reading that the Beatles were consciously or unconsciously trying to top it when they did Sgt. Pepper.



 



 



 



He did look like a Muppet performing live at the Queen's Golden Jubilee, waving his hands and all. :)



 



 



 


Brian still has stage fright to this day. On Pet Sounds 40th anniversary tour, Al Jardine accompanied him on the tour, and Brian had a panic attack and laid on his back on the stage. It's not odd of a man for a man with his mind to do such things. Aside from the sexual and musical aspects of his life, he has regressed in age, emotionally.

Recommended listening:

All of Brian's solo albums, including songs from 'Sweet Insanity' and 'Landylocked' which are bootlegs.







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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 22:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Zebonka12 wrote:

One has been literally dead for ~20 years, the other might as well have been.

Obviously you arn't as musically intelligent as I thought you were.

Recommended listening:

'Midnight's Another Day'


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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 22:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



master marathon runner wrote:

     No it's not really fair to compare the two geniuses.We can wax lyrical on both of them, Brian ,undoubtedly, brought new dimension to vocal harmonies and pushed them to a level nobody had been to, before or since, except Queen, namely Freddies compositions.For example 'Killer Queen' has unparalleled complex, and at the same time simple harmonies.
     It's said that Brian's most creative period came while under the influence of certain substances which eventually may have been responsible for his creative demise. But he also suffered a great deal under his father, Murray Wilson, as a child and in his adult life, which may be another contributory factor.He was at one time even sacked by the Beach Boys,and was devastated when he took no part in their 1988 single 'Kokomo'
     But as regards, '15 Big Ones' and his other under par efforts, perhaps it simply proves that  no artist has peaked, creatively and stayed at that level , they're all prone to peaks and troughs.How many years since Jagger / Richards have scored a hit of note?
     Having said this, Brian and his band 'The Wondermints' as they are known in their own right, are superlative live performers. (Check out my videos on youtube, Mr. Anth 58 ), gaining universal praise over the last 8 years or so since Brian went back on the road , thanks to the persuasive powers of his new wife Marnie, who convinced Brian that he 'needed to get back to work' and is probably the best thing that happened to him, i believe she is his redemption.
    Did Freddie subconsciously gain a penchant for harmonies from Brians work? I remember Pete Wingfields review of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in ( i think) the NME, in October '75 ; 'it opens with a Beach Boys pastiche' going on; ' an incredibly disjointed, but nevertheless dazzlingly clever epic from the fevered mind of Freddie Mercury' !!!
     Perhaps a 'Fevered Mind' is a prerequisite of genius.


     Master Marathon Runner

Marnie? Who is that? Is that what he calls Melinda? Haha.











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Posted: 20 Mar 10, 22:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Pim Derks wrote:

Almost no-one can beat Brian Wilson 1963-1967. Producing, writing, playing and touring something like 10 albums in that timespan, all of which included amazing tracks like Let Him Run Wild, The Little Girl I Once Knew or Hushabye PLUS lots  of hits like Fun Fun Fun, Sloop John B and ofcourse God Only Knows and Good Vibrations is a feat no-one else could've accomplished - not even Freddy. BW even produced and wrote for other artists - while he was just 21!

On the other hand - the Brian from POST 1967 has produced some amazing crap - the 15 Big Ones album, Sweet Insanity from 1990, the 2004 album Getting In Over My Head.... Even though there are still some amazing gems to discover: Til I Die, the Fairy Tale from the bonusdis on Holland, the 2008 album That Lucky Old Sun....

Comparing BW to Freddy is not really possible. They came from very different backgrounds, worked in a totally different context and did completely different things. It's not like one of them is better than the other. Comparing a masterpiece like Surf's Up to another masterpiece like March of the Black Queen is not fair.

I think 'Sweet Insanity' just had the wrong kind of production, especially since Landy was pushing Brian to "play more synths!"

And with 'Gettin' In Over My Head', I think that album lacks production values, as I think Brian was thinking too far back at the time, and I think it was also kind of rushed and pushed, especially considering over half the album is full of 'Sweet Insanity' remakes.


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Posted: 21 Mar 10, 04:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Mr. Britt wrote:

Obviously you arn't as musically intelligent as I thought you were.




There is a very long list of people who have no business lecturing me on music.  Several of the people gave up their positions on this list just to accommodate you.


I wasn't commenting on the quality of his output in the past couple of decades.  I'm merely pointing out (and rightly so) that it might as well not exist, for all of the impact it has made.  For better or worse!




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Posted: 21 Mar 10, 06:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Mr. Britt wrote:



 



Soundfreak wrote:



It's absurd to compare them, they are completely different with also different backgrounds, different culture...everything. 

Brian Wilson lives in a world of his own, nearly unable to communicate with the world. I once saw him perform "Smile" with his fantastic band. It was a brilliant performance, but he hardly connected with the audience, he was "somewhere else" and from the way he moved his arms it looked as he could see the music in his mind. But he is far from being a performer like Freddie Mercury was. They have nothing in common except for the fact that they both made music that reached and influenced many people.     



 



I didn't ask about stage performances. Brian has some horrible stage fright, ever since he quit touring with the Beach Boys back in '64, he rarely went on the stage without sitting behind a keyboard or piano or a bass guitar. Even on television specials or music programs where The Beach Boys mimed to tracks. Such as 'Getcha Back' on some television show hosted by Andy Gibb, Brian had his bass guitar and he didn't even perform a single instrument on the track except vocals. And when Brian isn't behind a keyboard or piano, he has these very odd dance moves, which freaks me out.



 



Brian has wrote a wide variety of songs. He obviously was an influene on Queen's harmonies, but he was questioned about what he thought of Bohemian Rhapsody, and he said it scared him.



 



There are songs by The Beach Boys (and songs on Brian's solo albums) that you can compare to Queen's. You just have to dig deep enough and know all the songs.



 


I went pretty deep into the Beach Boys catalogue, probably as deep as into Queen. I even reconstructed my own "stereo Smile" from all those available outtakes and stuff. So I guess I'm pretty deep into Brian Wilsons world. Compared to Freddie Mercury he used very different harmonies and chord changes, has a very different writing style. 
They are both brilliant writers, liked vocal harmonies and yet were very different. Brian Wilson would have never come up with anything like "Mustapha" nor would Freddie have written something like "Cabinessence"







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Posted: 21 Mar 10, 09:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Mr. Britt wrote:

I think 'Sweet Insanity' just had the wrong kind of production, especially since Landy was pushing Brian to "play more synths!"

And with 'Gettin' In Over My Head', I think that album lacks production values, as I think Brian was thinking too far back at the time, and I think it was also kind of rushed and pushed, especially considering over half the album is full of 'Sweet Insanity' remakes.

Getting In Over My Head has some  nice moments (Fairy Tale is my favorite track on that album, Soul Searching with a 1996 BB-reunion outtake by Carl is also quite good), but IMO it's let down by all the cheesy arrangements, special guests (you'd expect McCartney and Wilson combined could come up with something better than A Friend Like You) and rehashes of Sweet Insanity-material.

So far, I'd have to say my favorite Brian solo album is Lucky Old Sun, with Imagination being a close second. His first soo album also has some great moments (Rio Grande, Little Children, Love and Mercy), but is also letdown by the creepy 80's Jeff Lynne-type production. I don't really count BWP Smile as a real solo album, otherwise that'd be on top of course :)