By Academy of Achievement
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The songs Brian Wilson created as leader of the Beach Boys combined the rhythms of rock and roll with Baroque counterpoint and jazz harmony to create an exhilarating sound that has become the perennial soundtrack of the American summer. Despite near deafness in one ear, Brian Wilson began experimenting with music and tape recorders as a teenager in Hawthorne, California. Forming the Beach Boys with his two younger brothers, a cousin, and a neighbor, he recorded their first single at home while his parents were out of town. The song was called ”Surfin',” and it made the Beach Boys a national sensation. A succession of hit singles and albums followed. In the mid-'60s, the Beach Boys' sound became increasingly complex with dense, layered hits like “California Girls” and "Good Vibrations," repeatedly voted the greatest single of all time. Despite the rapturous sounds he created, Brian Wilson suffered from deep depression and spent many years hiding from the world while the Beach Boys continued to perform without him. As Wilson made a slow, painful recovery, he was confronted with the loss of both his brothers. By 1998, Brian Wilson had overcome his demons and embarked on a sold-out concert tour. Today, he is once again composing, recording and touring the world with an ace band of young musicians. His achievements as musician, songwriter, arranger and producer continue to this day, and his work exerts a powerful influence on musicians not yet born when he recorded his first hits. This podcast was recorded during Brian Wilson's performance at the 2008 International Achievement Summit in Hawaii.