Brian And The Blowfish
From TWP's report on last night's Kennedy Center Honors:
[Brian] Wilson got the final set of Honors, a tribute kicked off by a fuzzy-as-ever Art Garfunkel, who described hearing Wilson's music for the first time: "It was this unique, crazy creation: a mix of rock-and-roll and heartfelt prayer."
And, er, drugs? No, drugs were not mentioned, just as no diva antics were mentioned for Ross. This was an evening of whitewashed kindness, unadulterated gushing. (Garfunkel did say, "He is in a world of his own vibrations.") Next to fete Wilson was Lyle Lovett (Lyle Lovett?) doing a melancholic take on "God Only Knows (What I'd Be Without You)." Not your typical association with California surfin' and sunshine, but Wilson seemed touched - as he also appeared to be by a Hootie and the Blowfish (Hootie and the Blowfish?) medley of Beach Boys tunes, which ultimately brought the audience to its feet for a "California Girls" singalong.
And finally, a South London boys choir (a South London - oh, cherubic kids are always a crowd-pleaser). "We were born a long, long way from your California beaches," said one member of Libera, "but the warmth of your music can be felt" all the way in England. They sang a harmonic and tear-jerking rendition of "Love and Mercy" - Ross could be seen dabbing her eyes and looking toward the ceiling to prevent mascara runnage.
To which I can only say: HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH?!??!
Let the Monday-morning quarterbacking commence.
Not having attended the Honors, I have no idea how the performances were. (The show will be broadcast Dec. 26 on PBS.) But boys choir aside, I can't say that I love the lineup of artists selected to perform Brian Wilson's songs. Not even sure I like it. The connections seem tenuous.
Diana Ross was properly honored with a lineup that had Smokey Robinson batting leadoff before Jordin Sparks, Vanessa Williams and Ciara brought the diva noise.
Brian Wilson? He got a couple of leftovers from Paul Simon's Gershwin Prize soiree and Hootie. Is that any way to fete a genius?
Where were his indie-rock disciples - Sufjan Stevens, the Shins, the High Llamas, Apples in Stereo, etc.? Or the Barenaked Ladies, the Canadian goofballs with that "Brian Wilson" song? Or Glen Campbell or Bruce Johnston, who followed Brian in the Beach Boys? Or, you know, that McCartney guy whose band Wilson's work inspired back in the '60s - and vice-versa? (Then again, Macca has blown off the KenCen Honors before - and he was supposed to be a recipient!)
Elton John said he wanted to be there for his old friend but had a commitment in Australia. Bruce Springsteen, whose new album "Magic" has a couple of tracks with a clear "Pet Sounds" influence, is touring in Europe. So they're both off the hook.
The producers of the KenCen Honors? Not so much.
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