There occurred a strange and serendipitous day in a bedroom community in San Diego wherein music played an oblique, yet pivotal role. It began with a wide array of it; Simon and Garfunkel’s “Only Living Boy In New York”, segued by the beautiful and much missed Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention and her painfully prophetic “Who Knows Where The Time Goes.” Sandy was an artist whose life was cut tragically short by a brain aneurysm that took her in the prime of her young life and career. Her music remains ever evocative of that unfulfilled promise of all that could have been.
It continued-to-continue along a rather nostalgic path that ascended into some great opera, along with some essential Mozart, followed by Bowie’s Low. A segue found not only to be necessary but normal, if you dare try it. All the while, a friend was slated for dinner. Music has a way of holding time at bay, or making you forget that it tends to be perceived in an exasperatingly linear way.
So, while immersed in some great listening, dinner was a tad delayed, but Lee—the friend—was gracious when told that music had stolen much of the day. Don’t know how or when the following came up– amidst the swirling music, flowing conversation and wine– but it was a huge time stopper. Somehow, she revealed: “I took care of a Beach Boy for a few weeks over in Coronado”.
A Beach Boy? A cousin? A Love? A blond?
“No, a brunette. Kind of old. Not well.” Lee can be blunt. Gulp! The mind now was swirling. A brunette. Kind of old. Well, isn’t the whole world getting older each passing day? Not ok? Lee was a caregiver with La Jolla Home Nurses. When shown a picture of Brian from YouTube, fairly recent, she quipped matter of factly, “Yup, that’s him, alright.”
It was one of those moments where time truly revealed itself to be of that nature that we all know it’s truly made. One much beyond our awareness, let alone our ability to grasp!, as we scurry about, trying to fit— or bend—it into our petty days. Time did seem to stop or tangibly unravel around us.
Brian Wilson lives in Coronado. Somehow, I think you should know this as much as anybody. All the longing for this musical genius! All the world left wanting. All the Surfers Hymns! All the greats in music left with that glaring desire to ponder what might have been, what should have been if Brian’s time had not ceased to move around him, casting him in that strange time-suspension in his prime where he lived, but was nowhere to be found—and everywhere to be missed—in music that long, long time ago.
In the fairly recent documentary, Beautiful Dreamer, that pays such great due and much owed homage to the imminence and relevance that his influence still continues to cast onto the greatest quadrants of all musical universes, he was quoted as saying that he “wanted to write hymns”.
Did Noah Lennox, acknowledging this, tip his hat in that unequivocal direction, not knowing that to us San Diegans, especially it lays merely across a beautiful bridge? Did Lennox, whether intentionally or not, write his ‘love note’ to him, allowing everyone to freely marvel at the undeniable longing that his own music casts for Brian? While fiercely original and incomparably innovative, Noah’s music—some 45 years later—does leave that resonant pining for the great Beach Boy suspended in time. Don’t know, but Surfer’s Hymn seems like a direct dialog meant for Brian and those who know of Brian’s statement about his musical intention: “I wanted to write hymns…”
Still, incredibly, The Beach Boy—one of music’s greatest—is just across a bridge from us, with barely anyone knowing, while countless many are left with that insatiable, never-ending yearning for him through the strange and great chasm of time.