October 4, 2008

Today’s TV: Good Vibrations on Brian’s Return

Filmed at the legendary recording studio in London, Live from Abbey Road has seen a whole host of world-famous musicians perform in the famous Studio One since the series began in 2006.

It's not often that a musician's reputation outshines that of the iconic studio, but in tonight's edition, the legendary Brian Wilson swings by.

He will be performing classics from his extensive back catalogue, as well as new material from That Lucky Old Sun, his 10th album, which was released at the start of September.

Wilson was 19 when The Beach Boys were formed. He and his younger brothers Dennis and Carl got together in their family's living room, alongside cousin Mike Love and school friend Al Jardine, to rehearse a tune that Brian and Mike had penned for a demo recording session.

With his parents away on holiday, Brian used the EUR250 they had left for groceries to rent musical equipment and taught Carl and Dennis how to sing harmonies.

Brian and Mike wrote their first single Surfin' after Dennis, a keen enthusiast himself, suggested they took advantage of the southern California's craze of the moment. It proved to be an inspired decision as Surfin' went down a storm when it was released as a single in 1961.

Capitol Records quickly signed them to their label and were eager for more chart-topping hits.

Wilson responded by penning a string of classics such as their top 10 hit California Girls, Fun, Fun, Fun, I Get Around and Help Me Rhonda.

Now in his 47th year as a recording artist, Brian shows no sign of falling out of love with music.

"Music has to be a big part of your soul," he says.

"And when making music, if I could invent a way to get it from my heart from yours without doing all that hard work, I'd be very happy."

The programme swaps from one of popular music's most highly revered figures to another, as Martha Wainwright takes her seat in the studio. The folk-rock singer/songwriter has a wonderfully gutsy voice that, according to an interview in Elle magazine, her brother Rufus would kill for.

It can't be easy following in the footsteps of your musician mother, father and brother, but Martha has been able to step out of her family's shadow and become a success in her own right.

Despite being immersed in the world of music from a young age, Martha decided to shun the scene and study drama at university in Montreal. However, she soon began writing and performing her own music.

Her self-titled album was released in 2005 and, despite not being a commercial success, it was well received by critics on both sides of the Atlantic. Martha's second album, I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too, was released in May and fared much better in the charts.

Teddy Thompson, son of folk legends Richard and Linda, is tonight's final guest and has recently been signed up as the supporting act for James Blunt's UK tour.

However, don't let that stop you listening to a musician who Uncut magazine described as a "smart-pop tunesmith and vocalist in the order of Crowded House auteur Neil Finn".

4Music: Live from Abbey Road

(Channel 4, 12.10am)

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