Brian Wilson Will Complete Unfinished Gershwin Compositions

October 8, 2009 5:39 PM ET

Brian Wilson will reportedly complete at least two unfinished works by composer George Gershwin for an upcoming release, the Los Angeles Times reports. Wilson received authorization from the Gershwin estate to work on the unfinished songs, which are more than seven decades old. Wilson told the LAT he was "thrilled to death" by the prospect of completing Gershwin's work, adding "I'm proud to be able to do it. Hopefully I'll be able to do them justice."

Check out a guide of Brian Wilson's essential albums.

While the pieces that Wilson will be working on will likely remain instrumentals, the Beach Boy didn't rule out the possibility of transforming Gershwin's music into one of his trademark pop songs or something even bigger in scope. Wilson also plans to release an album's worth of Gershwin music next year, the LAT writes. Gershwin died at the age of 38 in 1937, leaving behind dozens of unfinished works ranging from mere bars to nearly completed songs.

Five years ago, Wilson salvaged another decades-old, unfinished masterpiece when he finally completed his supposed Pet Sounds follow-up Smile. "Smile is Rhapsody in Blue circa 2004," Brad Rosenberger, senior vice president of catalog development and marketing for Warner/Chappell, said in comparing Wilson's album to one of Gershwin's most memorable works. "It's very experimental, very rich and very melodic and really pushed popular music." The Los Angeles Times also reports that a tribute album comprised of Gershwin's unfinished works and produced by Phil Ramone is also in the works, with a 2010 release date eyed.

Related Stories:
Brian Wilson: Behind The Scenes At His New York Concert
Brian Wilson's L.A. Love Letter
Brian Wilson Unveils Lush, Elaborate "Lucky Old Sun" Tour in Oakland

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »