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Brian Wilson to Receive the Chairman’s Award at 2011 NARM Convention

Marlton, NJ – March 28, 2011 – NARM, the music business association, announced today that Brian Wilson, one of the most iconic and influential musicians in the history of popular music, will be the recipient of the Chairman’s Award for Sustained Creative Achievement at the 2011 NARM Music Business Convention Awards Dinner Finale to take place at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 12. 

  “Since his first recordings with The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson’s influence on the evolution of rock music has been profound,” said Rachelle Friedman, Chairman, NARM Board of Directors and CEO of J&R Music World. “He is undoubtedly one of the most important modern composers, and his work continues to resonate with people all around the world.”

 Past recipients of the NARM Chairman’s Award include Cyndi Lauper, Daryl Hall & John Oates, BB King, Chicago, Carlos Santana, Garth Brooks, Billy Joel, Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, and Fleetwood Mac.

 Wilson was barely out of his teens in 1961 when he began to create some of the most beloved records ever, earning nine consecutive gold albums with his family group The Beach Boys, which featured such classics as “Surfer Girl,” “In My Room,” “I Get Around,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “Help Me Rhonda” and “California Girls,” just to name a handful of the more than two dozen Top 40 hits Brian co-wrote, arranged, produced, and performed on with the band.

 In 1966, Wilson produced three records in that landmark year that forever changed the course of popular music. The first was Pet Sounds; considered by many to be one of the greatest albums ever made. The album reached #10 on the American charts and featured four hit singles, including two Top 10 hits, a reworking of the folk standard “Sloop John B” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.”

 Brian’s second studio masterpiece in 1966 was a track that he first cut during the Pet Sounds session, “Good Vibrations.” Released that fall, the song is considered a milestone in recording history, demonstrating the breadth of Wilson’s musical vision as well as how the recording studio could be both an artist’s garret and a key instrument in creating his art. The song was the Beach Boys’ first million-selling, worldwide #1.

 Wilson then began to work on his third major production of ‘66, a new collaboration with an inspired poet, studio musician and burgeoning songwriter, Van Dyke Parks, on the recording titled SMiLE. Brian was nearly done with SMiLE when a combination of circumstances forced him to shelve it. For nearly 40 years, SMiLE became the most famous unfinished, unreleased album ever.

 Yet, throughout the years, even as Wilson battled his personal demons and rode the roller coaster of professional ups and downs, he continued to produce intimate musical gems and continued to make beautiful music. In 1988, Wilson finally released his first solo album, which featured “Love and Mercy,” the beautiful “message” song that often ends his concerts, vintage compositions (“Melt Away,” “There’s So Many,” “Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long”) as well as his first extended piece since the SMiLE  era, a “modular” suite called “Rio Grande”.

 Wilson returned to the stage in 1999. In February 2004, Brian Wilson Presents… SMiLE was revealed to the world in a week of dramatic “dream-fulfilling” concerts at London’s Royal Festival Hall, and after a brief tour, Brian and his band recorded an all-new studio version of the songs. Brian Wilson Presents… SMiLE was released in September 2004.  It topped many “Album of The Year” lists, went gold in the UK and earned Wilson his first Grammy Award. In 2007, Wilson received America’s highest artistic tribute, The Kennedy Center Honor.

In 2008, Brian Wilson released That Lucky Old Sun, an album Rolling Stone magazine praised as “Brian’s strongest new work in years.” A musical love letter from Southern California, That Lucky Old Sun shimmers with sun-dappled choruses and arrangements that swell and swirl as if carried by the Pacific tides.  The album is narrated in transitional interludes spoken by Wilson as ‘That Lucky Old Sun,’ the storyteller. Cameos on life and the heartbeat of Los Angeles, the narratives propel the album’s musical story. 

 Released last August, Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin is an album of George and Ira Gershwin classics that has garnered rave reviews. In an unprecedented meeting of two musical geniuses, separated by 70 years, Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin makes history with “The Like in I Love You” and “Nothing But Love” – two new songs Wilson crafted from previously unpublished music by Gershwin. With imaginative arrangements of some of the most widely known and recorded music in history, the album features Wilson’s trademark stacked vocal harmonies and orchestrations that made Wilson a towering and revered figure in popular music.

 The Beach Boys’ original SMiLE album sessions have never been released.  With the full participation of original Beach Boys Al Jardine, Mike Love, and Brian Wilson, Capitol/EMI has collected and compiled the definitive collection, The SMiLE Sessions, for worldwide release this year in multiple physical and digital configurations. The SMiLE Sessions’ global release date, complete track lists, and artwork will be unveiled soon. 

Brian Wilson will perform Brian Wilson Reimages Gershwin on a cross-country tour of Canada and select U.S. cities in June, followed by European dates. 

Registration for the NARM Convention is open now, and special rates for first-time independent retailers, individual members, and music business students are offered. The four-day event includes a Music Business Crash Course presented in collaboration with the American Association Of Independent Music (A2IM), an Entertainment & Technology Law Conference, a Townhall meeting for Artist Managers, a Musical Celebration sponsored by UMGD, special interest and genre-specific group meet-ups, an opening keynote interview with songwriter, producer and President of Creative at BMG North America Billy Mann, the Digital Think Tank update with keynote interview by Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners, special networking receptions sponsored by WEA, Rocket Science,  and Sony Music Entertainment, and more.

 All registrants of the NARM Convention are invited to attend the Awards Dinner Finale. Honorees at the event will include American Idol with an Outstanding Achievement Award celebrating the show’s 10th season; legendary songwriters Ken Gamble and Leon Huff for the Outstanding Achievement Award for Musical Collaboration; artist and advocate Annie Lennox for the Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award; John Marmaduke, Chairman of the Board, President & CEO of Hastings Entertainment with the Presidential Award for Sustained Executive Achievement; and Rachelle and Joe Friedman, founders of New York retail icon J&R Music & Computer World, with the Independent Spirit Award.  Additional award recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.

About NARM:

Established in 1958, NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) is the trade association for the business of music, providing the central platform for the discussion of industry-wide concerns, spearheading the implementation of initiatives to promote music commerce, and advocating for common interests. Members include companies and individuals from all aspects of music distribution, including physical, digital, and mobile outlets as well as gaming, applications, merchandise, video and more. NARM members have access to a variety of conferences, virtual seminars, networking opportunities, information and education resources. NARM is a non-profit organization based in Marlton, New Jersey. Visit us at www.narm.com.

 NARM’s Annual Convention is the nexus of commerce and content, bringing together ALL aspects of the business for four of the most important days on the music industry calendar. The 2011 NARM Convention & Crash Course will take place Monday, May 9, through Thursday, May 12 at the Los Angeles Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. 

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 Media can request credentials for the NARM Convention online at http://www.narm.com/events/2011-convention-crash-course/media/

 Media Contact:

Laurie Jakobsen, Jaybird Communications — laurie@jaybirdcom.com, 646.484.6764

Nicole Hennessey, NARM — hennessey@narm.com, 856.596.1803