Love and Mercy

Album: Brian Wilson (1988)

Songfacts®:

  • During a discussion and performance at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles in January 2009, Wilson offered a detail about his songwriting at the time. He admitted: "I had just drunk a half a bottle of Champagne, and I said, 'Hey, I feel like writing a song,' So I wrote 'Love and Mercy half-drunk."
  • This song features Brian Wilson on many of the backing vocals as well as lead vocals.
  • As this was the lead single from Wilson's first ever solo album, this song garnered a lot of publicity at the time. However, it failed to chart in either the UK or US.
  • Brian Wilson recalled the story of the song, which he wrote the help of his therapist Dr. Eugene Landy: "I was in my piano room, and I was playing 'What The World Needs Now, Is Love, Sweet Love' and I just went into my own song. I worked very hard to get out of me what was in my heart on that one."

    "I called up Dr. Landy and we worded on the lyrics together. I was going for a spiritual, semi-Beach Boy kind of background sound, but more of a Brian Wilson lead vocal thing. 'Love And Mercy' is a real positive vibe; it really is."

Comments: 1

  • Jim from Ocean Grove, NjBrian Wilson is a musical genius. He wrote all the great Beach Boys songs that some guys with Mike Love still perform. After finishing the spectacular album Pet Sounds, Brian created the song Good Vibrations and was working on an album called Smile. But, Brian was overwhelmed by Sargent Peppers by the Beatles and felt he could not write songs as good (remember Beatles had 3 songwriters) and he started having psychiatric problems.
    After 20 years, Brian finally began to record again and opened his 1988 solo album with this gem. He is basically talking about how difficult it can be living in this world. When you look around, you see loneliness, people drinking to escape, tragedies shown on TV, violence in movies. But, love and mercy TONIGHT, one day at a time, can help you keep going rather than sink into depression.
    The harmonies are as beautiful and sublime as songs by the Beach Boys in the 1960s.
    See the movie, Love and Mercy. Excellent.
    And, if you get a chance, see Brian live, still performing in 2017 with a great band.
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