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My Diane ( Beach Boys Brian Wilson Cover ) 01.15.10

I’ve always considered the song My Diane to be an overlooked masterpiece in the songwriting canon of Brian Wilson. It’s written about his friendship with his sister-in-law, Diane Rovell, sibling of Brian Wilson’s ex-wife, Marilyn. I like to think of the song as a love letter to a dear friend. For years Diane used to book the musicians for Brian in the studio. When Brian’s marriage to Marilyn ended amicably, it was inevitable that his relationship with Diane would change as well.

I prefer to focus on the craft of the song itself. There are amazing chord changes in this song, and it’s an instance when Wilson wrote both the melody and lyric. His lyrics are direct and to the point. Someone is broken-hearted with a profound sense of loss, and it comes through in the way the song is constructed.

The released version is sung by Dennis Wilson. Dennis’s voice was rough hewn and sandpapery by this point, yet still emotive. He had the appropriate voice to deliver the poignant lyric.

The song appeared on the now-almost-forgotten 1978 Beach Boys M.I.U. Album, which was their final Warners album before they jumped over to CBS. It was produced by Brian, Al Jardine and Ron Altbach. I have always loved My Diane and Matchpoint Of Our Love, which uses tennis vernacular to describe a love affair! It’s great.

My Diane was written during a solemn period in Brian Wilson’s life, but from great emotional turmoil can great art be generated from a creative soul. Wilson has since gone on to recover from this period, start a new family, and make a triumphant return to recording and touring. This song is a standard in my humble opinion, and more people need to know about it.

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