Imagination (Brian Wilson album)

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Studio album by Brian Wilson
Released June 16, 1998 (1998-06-16)
Recorded Fall 1997–Spring 1998
Genre Rock
Length 39:09
Label Giant
Brian Wilson chronology
Orange Crate Art
Live at the Roxy Theatre
Singles from Imagination
  1. "Your Imagination"/"Happy Days"
    Released: May 19, 1998 (1998-05-19)
  2. "South American"
    Released: 1998 (1998)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
NME 6/10 stars[2]
Robert Christgau C[3]

Imagination is Brian Wilson's fourth solo album, and his second release of new original studio material. It was issued in 1998 on Giant Records and distributed by Warner Music. The album received moderately favorable reviews upon its release, though its commercial performance was relatively weak.

Its best-known track is "Your Imagination", an adult contemporary Top 20 hit. The second single,[citation needed] "South American", was co-written by Jimmy Buffett. Wilson dedicated the album to his brother Carl Wilson, who died of cancer earlier in the year.[citation needed]


Wilson covered two of his own Beach Boys songs for Imagination: "Keep an Eye on Summer" and "Let Him Run Wild". In addition, "She Says That She Needs Me" was the result of a lyric re-write by Carole Bayer Sager of an original Wilson composition in 1965 (titled "Sandy She Needs Me" and later "Sherry She Needs Me"), while the closing song, "Happy Days", featured recycled elements of an unreleased Beach Boys track, "My Solution", from 1970.

Most of the album's new songs were written by Wilson and collaborator Joe Thomas. Many outtakes would later be revived for the Beach Boys' 2012 reunion album That's Why God Made the Radio.


Imagination (Giant 24703) hit #88 in the US during a chart stay of 2 weeks. It reached'#30 in the UK. To promote the release of Imagination, Brian Wilson performed a live taping for VH-1 at the St. Charles East High School auditorium in St. Charles, Illinois.[4] The live performance included guest performances from Christopher Cross, Beach Boys member Bruce Johnston, and Eagles members Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit and Steve Dahl. The concert, which was later incorporated with additional interviews from Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton, Sean Lennon, Stevie Wonder, and Jimmy Buffett, was released on VHS in 1998 and DVD in 1999 but is currently out-of-print. "Your Imaginination" and "Lay Down Burden" were aired as music videos on VH1, with the album audio played over the video, and clips of Brian walking through the woods "thinking" and "day dreaming" and images of him and his brothers on the screen. He supported the album with a tour, beginning with the Late Show with David Letterman on August 14, 1998.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Your Imagination" (Brian Wilson, Joe Thomas, Steve Dahl) – 3:38
  2. "She Says That She Needs Me" (Brian Wilson, Russ Titelman, Carole Bayer Sager) – 3:59
  3. "South American" (Brian Wilson, Joe Thomas, Jimmy Buffett) – 3:44
  4. "Where Has Love Been?" (Brian Wilson, Andy Paley, J.D. Souther) – 2:17
  5. "Keep an Eye on Summer" (Brian Wilson, Bob Norman) – 2:48
  6. "Dream Angel" (Brian Wilson, Joe Thomas, Jim Peterik) – 3:21
  7. "Cry" (Brian Wilson) – 4:56
  8. "Lay Down Burden" (Brian Wilson, Joe Thomas) – 3:44
  9. "Let Him Run Wild" (Brian Wilson, Mike Love) – 2:29
  10. "Sunshine" (Brian Wilson, Joe Thomas) – 3:20
  11. "Happy Days" (Brian Wilson) – 4:44


Brian Wilson - Drums, Keyboards, Organ, Piano and Lead Vocals

Additional Musicians
  • Eddie Bayers - Drums
  • Scott Bennett - Guitar
  • Jackie Bertone - Percussion
  • Jimmy Buffett - Background Vocals
  • Richie Cannata - Saxophone
  • Tom Chaffee - Guitar
  • Christopher Cross - Background Vocals
  • Larry Franklin - Violin
  • Bruce Johnston - Background Vocals
  • John Larson - Trumpet
  • Greg Leisz - Guitar
  • Bob Lizik - Bass
  • Paul Mertens - Clarinet, Fiddle, Flute, Percussion and Saxophone
  • Jim Peterik - Guitar
  • Michael Rhodes - Bass
  • Brent Rowan - Guitar, Mandolin and Sitar
  • Timothy B. Schmit - Background Vocals
  • Todd Sucherman - Drums
  • Joe Thomas - Accordion, Keyboards, Organ , Percussion, Piano, Timpani and Vibraphone
  • Jay Trtan - Bass