Sweet Insanity

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Sweet Insanity
Sweet Insanity.jpg
The cover of Sweet Insanity's promotional cassette acetates which include a provisional track listing
Studio album (bootleg) by
Released1991 (1991) (unofficial cassette acetate)
  • 1986–89
  • June 23–September 4, 1990
LabelSire/Reprise/Warner Bros. (rejected)
Brian Wilson recording chronology
Brian Wilson
Sweet Insanity
Andy Paley sessions

Sweet Insanity is an unofficial album by American musician Brian Wilson that was originally planned for release in 1991.[1] Wilson has said that the master tapes were stolen, preventing an official release, although the songs are available on numerous bootlegs. Five of the songs were rerecorded over a decade later and released on Wilson's 2004 album, Gettin' In Over My Head,[2] although some critics believed the remakes weren't as good as the originals. Sweet Insanity is one of the more sought-after bootleg albums.[3]

In 2015, Wilson spoke about Sweet Insanity, saying "Sweet Insanity was never really released. You’ve got bootlegs, but it was never released. And I thought some of the stuff was pretty good. It wasn’t the best album I ever wrote. We just didn’t think it was good enough. They were just like demos. We recorded about 10-12 songs, and we decided not to put it because we thought that maybe people wouldn’t like it, so we junked it."[4]


Initially entitled Brian, the album was intended to be a follow up to his 1988 solo debut, Brian Wilson. During this stage in Wilson's life, he was under the care of psychologist Dr. Eugene Landy, who was known for his unconventional 24-hour therapy. Landy was micro-managing Wilson's life, including his creative career, and became Wilson's primary collaborator. The pair had collaborated on Wilson's first solo album as well.[2] Andy Paley remembers that the album's recording was "an unpleasant experience".[5]

Sweet Insanity only exists on physical media as a promotional cassette acetate manufactured for Brains & Genius, Wilson's and Landy's production company. (The actual cassette was presumably manufactured by Warner Bros. Records; The cassette tape uses Warners' clear shell and typeface) and carries a 1991 copyright date. The cassette includes two bonus tracks: (CD Bonus/"Country Feelin'" and Single, B-Side/"Hotter"). It's unclear whether this particular cassette contains the first or second iteration of the album.[citation needed]


"Someone to Love" derived a melody from Dennis Wilson's "San Miguel".[citation needed] "Water Builds Up" features the same verse melody as "Let's Go to Heaven in My Car".[citation needed] "Hotter" was recorded between 1987–1988, and produced by Brian Wilson and Russ Titelman.[citation needed] "Love Ya" was originally recorded as "Sweetie" in the early 1980s, then re-recorded between 1987–1988, produced by Brian and Titelman.[citation needed]

In 2004, "Save the Day" was rerecorded with new lyrics and renamed "Fairy Tale".[citation needed] "Let's Stick Together", which featured "Weird Al" Yankovic on accordion, was retitled "The Waltz".[citation needed] "The Spirit of Rock and Roll", which featured Bob Dylan on co-lead vocals; recorded between August 1986–January 1987, produced by Brian and Gary Usher; re-recorded for the 2006 Beach Boys album Songs from Here & Back.[citation needed]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic2/5 stars[6]

Brett Milano called it "a brilliant album" in the Boston Phoenix. "For the first time since ''Til I Die', he's writing directly about his breakdown and recovery...Landy may have written these lyrics, but it hardly matters; Wilson didn't write the lyrics to Pet Sounds either." Milano later labeled it one of Wilson's best post-'60s albums. Jackson Griffith praised it in Tower Records' Pulse magazine, calling it "easily the finest, most consistently satisfying Wilson disc since The Beach Boys' Sunflower. He's still got it." Bill Holdship praised the album in both BAM and MOJO magazines.[1] The Detroit News' Susan Whitall and Entertainment Weekly's Dave DiMartino praised the album in their publications, and it appeared on several 1991 year-end poll lists.[citation needed]

A cover version of "Do You Have Any Regrets?" was independently released by Wilson's future bandmate Darian Sahanaja.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

Adapted from 1991 cassette acetate. "Brian" was also known as "Thank You".[2]

Side one
2."Someone to Love"3:57
3."Water Builds Up"3:18
4."Don't Let Her Know She's an Angel"3:39
5."Do You Have Any Regrets?"3:43
Side two
1."The Spirit of Rock & Roll" (featuring Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne)3:23
2."Rainbow Eyes"4:18
3."Love Ya"3:05
4."Make a Wish"2:57
5."Smart Girls"4:09
6."Country Feelin'" (CD bonus)2:42
7."Hotter" (Single, B-side)3:50


  1. ^ a b Holdship, Bill (September 1996). "Brian Wilson: The Story of Sweet Insanity". Rock's Backpages Library. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Doe, Andrew Grayham. "UNRELEASED". Endless Summer Quarterly.
  3. ^ Milano, Brett. "Old school: Ringo Starr and Brian Wilson". Boston Phoenix. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  4. ^ Herrera, Dave (July 10, 2015). "A Q&A with Brian Wilson". Las Vegas Review Journal.
  5. ^ Holdship, Bill (August 1995). "Lost in Music" (PDF). MOJO. Archived from the original on June 30, 1998.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  6. ^ Greenwald, Matthew. "Review: Sweet Insanity". Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved 28 August 2009.