That Lucky Old Sun (album)

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That Lucky Old Sun
Studio album by Brian Wilson
Released September 2, 2008 (2008-09-02)
Recorded January–April 2008
Genre Art pop[1]
Length 38:09
Label Capitol
Producer Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson chronology
What I Really Want for Christmas
(2005)What I Really Want for Christmas2005
That Lucky Old Sun
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin
(2010)Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin2010

That Lucky Old Sun is the eighth studio album by Brian Wilson, released on September 2, 2008 by Capitol Records. It was written in collaboration with Wilson's bandmate Scott Bennett with spoken word poetry commissioned from Van Dyke Parks. As a concept album, the work largely derives from the 1949 song "That Lucky Old Sun", originally recorded by Frankie Laine.


Wilson describes the album as "consisting of five 'rounds', with interspersed spoken word".[2] Its main theme is celebration of life in Southern California, harking back to the themes of Wilson's earlier work with The Beach Boys. "California Role" and numerous spoken interludes such as "Cinco de Mayo" and "Between Pictures" celebrate the unique culture of Venice Beach, the Los Angeles film industry and numerous Californian landmarks including the Capitol Tower and Hollywood Bowl. Rolling Stone called it a "musical love letter to his native Los Angeles".[3]

A pervasive feeling of nostalgia and romance is visible in songs such as "Good Kind of Love", "Oxygen to the Brain" and "Forever She'll Be My Surfer Girl", which lyrically echoes the 1963 Beach Boys hit "Surfer Girl". The album also addresses Wilson's personal struggles in "Midnight's Another Day" and "Going Home". The 1940s' song "That Lucky Old Sun" originally made famous by Frankie Laine who had a number one hit with it in 1949, serves as the overture, and the Wild Honey-era outtake "Can't Wait Too Long" also briefly features.

Early demos of the tracks "Midnight's Another Day" and "Forever She'll Be My Surfer Girl" were released on Wilson's official website in August 2007. Live bootlegs and studio demos of the complete work also circulated on the Internet.

Live performances[edit]

Originally commissioned by the Southbank Centre for its 2007 opening season, the work was debuted in a series of concerts at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England during September 2007. In January 2008 it was also performed at the State Theatre in Sydney, Australia for the Sydney Festival.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 70/100[4]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[5]
Entertainment Weekly B[6]
Mojo 4/5 stars[7]
Pitchfork Media 7.8/10[8]
PopMatters 8/10 stars[9]
Robert Christgau (1-star Honorable Mention)[10]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[11]
Slant Magazine 4.5/5 stars[12]
Spin 8/10[13]
Uncut 4/5 stars[14]

That Lucky Old Sun entered the UK Album Chart at #37 and the Billboard 200 at #21. The album has sold 65,000 copies in the US as of April 2015.[15]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "That Lucky Old Sun" Beasley Smith/Haven Gillespie 0:57
2. "Morning Beat" Brian Wilson/Scott Bennett 2:55
3. "A Room With a View (narrative)" Wilson/Van Dyke Parks 0:45
4. "Good Kind of Love" Wilson 3:20
5. "Forever She'll Be My Surfer Girl" Wilson/Bennett 2:52
6. "Venice Beach (narrative)" Wilson/Parks 0:45
7. "Live Let Live / That Lucky Old Sun (reprise)" Wilson/Parks–Smith/Gillespie 2:35
8. "Mexican Girl" Wilson/Bennett 2:42
9. "Cinco de Mayo (narrative)" Wilson/Parks 0:46
10. "California Role / That Lucky Old Sun (reprise)" Wilson/Bennett–Smith/Gillespie 2:41
11. "Between Pictures (narrative)" Wilson/Parks 0:48
12. "Oxygen to the Brain" Wilson/Bennett 3:28
13. "Can't Wait Too Long" Wilson 0:54
14. "Midnight’s Another Day" Wilson/Bennett 3:57
15. "That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise)" Smith/Gillespie 0:43
16. "Going Home" Wilson/Bennett 3:03
17. "Southern California" Wilson/Bennett 4:58
Total length: 38:09


Wilson performing in 2007

From the album's liner notes.[16]

Additional Musicians
  • Peggy Baldwin - Cello
  • Scott Bennett - Bass, Keyboards, Spanish Guitar, Vibraphone and Background Vocals
  • Nelson Bragg - Percussion and Background Vocals
  • Phil Feather - Woodwinds
  • Jeffrey Foskett - Guitar, Ukulele and Background Vocals
  • Probyn Gregory - French Horn, Guitar, Trumpet and Background Vocals
  • Peter Kent - Violin
  • Bob Lizik - Bass
  • Taylor Mills - Background Vocals
  • Tommy Morgan - Harmonica
  • Bruce Otto - Trombone
  • Darian Sahanaja - Bells, Keyboards and Background Vocals
  • Brett Simmons - Bass
  • Cameron Stone - Cello
  • Todd Sucherman - Drums
  • Jessica van Velzen - Viola
  • Nick Walusko - Guitar and Background Vocals


  1. ^ Wood, Mikael (September 22, 2008). "Brian Wilson - That Lucky Old Sun". Time Out. 
  2. ^ "BRIAN WILSON TO PREMIERE NEW CREATION IN LONDON". Uncut (magazine). Archived from the original on February 11, 2007. 
  3. ^ Fine, Jason (2008-09-18). "Brian Wilson's L.A. Love Letter". Rolling Stone (1061): 24. 
  4. ^ "That Lucky Old Sun - Brian Wilson". Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  5. ^ Bush, John. "Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun". AllMusic. 
  6. ^ Willman, Chris (August 29, 2008). "That Lucky Old Sun". Entertainment Weekly. 
  7. ^ Mojo magazine. September 2008, p.99
  8. ^ Tangari, Joe (September 3, 2008). "Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun". Pitchfork Media. 
  9. ^ Keefe, Michael (September 8, 2008). "Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun". PopMatters. 
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert. "That Lucky Old Sun". Robert Christgau. 
  11. ^ Fricke, David (September 4, 2008). "Brian Wilson That Lucky Old Sun". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. 
  12. ^ Towery, Micah (August 29, 2008). "Brian Wilson That Lucky Old Sun". Slant Magazine. 
  13. ^ Anderson, Stacey. "Brian Wilson 'That Lucky Old Sun'". Spin (magazine). Archived from the original on April 14, 2011. 
  14. ^ Quantick, David (August 19, 2008). "Brian Wilson – That Lucky Old Sun". Uncut (magazine). 
  15. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. 
  16. ^ That Lucky Old Sun (CD). Brian Wilson. Capitol Records. 2008.