Brian Wilson turned 79 this year and here in New Jersey some of our top rockers paid tribute with an album so good I can't stop listening to it. "Jem Records Celebrates Brian Wilson" features performances by "The Weeklings", "The Grip Weeds", "The Anderson Council", Nick Piunti, Richard Barone, The Gold Needles, Jonathan Pushkar, "The Midnight Callers" and Lisa Mychols and Super 8"

If you listen to the podcast of the interview I did with Jem President Marty Scott and Kurt Reil of the Gripweeds, a band named after the character John Lennon portrayed in the movie "How I Won The War" you'll hear how Jem records began 50 years ago as well as Reil's experiences playing with Wilson himself.

The version the Gripweeds do of "You're So Good To Me is off the charts as well as their "Heroes and Villians/Roll Plymouth Rock" During the conversation Richard Barone joins in to talk about how he actually recorded "In My Room" in his room. Thanks to the pandemic, everybody was in their rooms, but they didn't sound as good as this. Barone also spoke of the video he made with Jonathan Pushkar which you can see here.

One of my favorite parts of the album is the Weeklings version of "Help Me Rhonda" which follows their incredible acapella version of "The Warmth Of The Sun" which opens the album. In a stroke of brilliance, they work the Beatles "Help" into the song, combining two of the best songwriters in history.

John Posada

I asked Weekling alter ego Glen Burtnik about his love for Brian Wilson

"I’ve been a lifelong Brian Wilson fan. I’ve even had A chance to work with him, which was a thrill. When Marty Scott of JEM records asked The Weeklings to contribute to his Brian Wilson compilation, we decided to go with a song that most people know. Personally, there are a lot of less popular Beach Boy tracks which are favorites of mine, but doing a well-known song seemed like the best choice."

Why "Help Me Rhonda"?

"Help Me Rhonda is a fabulous pop song which The Weeklings wanted to apply our own spin to" says Burtnik

"Brian Wilson is a brilliant American songwriter/arranger. I co wider him in the same club as Stephen Foster, John Phillip Sousa, George Gershwin and Fats Waller"

Burtnik, who's recreated full Beatles albums on stage with orchestras tallks about working "Help" into "Help Me Rhonda"

"While recording our version of “Help Me Rhonda” we saw an opportunity to insert a nod to The Beatles’ “Help”. Considering our initial concept as a band, we figured why not. We love dropping little “Easter Eggs” in our music"

Burtnik compared performing Brian Wilson songs to Beatles music

"Brian Wilson & Beatles songs are from the same era of pop music,yet completely different. Nevertheless, both repertoires are rich with a sophistication not often seen in rock and roll.
In general, covering Brian Wilson music requires more harmony and covering the Beatles requires a little more aggression. But revisiting and rearranging any of the classics from these two catalogs requires balls (or maybe or just plain stupidity)"

To get "Jem Records Celebrates Brian Wilson" click here

Here's the Anderson Council who perform "Girl Don't Tell Me You'll Write

The Gold Needles perform "Love And Mercy"

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

Best-selling album year you graduated

Check Out the Best-Selling Album From the Year You Graduated High School

Do you remember the top album from the year you graduated high school? Stacker analyzed Billboard data to determine just that, looking at the best-selling album from every year going all the way back to 1956. Sales data is included only from 1992 onward when Nielsen's SoundScan began gathering computerized figures.

Going in chronological order from 1956 to 2020, we present the best-selling album from the year you graduated high school.