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In Warm Memory Of JFK. A Song By Brian Wilson Of The Beach Boys.

Joe Bauer

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I never knew the JFK context of the Beach Boys Brian Wilson/Mike Love song "The Warmth Of The Sun" until just today.

Hope the forum doesn't mind a touching tribute post regards this.

Wilson and Love began composing the song on November 22, 1963, the day of the assassination of John F. Kennedy,[1]although the two co-authors give different accounts of the timing and whether it was begun before or after the killing. The subsequent recording of the song was informed by the emotional shock felt by its authors in the wake of Kennedy's death.

"The Warmth of the Sun" was started in the early morning hours of the same morning that President Kennedy was killed in Dallas. The melody was so haunting, sad, melancholy, that the only thing that I could think of lyrically was the loss of love, when interest slips and feelings aren't reciprocated…though I wanted to have a silver lining on that cumulus nimbus cloud so I wrote the lyrics from the perspective of, "Yes, things have changed and love is no longer there, but the memory of it lingers like the warmth of the sun." I think it's really impactful and memorable…one of my favorite songs from an emotional and personal point of view.

— Mike Love, 2007[2]

In the 2016 autobiography I Am Brian Wilson, Wilson recalled that the song was written the day of the assassination, in response to it:

When the shooting happened, everyone knew instantly. It was all over the TV and on every kind of news. I called Mike and he asked me if I wanted to write a song about it. I said sure. It seemed like something we had to think about, and songs were the way I thought about things. We drove over to my office and in a half hour we had "The Warmth of the Sun." We didn't think of it as a big song. It was a personal response. But it got bigger over time because of the history linked to it.[3]


Edited by Joe Bauer
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    Coincidentally, 1963 was also the year that Brian Wilson had his first serious psychotic break and experienced the onset of auditory hallucinations-- according the recently produced biographical film, Love and Mercy, FWIW.

     Haven't read the reviews, but I thought the film was a poignant portrayal of Wilson's struggle with schizoaffective disorder, and his gradual recovery after he met his second (and current) wife.


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