Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson delivered a stripped-down and stirring version of his solo tune “Love And Mercy” on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Thursday evening.
The 1988 song seems even more timely now than when it was written, referencing violence, hurt and loneliness.
Love and mercy, that’s what you need tonight
So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight
“I just want you guys to know that we’re all in this together,” the 77-year-old musician said from his piano at home:
In the liner notes to the album’s reissue, Wilson called the tune “a personal message” and said that when he sings it live, it’s with a sense of healing.
"'Love And Mercy’ is probably the most spiritual song I’ve ever written,” he said.
Wilson also performed a raw and affecting take on the Beach Boys classic “God Only Knows”:
Wilson has been struggling with both physical and mental health problems for years. He’s had multiple back surgeries and last summer postponed a tour due to feeling mentally insecure, an issue he has been open about.
“It is no secret that I have been living with mental illness for many decades,” he said in a statement last year. “There were times when it was unbearable but with doctors and medications I have been able to live a wonderful, healthy and productive life with support from my family, friends and fans who have helped me through this journey.”
Although Wilson resumed touring last autumn, this year’s tour dates were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.