May 19, 2008 / 7:39 PM / 11 years ago

Brian Wilson in "sentimental" mood for new album

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Brian Wilson will release his first album in more than three years in September, a project that marks his return to Capitol Records, the label where he gained fame with the Beach Boys during the 1960s.

Brian Wilson poses with a Grammy he won at the 47th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in this February 13, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files

“That Lucky Old Sun” will come out in the United States on September 2, and a day earlier internationally, Wilson and Capitol announced on Monday during a news conference at the label’s historic tower in Hollywood.

“It’s a great honor to be here and a very sentimental time in my life,” said Wilson, 65, looking relatively healthy in a striped polo shirt, faded jeans and slip-on tennis shoes. “I haven’t recorded here in 46 years, almost half a century that I haven’t recorded here. Ha!”

He said he had fond memories of recording the Beach Boys’ 1962 debut, “Surfin’ Safari” at Capitol. Later efforts, such as 1966’s “Pet Sounds,” were recorded at other studios around Hollywood, though the group remained signed to Capitol, now a unit of closely held EMI Group Plc.

Most of Wilson’s solo recordings, including his self-titled 1988 debut and 2004’s Grammy-winning “Smile,” have been released by Warner Music Group Corp. His last album, “What I Really Want for Christmas,” came out in 2005 through Arista Records.

Described by Capitol as “a musical love letter from Southern California,” the new album features 11 songs punctuated by spoken-word narratives describing life in Los Angeles.

The title track was written in 1949 by Tin Pan Alley composer Haven Gillespie and Nashville songwriter Beasley Smith. It has been recorded by the likes of Frankie Laine, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jerry Garcia and Johnny Cash. But Wilson was guided by Louis Armstrong’s version.

Wilson said he had been working on the album for about two years, with lyricists Van Dyke Parks and Scott Bennett, and he recorded it with his longtime backing band.

A Wilson spokeswoman said he was wooed by six labels, but that Capitol was the most enthusiastic. The parties shook hands on a deal about three weeks ago, she said.

Wilson will hit the road for two weeks in June and July for seven shows in Britain, Canada and the United States.

Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Steve Gorman

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