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AMERICAN MASTERS: Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road

Brian Wilson
Courtesy of Barb Bialkowski
Brian Wilson

Premieres Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + Wednesday, June 15 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 / On demand with PBS Video App

Features an original song written by Wilson and Jim James and interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Nick Jonas, Jakob Dylan, Gustavo Dudamel and others

The principal originator of the “California sound,” musician, singer, songwriter, record producer and co-founder of The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson is known for his novel approach to composition and recording and is widely acknowledged as one of the most innovative and significant musicians of the 20th century.

Watch Brian Wilson produce a song

The new documentary AMERICAN MASTERS "Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road" follows Wilson on a drive through Los Angeles with his longtime friend and Rolling Stone editor Jason Fine. With Fine behind the wheel and Wilson selecting the music, they reflect on the formative and creative periods in Wilson’s life as they revisit the places that helped to shape his career.

When journalist Jason Fine first met Brian Wilson

The filmed road trip provides an intimate look into Wilson’s recollections and is bolstered by memorable concert and studio footage as well as interviews with Wilson’s admirers and those close to him, including Al Jardine (co-founder of The Beach Boys), Don Was (record executive), Bruce Springsteen (musician), Elton John (musician), Nick Jonas (musician and actor), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers), Gustavo Dudamel (conductor and music director) and the late Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), among others.

The documentary also introduces “Right Where I Belong,” an original song written and performed by Wilson and Jim James.

Wilson’s professional career began in 1961 with the founding of the Beach Boys, serving as the band's songwriter, producer, co-lead vocalist, bassist, keyboardist, and de facto leader. By the mid-1960s, Wilson had written or co-written more than two dozen U.S. Top 40 hits, including the number-ones "Surf City" (1963), "I Get Around" (1964), "Help Me, Rhonda" (1965), and "Good Vibrations" (1966).

Rare studio footage of the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations"

Wilson's honors include induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of the Beach Boys) and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, a Kennedy Center Honor, two Grammy Awards, and the Ivor Novello Award. This film highlights Wilson’s achievements, but Wilson also opens up and shares intensely personal glimpses into his struggles with mental illness and drug abuse.

Brian Wilson visits his high school

Listen to the Music:

Beep beep! Rev up your summer with our Brian Wilson playlist, “Long Promised Road Trip.” Check out our summer playlist inspired by the film and learn more about the songs that made Wilson one of the most renowned songwriters of the 20th century.

Watch On Your Schedule:

AMERICAN MASTERS is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including, and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO.


A production of Ley Line Entertainment in association with American Masters Pictures. Directed by Brent Wilson (no relation). Written by Jason Fine and Brent Wilson. Produced by Tim Headington, p.g.a., Theresa Steele Page, p.g.a. and Brent Wilson, p.g.a. Jason Fine is Executive Producer. Jean Sievers is Co-Producer. Michael Kantor is executive producer for AMERICAN MASTERS.

#PBSForTheArts is a multiplatform campaign that celebrates the arts in America. For more than 50 years, PBS has been the media destination for the arts, presenting dance, theater, opera, visual arts and concerts to Americans in every corner of the country.