On April 13th, a decade after it was completed, the unlikely collaboration between members of the Beach Boys, Foo Fighters, and Queen will finally see the light of day. The Record Store Day exclusive, called “Holly Man,” is Brian May, Roger Taylor, and Taylor Hawkins’ posthumous collaboration with the late-Dennis Wilson on his long-unreleased mid-’70s instrumental classic.
The track was finally released in 2008 with the deluxe reissue of Wilson’s 1977 solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue. At the time, “Holy Man” saw release in two versions — Wilson’s original backing track, and a new track featuring lyrics by Wilson’s longtime collaborator Gregg Jakobson with additional words by Hawkins — along with a newly recorded vocal by the Foo’s drummer based on Wilson’s original top line melody.
Due to behind the scenes politics, the third version featuring May and Taylor’s contributions remained on the shelf, with insiders telling us at the time that Brian May refused to approve a remix made by Wilson’s studio team. The upcoming Record Store Day release will be a 45 r.p.m. single disc with Wilson’s original mid-’70s backing track on the B-side.
When we last caught up with “Holy Man” co-writer and producer Gregg Jakobson, he told us that the Queen version was simply too good to stay in the can: “Taylor was so excited, he said, ‘Let’s send it to London. Let’s send it to Brian May and Roger Taylor — y’know, Queen. They’ll love this, man!’ So we sent it over there, and sure enough they did love it. They kept it for six weeks and they played with it and added background vocals, lead guitar, percussion — but they kept it so long that it didn’t get to go on the album. So now we don’t know quite what to do with it. Everybody’s heard about it, it’s kind of becoming a legendary thing, and it’s six minutes long and it’s just beautiful — we’re thinking about an exclusive iTunes release.”
Roger Taylor told us not too long ago, that he honestly wants to see the Dennis Wilson / Queen track see the light of day: “Yeah, that should come out. That was a great, I thought that was a really great piece of music, actually. Taylor and I are both fans of Dennis. I loved that album (Pacific Ocean Blue) — I play that all the time in the car. That’s a fantastic album. Got a little soul, that guy. I wasn’t even aware that Brian was holding it up. I think he might be mortified to find out the fact that he was holding up the release. It’s a good piece of music. It should not be held up, y’know?”
Photo Courtesy of Neal Preston