Brian Wilson & Eugene Landy

Abuse in the history of the music industry isn’t hard to find.  Abuse of power. Abuse of money. Abuse of connections.  Between music executives and band managers, it is important that a musician carefully selects trustworthy people to surround themselves with. In the case of Brian Wilson and Eugene Landy, this abuse was taken to an incredibly extreme level.

Eugene Landy pocessed a Phd in psychology from the University of Oklahoma and published several works including his most famous, The Underground Dictionary. He had worked with an impressive list of celebrity patients including Alice Cooper.  You can imagine how appealing this was to Brian Wilson and his then-wife in 1975 when Wilson was experiencing weight gain, bouts of depression and undiagnosed audio-hallucinations that had kept him from touring with the Beach Boys.  Landy diagnosed Wilson (wrongly) with paranoid schizophrenia and put him on a strict diet, workout and drug regiment that cost a pretty penny.  One year later he was fired for his high fees but this would not be the last of him.

Mark Sullivan 70's Rock Archive
Brian Wilson with Dr. Eugene Landy outside rehearsal for Rock Awards at The Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, CA 1977; Various Locations; Mark Sullivan 70’s Rock Archive; Hollywood; CA. (Photo by Mark Sullivan/Contour by Getty Images)

In 1982 Wilson’s manager turned to Landy again to help Brian with the same symptoms but this time much worse. He had gained massive amounts of weight and spent days in bed (Hence: “Lyin in bed just like Brian Wilson did”).  This time around, Landy’s “treatment” would cost $430,000 dollars per year (nypost.com) and would include 24 hour surveillance of Wilson, having full control of any and all of his connections and relationships.  Landy put Wilson on very heavy drugs that kept him docile and obedient to intense waves of verbal abuse.  He even required royalties and writing credit on Beach Boys music!

It was Melinda Ledbetter, Wilsons current wife, who finally put a stop to it all.  After meeting Landy she was threatened, realized Wilson was being drugged and worried about the safety of herself and Wilson. Once Landy made it clear that Ledbetter and Wilson were no longer “allowed” to see each other, Ledbetter worked with lawyers and Wilson’s family to stop this crime.  In 1992, she was successful and Landy was no longer allowed to contact Wilson.  His psychological license was revoked.   Wilson and Ledbetter married soon after and we have her to thank that this musical genius is still creating today.

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