Brian, sober and healthy since 1985 after years of therapy and exercise, returned to his piano during an all-star tribute to his career at New York's Radio City Music Hall on March 29 (airing July 4 on TNT). Billy Joel, Elton John, Ricky Martin, Vince Gill, Wilson Phillips and the Boys Choir of Harlem were among the stars having fun fun fun, performing some of the musical gemstones Wilson, 58, composed as a Beach Boy in the '60s and, later, as a solo artist. (Surviving Beach Boys Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston were not invited.)
During a raucous finale that had Elton John and Billy Joel doing the twist to "Surfin' USA," Wilson's second wife, Melinda Ledbetter, 53, and the couple's two daughters, Daria, 4, and Delanie, 3, danced in the aisles. "Thank you for coming tonight," said Wilson at one point, addressing the sellout crowd of 6,000. "Is this great or what?"
For nearly 20 years, up until the mid-'80s, Brian Wilson was an obese, drug-addled recluse, reeling from the effects of his 1964 nervous breakdown. But during that time, recalled Carnie Wilson, "music filled our house, and my dad was always at the piano. Always at the piano."