Wilson Phillips

Wilson Phillips were Carnie and Wendy Wilson (daughters of Beach Boy Brian Wilson) and Chynna Phillips (daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of "The Mamas and the Papas") - it's a bit of a myth they were all related. For some reason (boredom?) they formed a fantastic vocal trio in 1986 and changed the face of the pop world forever. After recording some demos, Glen Ballard (he's had a few) hoved into view on wings of silver, and a global smash was "born".

"Wilson Phillips" the album sold over 10 million copies worldwide and featured Carnie dressed as Jon Pertwee in "The Airzone Solution" on its cover. That it was four years in the making speaks volumes - although occasionally descending into bland eighties light rock, for the most part it's an immaculately produced and sung record full of tight vocal harmonies and cute four minute songs. "Hold On" was the perfect lead single, predictably making number 1 in the States and Top 10 in the UK. Further singles here flopped, but they kept releasing them anyway.

The girls debut was quickly followed up by "Shadows and Light", it's lesser selling (but still platinum) successor, which spawned just two singles.


The solo calling found Chynna and she left "Wilson Phillips" to make "Naked and Sacred" in 1995 and be in a musical. Wilson Phillips lumbered on without the Phillips for a 1993 Christmas album, and Carnie got a workout video, a talk show (called "Carnie!" - it's for us) and a clothing range. In 1997, Carnie and Wendy roped Dad into "Monday Without You", an album credited to "The Wilsons" which is conveniently forgotten whenever talk of Brian Wilson's comeback is mentioned. Lost! In 2000, the "Greatest Hits" was released, although the girls didn't get back together to promote it (my favourite Wilson Phillips song is "A conversation with Wilson Phillips"). It was so padded there was room for "Hotel California (Live In Japan)".

Meanwhile Carnie fought obesity, and ballooned to over 300 pounds in weight. She had gastric bypass surgery live on the Internet in 1999 as a last resort.

Carnie Wilson successfully went from size 28 to size 6 after her surgery, made a solo album and went on a Walk From Obesity to raise awareness of the condition. She also released a book, "I'm Still Hungry" and had a daughter, Lola Sophia Bonfiglio.

In 2004, the band got back together to make an American Songs covers album, as is the way of these things. "California" spawned a Billboard Top 20 hit in "Go Your Own Way", a Fleetwood Mac cover, but the album failed to rise further than #36. I-Tunes users could also get "Hold On (acoustic) as an exclusive.

Carnie, today

Everything is available on Ebay for tuppence, including "A Mothers Gift", the Carnie solo album, which features "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "What A Wonderful World" and "You Are So Beautiful", a stomach-churning duet with Dad Brian. She's turned into an icon! Look at her!


Wilson Phillips - live and airbrushed