The Beach Boys
“To be a great producer, music has to be a big part of your soul. And when it comes to making music, if I could invent a way to get it from my heart into yours, without doing all that hard work, I would be very happy.”
The Beach Boys
Formed in 1961, this laid back and talented quintet The Beach Boys made a name for themselves as a true American rock band. Their songs contain lyrics about southern California living, surfing, cars and romance. With their creative ambitions and hard work they were able to become an influence for generations to come.
The Beach Boys consist of brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and a friend of theirs, Al Jardine. They originally called themselves The Pendletones, named after a popular type of shirt from that era.
They sang an original called Surfin’ for the publishers of Stereo Masters in Hollywood. They were able to get it as a single. When the singles arrived they were horrified to find that their name had been changed to Beach Boys. In November of 1961 Surfin’ was released on the local radio stations. It became a huge success on the west coast and hit #75 on the national pop charts.
Murry Wilson began to call the local radio stations to get them to play Surfin’. He did not like the song. He also got them their first paying gig on New Year’s Eve 1961. They played to a predominantly black crowd and prevailed.
In 1962 Al Jardine left the band to go to college. He was replaced David Marks, a friend of Carl’s. Although their father was abusive at times they admit that he is part of the reason that they were able to become a success. He tried to force them to use his old songs that never made it. When they refused he simply said “my songs are better than yours”.
July of 1962 The Beach Boys signed with Capitol records. The following November they released their first album. Their songs covered everything that was big in California at the time, hot rods, surfing mostly. In three years time they were able to produce sixteen hit singles.
Their success seemed too much for Brian to handle and after suffering from an anxiety attack he left the band. In 1963 Al Jardine returned to the band per Brian’s request. Not long after Al returned David Marks left. When this happened Brian had to return. Glen Campbell and Bruce Johnston served as replacements for Brian during tours.
Pet Sounds became their most influential album. But somehow the album did not do well at the time of release. In 1966 they were able to hit their stride with the single Good Vibrations.
Brian Wilson began to get overwhelmed by his demons and drug use. He started to withdraw from the band. This forced Carl to take over and take the place of his brother. They produced one more album to complete their contract with Capitol Records. The album 20/20 was a collection of left over songs, songs from outside writers and new songs by Dennis. Once they were finished with Capitol Records they went on to Reprise Records. They had a rough start and after several flops they were able to come out with a top selling album.
Endless Summer was able to bring back the success they had seen with Good Vibrations. Shortly after Endless Summer they released Spirit of America, which also sold well. After this they stopped releasing new singles and albums. Their concerts continued to sell out, they began to play only older songs.
In 1976 Brian came back to produce 15 Big Ones. This was his first album to produce since Pet Sounds. After the release of this album Brian made random appearances and began work on the next album, Love You. It was not long after the release of this album that Brian once again withdrew himself from the band.
Dennis Wilson released a solo album in 1977. In 1983 he drowned after diving off a friend’s boat. Throughout the 1980’s The Beach Boys toured sporadically to crowds in the millions. Then in 1988 they released their biggest selling single ever with Kokomo. With several television appearances throughout the 1990s they kept themselves relevant. Then in 1998 Carl Wilson succumbed to lung cancer.
The Recent Beach Boys
The remaining members of The Beach Boys reunited for the 40th anniversary of Pet Sounds. This being their most popular free mp3 downloaded album ever. They were awarded with plaques and hinted that they may once again reunite.
Did you know that...
- ...Dennis was actually the only member that surfed
- ...Brian taught his brothers to harmonize when he was just 16 years old
- ...if you listen carefully you will notice that Surfer Girl has a similar melody to When You Wish Upon a Star
- ...Paul McCartney states that Pet Sounds helped to inspire Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
- ...Never Learn Not To Love features uncredited lyrics by Charles Manson