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The Beach Boys

While most will probably remember the Beach Boys as the slightly campy '60s pop band that sang about fast cars, girls andsurfing - and they did write a frightening number of hits about just those subjects - those willing to look behind that will discoveran altogether more interesting side to the Beach Boys and in particular the creative genius behind those hits, Brian Wilson.

The Beach Boys were formed in 1961 by brothers Carl, Dennis and Brian Wilson, their cousin Mike Love (singer) and AlanJardine. Influenced early on by Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and tight vocal harmony grou ...read more

While most will probably remember the Beach Boys as the slightly campy '60s pop band that sang about fast cars, girls andsurfing - and they did write a frightening number of hits about just those subjects - those willing to look behind that will discoveran altogether more interesting side to the Beach Boys and in particular the creative genius behind those hits, Brian Wilson.

The Beach Boys were formed in 1961 by brothers Carl, Dennis and Brian Wilson, their cousin Mike Love (singer) and AlanJardine. Influenced early on by Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and tight vocal harmony groups including the Four Freshmen, Wilson(and occasionally Mike Love) composed a string of classic pop songs celebrating the Californian lifestyle, surfing, cars, girls etc.Between 1962 and 1965, the group charted a level of artistic development rivalled only by the Beatles at this time, with hitsranging from 'California Girls,' 'Fun, Fun, Fun,' to 'Surfin' USA' and 'Surfin' Safari.

This, however, wasn't enough for young Brian. The songwriter wanted to expand his horizons beyond simple pop songs and indoing so had to tackle his inner demons. In 1964, he withdrew from touring and began to concentrate on songwriting andproduction. 1966's Pet Sounds was a huge step forward not just for Wilson himself but for pop music as a whole. Therecord was so well-received by his fellow musicians that Paul McCartney used it as his inspiration for Sgt. Pepper's LonelyHearts Club Band; the album itself yielded the classic singles 'Wouldn't It Be Nice,' 'Caroline, No' and 'God Only Knows,' whichwas banned from radio for the reference to the Almighty.

Not everyone was as pleased as McCartney with the new music: Mike Love famously branded it Brian's 'ego music.' Nonetheless,Wilson continued working on his next ambitious project, provisionally titled 'Dumb Angel,' but more renowned as 'Smile!'Wilson's intent with the project was simply to make music to make people smile, but unfortunately it was around this time thathis personal life fell apart, his drug abuse and depression spiralling out of control. He spent months working on one song- 'GoodVibrations'- which he dubbed a 'pocket symphony,' an apt statement if ever one was muttered. 'Good Vibrations' remains one ofthe most remarkable rock and pop performances of all-time, doubly so given Wilson's personal difficulties at the time.

Continuing with the intensive methods used to create 'Good Vibrations,' Brian went to work with session musician and songwriterVan Dyke Parks on the new album... but it wasn't completed until 2004 when Wilson released it as a solo outing. The nextdecade saw Brian retreat further and further from the band and his brother Carl assume leadership of the group. He himselfbecame an accomplished songwriter, though Brian remained chief songwriter for a long time to come. Brother Dennis alsosuccumbed to drug addiction and, mirroring the band's creative and popular decline, he accidentally drowned while drunk in1983. After a short resurgence in the late '80s thanks in part to David Lee Roth, the band's output slowed to a record every fiveor six years. Carl Wilson fell victim to lung cancer in 1998.

Today, Brian Wilson records and tours as a solo artist, though he still remains a non-touring member of the band. He finallyreleased 'Smile!' in 2004 under his own name, prompting a lawsuit from Mike Love. The Beach Boys still tour, forty-five yearsafter their formation, though Mike Love is the only remaining original member. « hide

Similar Bands: Chuck Berry, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Tornadoes, The Four Seasons

LPs
That's Why God Made The Radio
06/05/2012

3
80 Votes
Summer in Paradise
1992

1.2
71 Votes
Still Cruisin'
1989

1.6
52 Votes
The Beach Boys
1985

1.8
41 Votes
Keepin' the Summer Alive
1980

1.5
38 Votes
L.A. (Light Album)
1979

2.4
14 Votes
M.I.U. Album
1978

1.7
42 Votes
Love You
1977

3.7
78 Votes
15 Big Ones
1976

2
47 Votes
Holland
1973

3.3
58 Votes
Carl and the Passions - "So Tough"
1972

2.7
45 Votes
Surf's Up
1971

3.9
213 Votes
Sunflower
1970

4.1
184 Votes
20/20
1969

3.6
77 Votes
Friends
1968

3.8
121 Votes
Wild Honey
1967

3.7
145 Votes
Smiley Smile
1967

3.8
242 Votes
Pet Sounds
1966

4.5
1,469 Votes
Beach Boys' Party!
1965

2.9
45 Votes
Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
1965

3.7
109 Votes
Today!
1965

4.1
202 Votes
All Summer Long
1964

3.7
72 Votes
Shut Down Volume 2
1964

3.1
52 Votes
Little Deuce Coupe
1963

3.1
52 Votes
Surfer Girl
1963

3.3
64 Votes
Surfin' U.S.A.
1963

3
80 Votes
Surfin' Safari
1962

2.7
82 Votes
Live Albums
Live At Knebworth 1980
1980

2.7
5 Votes
The Beach Boys in Concert
1973

3.7
13 Votes
Live in London
1970

3.5
1 Votes
Compilations
The Smile Sessions
2011

4.5
265 Votes
The Platinum Collection: Sounds of Summer Edition
2005

3.7
13 Votes
Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of The Beach Boys
2003

4
31 Votes
20 Good Vibrations: The Greatest Hits
1999

3.9
46 Votes
Twenty Golden Greats
1976

Endless Summer
1974

4.3
30 Votes
The Beach Boys Biggest Beach Hits
1969

3
1 Votes
The Beach Boys' Christmas Album
1964

3.3
36 Votes

Contributors: Frippertronics, Britch2tiger, sideburndude, voodoopriestess, Skyler, RandyfromPennywise, Hep Kat, Sepstrup, Dave de Sylvia, morrissey, PowerBlitz, Jamekae, Havey, SgtPepper, TheBoss88, Drsmith4, Skyler,

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