The Beach Boys

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The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys at the ZMF 2019 in Freiburg
The Beach Boys at the ZMF 2019 in Freiburg
General information
Genre (s) Surf , rock , pop
founding 1961
Founding members
Brian Wilson
Vocals, lead guitar
Carl Wilson († 1998)
Vocals, drums
Dennis Wilson († 1983)
Mike Love
Vocals, rhythm guitar
Alan Jardine
Current occupation
Vocals, bass, keyboard
Brian Wilson
Mike Love
Vocals, guitar
Alan Jardine
Vocals, bass, keyboard
Bruce Johnston (1965–1972, from 1979)
David Lee Marks (1962–1963, 1998–2000, 2012)
former members
Guitar, vocals
Blondie Chaplin (1972-1973)
Drums, vocals
Ricky Fataar (1972–1974)
Guitar, drums, vocals, percussion
John Stamos (selected shows since 1990)

The Beach Boys are one of the world's most successful pop and rock bands of the 1960s and early 1970s. They were founded in 1961 by brothers Brian , Dennis and Carl Wilson , their cousin Mike Love and school friend Alan Jardine in Hawthorne , California . Until the mid-1960s, the band had numerous chart successes with surf music .

Special features of her music are memorable melodies and a differentiated, often four-part choral setting using sometimes unusual harmony sequences . Her texts initially conjured up teenage longings for a hedonistic and carefree life, but later also addressed serious and problematic topics. With their experimental album Pet Sounds , which according to trade magazines such as Mojo and Rolling Stone is one of the most important albums in the history of rock music, and the work on the album Smile, they partly renewed the structures of rock and pop music at that time and expanded their musical expression.

While their success in the USA slowly waned from 1967 onwards, the Beach Boys were able to celebrate their greatest successes in Europe, until they became more successful again in their homeland in 1974 with the compilation album Endless Summer . In 1988, Kokomo was another number one success. The group was in the top 40 of the American Billboard charts for over 50 years.

Dennis Wilson died in 1983 and Carl Wilson in 1998. The three remaining founding members subsequently went on tour separately with various accompanying bands. In 2012 they got together again, released a new studio album and went on a world tour.


The early years

Brian Wilson showed an early interest in music. As a teenager, he mainly analyzed the polyphonic vocal harmonies of the Four Freshmen and rehearsed their pieces with his two younger brothers Dennis and Carl. Her parents Murry and Audree Wilson taught their children Brian and Carl singing and playing instruments, while their brother Dennis preferred to have fun on the beach. He was the only member of the band who actually surfed.

At the age of 16, Brian Wilson was given a tape recorder and used it to make his first recordings by means of overdubbing . His younger brother Carl introduced Brian to rock 'n' roll , which Brian made attempts to combine with harmony singing. In 1961 the idea was finally born to start a band with Brian Wilson, his brothers Dennis and Carl , their cousin Mike Love and Brian's school friend Alan Jardine , which changed names several times before it was called The Pendletones . Dennis was accepted into the band, although he could not play an instrument at that time and only learned to play the drums during the founding phase.

Murry Wilson knew the publishers Dorinda and Hite Morgan and organized an audition. However, they could n't convince the Morgans with their cover version of Sloop John B. Dennis Wilson piqued the couple's interest by telling them that the band already had their own composition called Surfin ' . So they met on September 15, 1961 for a second audition in the Morgans home studio. The Morgans were won over by the surf concept and they recorded three of the band's songs. Two of these songs, Surfin ' and Luau , were re-recorded as single at World Pacific Studios in Los Angeles in early October . Brian Wilson, who had already musically directed the majority of the last recordings, took over the lead again. The single was released on the local label Candix, with the local sales representative and later president of Fox Records , Russ Regan, renaming the band to The Beach Boys without their knowledge . The record from the end of 1961 became a regional hit at number two in Los Angeles and landed at number 75 on the US Billboard charts.

The first recording contract with Capitol Records

At Huntington and Malibu / They're shooting the pier (from Surfin 'Safari ): Beach at Huntington Beach near the hometown of Hawthorne

Murry Wilson organized the first paid gig at the Ritchie Valens Memorial Dance on January 1, 1962. The band hired out Western Studios and recorded other songs, including Surfin 'Safari , 409 and Surfer Girl . This already led to the first minor arguments with the self-proclaimed band manager Murry Wilson. He wanted to produce the band and suggested recording some of his own works. However, the band refused. Ultimately, Wilson was presented with the finished tapes at major labels such as Dot Records , Decca Records and Liberty Records , but they all rejected him.

Nick Venet of Capitol Records finally gave the band a chance in the spring of 1962 and released the single 409 / Surfin 'Safari , where Brian Wilson heard the higher hit potential in Surfin' Safari . When, after the first few weeks of sales, it turned out that Surfin 'Safari was actually more popular with consumers, the record company placed the title on the A side. 409 reached number 76 on the US Billboard charts, while Surfin 'Safari climbed to number 14 and made the Beach Boys stars overnight. The separate hit parade listing of the titles on the A and B sides of the single was made possible by the influence of airplay on the charts. The Beach Boys received a long-term record deal and released their debut album Surfin 'Safari in October 1962 . By then, Jardine had already left the group to go back to university. He was replaced by David Lee Marks , a then only 13-year-old neighbor of the Wilson family. Murry and Brian Wilson founded Sea of ​​Tunes to manage music rights and distribution .

Just a few months after the debut album, Surfin 'USA was released , the theme song of which reached number three on the Billboard charts. As the individual group members - also because of their youth - did not yet have a perfect technical and stylistic command of their instruments, they were sometimes supported by studio musicians when recording. The upcoming tour took place without Brian Wilson, who justified this with health problems. Alan Jardine had already returned to California by then and accepted Brian Wilson's offer to replace him as bassist on the tour. When David Lee Marks left the band a short time later to finish high school, Jardine returned to the rhythm guitar .

Do you love me, do you surfer girl / Surfer girl my little surfer girl (from Surfer Girl )

The Beach Boys were dissatisfied with the work of Venet, who had produced the first two studio albums. Brian Wilson in particular criticized the fact that Venet changed their sound without consulting the band. Murry Wilson also believed that no one at Capitol Records knew how to produce rock 'n' roll. Although it was unusual at the time, the Beach Boys managed to produce themselves and work outside the Capitol Records studio in the future. Her third album, Surfer Girl , said for the first time "produced by Brian Wilson". It was largely re-recorded at the Los Angeles Western Studios.

The rapid success of the group, which rose to become a “teenage sensation” in the USA, led them to tour the USA, Australia and Europe in addition to various television appearances. In addition, their record company requested new material. For example, they recorded the entire album Little Deuce Coupe during a break from touring of two weeks .

Breakthrough in the USA

Between 1963 and 1965, the Beach Boys had twenty top 40 singles and their first number one hit in 1964 was I Get Around . In the first two years of their existence they released a total of seven albums. At times they placed up to five albums in the charts at the same time, including the Beach Boys Concert in 1964 as the first of their albums at number one. At this time, the band finally separated from the manager Murry Wilson due to different musical ideas and because they perceived his behavior as authoritarian.

Brian Wilson's increasingly complex arrangements required the increased use of studio musicians. He also wrote songs for other bands, including the number one hit Surf City for Jan and Dean . The pressure to perform and the unwanted life on tour meant that Wilson suffered a severe nervous breakdown shortly before Christmas 1964 before the start of a concert tour . Glen Campbell , who had already participated in several Beach Boys studio recordings, first stepped in as a substitute musician . In January 1965, Brian Wilson officially announced his retirement from touring in order to concentrate fully on the composition and production of new pieces. Campbell, who dominated the falsetto voice in addition to his instrumental skills , declined full membership in the band because he pursued a solo career in addition to his work as a studio musician. Finally, Bruce Johnston joined the Beach Boys as a full member in April 1965 after unsuccessfully looking for a replacement on behalf of the band.

The group went on tour while Wilson stayed in Los Angeles, writing new songs and recording them with studio musicians. The band mostly only contributed the vocals or individual instrumental tracks . With the newer pieces Brian Wilson's focus was not on dominant guitars, but on the increased use of keyboards and drums. In addition, expressive texts were important to him. The Beach Boys Today! shows the development of Wilson as a composer and producer. It contains catchy pop songs on the first page and sad ballads on the second . This trend continued on the album Summer Days (And Summer Nights !!) , which features songs like California Girls and Help Me's second number one hit , Rhonda .

Pet sounds and the pinnacle of success

Above all, the competition with the Beatles aroused Brian Wilson's ambition to create the "greatest rock 'n' roll album of all time". He decided to do without "album fillers", as they were common in the early 1960s, and only record high-quality pieces. In his own words, he was inspired, among other things, by the Beatles album Rubber Soul . To achieve this goal, Wilson broke new ground. So he wanted to take several months for the recordings, contrary to the expectations of the record company. In order to bridge the gap in releases, they agreed on the album Beach Boys' Party! . Then acoustic cover versions were recorded and supplemented with party noises in order to convey an alleged live situation.

The album sold very well in Europe and the UK. The Beach Boys were sent on a tour of Europe and Japan. This gave Wilson time to work on his upcoming work. He hired the best studio musicians from Los Angeles to record the instrumental tracks and sometimes “conducted” up to 40 musicians in order to create the “perfect sound” he had in mind. He composed, arranged and produced the pieces on his own, which was still unusual in 1966. Pet Sounds had nothing to do with the usual themes of the Beach Boys - surfing, sun, girls, cars - but rather contained “songs of longing, expectation, worry and regret”. The lyrics were created in collaboration with Wilson and copywriter Tony Asher . He transformed Brian Wilson's thoughts on the individual songs into concrete lyrics.

The record company was dissatisfied with the change in style of the concept album released in May 1966, hardly advertised it in the USA and only a few weeks after Pet Sounds released the compilation The Best of the Beach Boys . Since Capitol delivered this sampler instead of Pet Sounds for reorders , the album was considered a collector's item soon after its release. Pet Sounds only reached number ten on the US Billboard charts. Brian Wilson, who had expected a greater success, was deeply disappointed with the poor commercial acceptance of the album in the USA.

The album was much more successful in other music markets, especially in Great Britain, where it reached number two in the charts. For the next single Good Vibrations , Brian Wilson made countless recordings in four different studios over six months from February 1966 in order to use the different studio sounds and then cut the individual parts together. The song had already been edited during the Pet Sounds sessions, but Wilson did not use it for the album. In October 1966 the song was released as a single and climbed to number one in the USA and Great Britain, and number eight in Germany.

Smile - a new sound image

From May 1966 Brian Wilson began to work on a new project for which he hired Van Dyke Parks as a copywriter. First he named it Dumb Angel , later he renamed it Smile . To put himself in the right mood for composing the songs, he had a sandpit set up around his piano in his living room.

The pieces from this collaboration were much more demanding than Wilson's previous works and aroused the displeasure of band members and the record company. Mike Love in particular criticized the sound images and lyrics, which for him were too far removed from the style of the band and were difficult to convey live. During the recording, Love and Van Dyke Parks argued in the studio. Parks ended the partnership with Wilson, and the two musicians fell apart without having achieved anything.

Due to increasing drug use - Brian Wilson had started using marijuana around 1965 and experimented with LSD a little later -, the loss of his text and inspiration partner Dyke and the ongoing criticism, Brian Wilson's will to end the project was finally broken. In addition, new releases were withheld because the band was in dispute with the record company due to withheld royalties and negotiations about a contract extension. By the time the record company was ready to release Smile in June 1967 , the Beatles had already released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band , an album with a consistent concept. Since Smile was also planned as a concept album, Brian Wilson refused - in order not to be seen as a copycat - to release the album. Since no new Beach Boys material had appeared since October 1966, Capitol Records responded by releasing another greatest hits album entitled Best of the Beach Boys Vol 2 .

The Beach Boys, meanwhile, released the song Heroes and Villains as a single, which reached number 12 on the Billboard charts. This was the first release on the band's own record company Brother Records , which had been founded to have a platform for musical experimentation and to act as the successor to the band's Sea of ​​Tunes .

The band eventually began to work on Smiley Smile , which, in addition to the released singles, mostly contained quickly recorded, improvised pieces. The production credit on this album is for the first time: "Produced by the Beach Boys". Brian Wilson withdrew from this point in time increasingly from the public and from the band.

Change in musical taste

Towards the end of the 1960s, the Beach Boys' music was perceived as less and less timely for various reasons. The R & B , Soul and Funk freed himself increasingly from the market niche of a pure black consumer class and was slow mass appeal. These styles competed with the music of the Beach Boys in their conveyance of joie de vivre, but had the advantage of being more danceable through a stronger emphasis on rhythmic elements. On the other hand, the taste of the time tended increasingly towards harder, rougher and more guitar-driven rock music. In contrast to the now “hip” exalted vocals of Joe Cocker or Robert Plant and the long guitar or drum solos that are coming into fashion, for example by Alvin Lee or Ginger Baker, the neat and cleanly voiced vocal movement of the Beach Boys looked rather antiquated. In comparison with the musical experimentation and the civic demands of psychedelic and progressive rock , the earlier experiments and innovations of Pet Sounds and Smile were now perceived as hesitant. The carefree lyrics and the band's image seemed comparatively outdated in the context of the emerging socially critical gesture of the 1968 movement . Peter Ames Carlin writes about this change in musical taste:

“Once at the absolute center of the American rock 'n' roll scene, the Beach Boys found themselves woefully out of step with the mood and rhythm of the nation's popular culture. […] And perhaps it was inevitable. In a year rent by public assassination, a bloody and controversial war, bitter protest on college campuses, and a racial divide that seemed only to grow more jagged as time went on, it's impossible to imagine how a group of sweet-faced boyish utopians [ ...] could capture anyone's imagination. No, 1968 was the time for Jimi Hendrix's psychedelic guitar frenzy, for the windmilling rage of the Who, for the Doors' existentialist circus of horrors, and for the Rolling Stones, […] ”

“If they were once in the middle of the [US] American rock 'n' roll scene, the Beach Boys now sadly discovered that they had lost touch with the mood and rhythm of popular culture in the country. [...] Maybe that was inevitable. The year was torn by public murder , bloody and contentious war , fierce college protests, and the racial gap that only seemed to widen as time went on. It's hard to imagine how a group of cute looking boyish enthusiasts [...] could have captured anyone's imagination in a year like this. No, 1968 was the time for the psychedelic guitar rush of Jimi Hendrix , for the windmill-like frenzy of The Who , for the existentialist horror circus of the Doors , and for the Rolling Stones , [...] "

- Peter Ames Carlin : Catch a Wave - The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson

All of these factors meant that the music of the Beach Boys in the USA was now often perceived as a relic of the beat era . In Great Britain, which is still relatively conservative, the Beach Boys were only really noticed since Pet Sounds . The band's now more serious and grown-up music - still packaged in "happy" harmonies and sophisticated arrangements - as well as the Californian surfer image found an increasing following here and later on the continent. In the countries of the former Eastern Bloc they became very popular as symbols of freedom and individual self-realization.

Image change and a new record company

In 1967 the Beach Boys were supposed to be the main actors in the Monterey Pop Festival . Brian Wilson, who was on the organizing committee, canceled the performance at the last minute. In the same year, the band began recording the follow-up album Wild Honey , which were held exclusively in Brian Wilson's home studio. For the first time in a long time, the band members played all the instruments in the much simpler arrangements themselves and also took part in the production. Brian Wilson worked again as a composer with Mike Love and Al Jardine. The song How She Boogalood It was the first piece that was written without any action by Brian Wilson.

This trend continued on the album Friends released in June 1968 . Most of the songs were written as a collaboration between the three Wilson brothers and Al Jardine. At that time Love was in India with the Beatles and Donovan to be instructed in Transcendental Meditation by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi .

Dennis Wilson composed his first pieces together with the Californian poet Stephen Kalinich , two of which he published on Friends . At the same time he met Charles Manson , who himself had ambitions as a musician. Dennis Wilson stepped up in the following years as a composer in appearance, where he composed two of his songs together with Manson, who did not want to be mentioned in the credits.

On the last album of the 1960s, 20/20 , Carl Wilson worked as a producer for the first time. Brian Wilson's withdrawal was documented by the fact that for the first time in the band's history he was not featured on the record cover. While Friends and 20/20 were commercially unsuccessful in the US, the band was very successful in Europe. The single Do It Again came in at number one in the UK. Cottonfields , produced by Jardine, followed a year later and climbed to number one in five countries. They were also in the British top ten with I Can Hear Music and Break Away , which Brian Wilson wrote with his father.

From 1968 several tours through Europe took place with the support of accompanying musicians. In contrast to the oldies, which the band had mostly played in their homeland in the past, mostly newer pieces were performed. At this point the Beach Boys had released two singles and the album Smiley Smile through their own record company. The band wanted to sell their new material in cooperation with an additional partner company. Initially, negotiations were carried out with Deutsche Grammophon , but the contract was not signed at the last minute. Lenny Waronker the Beach Boys did for Warner Bros. undertake. At the urging of Van Dyke Parks , who had advocated the Beach Boys with Warner President Mo Ostin , they were given a contract for eight albums, which gave them a lot of freedom. Brian Wilson's home studio was shut down at the band's insistence, in part they did so to get Brian Wilson to leave the house. He then converted his living room into a recording studio. A little later they set up the Brother Studio in Santa Monica.

Since the recordings for Warner's first album dragged on, initially only the single Add Some Music to Your Day was released . The accompanying album was supposed to be released in the spring of 1970, but was held back several times for further revisions. After another single release ( Slip on Through / This Whole World ), Sunflower was finally released on August 31, 1970 . The album peaked at number 29 in the UK but did not get past number 151 on the Billboard charts in the US. It contains compositions by all band members with the exception of Carl Wilson, who again appeared increasingly as a producer.

As the Beach Boys and their audience got older, the band tried to tailor the music more to the listening habits of their audience. As a result, the style and themes of the songs changed. The destruction of the environment and its protection were increasingly addressed. The Transcendental Meditation was also still present. All of these influences were felt on the follow-up work Surf's Up , on which Carl Wilson made his composer debut. This influence was reinforced by the new manager Jack Rieley , who got involved as a lyricist in the band. Surf's Up sold much better in the US and Europe than the previous albums. The band members had evolved musically so that everyone was able to play multiple instruments and produce songs.

In 1972 the band strengthened itself with the South African musicians Blondie Chaplin on guitar and Ricky Fataar on drums, who had previously belonged to the band The Flame . The new recording of the two musicians was necessary because Bruce Johnston had been released from the band and drummer Dennis Wilson had suffered a serious hand injury. With this line-up, the band recorded the album Carl and the Passions - "So Tough" and after another European tour made the decision to record the next album in the Netherlands, where they enjoyed particularly high popularity. The Beach Boys spent a total of six months working on Holland , for which a special studio was flown in from the United States. The 1973 album sold well in Europe and the United States. In addition, the album In Concert was released with recordings from the European tour of the same year, for which the band received their first gold record of the 1970s.

Endless Summer - and Brian Wilson's return

In order to win back their audience in the USA, the band refrained from releasing new albums from 1973 and instead gave many concerts in their homeland. After Blondie Chaplin was released during a gig in the same year, Ricky Fataar left the band a year later because he did not want to be on tour all the time. Dennis Wilson played the piano from 1972 to 1974 and returned to drums after Fataar's retirement. In addition, during this time he was constantly writing new songs, some of which were performed live by the Beach Boys.

At the same time, Capitol Records, the band's former record company, wanted to release another compilation of Beach Boys hits. Together with Mike Love they worked out a track list for a double album of hits from 1961 to 1965. Love chose Endless Summer as the name for this album. This compilation reached number one on the Billboard charts in the United States and became the first release since Good Vibrations , which sold millions of copies. In total, the album stayed in the charts for three years.

Immediately after this success, Capitol released another heat compilation, Spirit of America , which also sold very well. The group became accessible to a new generation of fans, which in turn led to sold-out concerts. With the success of Endless Summer and the award of "Band of the Year 1974" by the music magazine Rolling Stone , Brian Wilson's return was proclaimed at the same time. He began to work with the band again and write new songs. The single Rock and Roll Music , released for the band's 15-year anniversary in 1976, reached number five. The album 15 Big Ones , which was again produced by Brian Wilson alone, also landed in the top ten. In the same year, the hit compilation produced by Capitol Records for Europe, 20 Golden Greats, rose to number one in the UK.

Brian Wilson appeared again more often at concerts. The next album The Beach Boys Love You from 1977 contained exclusively new compositions by him, who also played almost all of the instruments himself in the studio. Since Mike Love and Al Jardine were already negotiating a contract with other record companies at this point, Warner Bros hardly advertised the album, so sales fell short of expectations.

Since the mid-1970s there had been more group formation within the band: Jardine and Love, as followers of Transcendental Meditation, formed one faction, the Wilson brothers Dennis and Carl the other. The musical views within the band drifted apart: Carl and Dennis Wilson wanted to push the band's career with new songs in the style of Smile , while Mike Love and Al Jardine referred to the successes of the best-of albums and wanted to create more songs, that sounded like their hits. In September 1977 the band split up, until Love and Jardine took over the lead. Dennis Wilson released his first solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue , while Carl Wilson was trying to cope with his drug problems.

The Beach Boys with Ronald and Nancy Reagan (1983)

Love and Jardine worked together with touring musician Ron Altbach in late 1977 on the album MIU , which was recorded at the Maharishi Institute University in Fairfield, Iowa . However, the album turned into a commercial fiasco; sales were low and MIU disappeared from store shelves in just a few weeks. This, however, strengthened the influence of the Wilson brothers, who fully returned to the band. To minimize the disputes, the band decided to work with an outside producer for the first time. In 1979 an agreement was reached on former bandmate Bruce Johnston, who eventually became a regular member again. The following studio album LA (Light Album) was probably the greatest compromise in the band's history, as it involved all members equally. The album was created under the new record deal with Caribou Records . Of the four singles that made it into the charts, Lady Lynda was the most successful with a sixth place in the UK.

Later successes

In addition to Keepin 'the Summer Alive , the last album by the original Beach Boys, a Beach Boys medley published by Capitol climbed to number twelve on the Billboard charts in the early 1980s, and the Beach Boys' subsequent single - Come Go With Me - reached rank 18. Again, new projects were put on hold. At this point in time, the Beach Boys continued to play over 100 concerts a year worldwide. In 1981 Carl Wilson left the band to work on his solo career. He only took part in a few appearances and was replaced by Jeffrey Foskett at the remaining concerts . From 1980 onwards, the Beach Boys gave a big concert in Washington every year on Independence Day , which was forbidden to them by Interior Secretary James Watt in 1983 and brought the band a lot of media publicity. They hit the headlines again when the news of the death of band member Dennis Wilson, who died in a diving accident in December 1983 at the age of 39, was announced. On July 4, 1984, they played again in Washington in front of over 700,000 people.

Brian Wilson started therapy because of his problems, which prompted the band to look for new musical partners. On the mediation of Bruce Johnston, she began a collaboration with producer Terry Melcher . Mike Love wrote the song Getcha Back with him , which became a top 20 hit in 1985. The following studio album The Beach Boys (1985) made it into the Top 50 and was the last album on the Caribou Records label to cease operations. During this phase, the Beach Boys no longer had a permanent record deal and worked on a project basis. With Melcher they brought two new singles into the charts in 1986.

In 1987 the Beach Boys landed a big hit with Wipe Out together with The Fat Boys on both sides of the Atlantic. The song came in second in the UK. By the time Brian Wilson announced his final departure from the band to advance his solo project, the remaining members had an unexpected number one hit with Kokomo in the US and Australia. The song became the best-selling song of her career. Your former record company Capitol Records offered them a contract for a new album. Still Cruisin ' , so the title, became another Top 50 album and received a gold record. Again the band became popular with a new generation and from then on limited itself to becoming a traveling "oldies band".

Carl Wilson's grave slab

The group's next studio album, Summer in Paradise from 1992, had to be released through their own record company, Brother Records. Despite advertisements in various television series in which the Beach Boys appeared as guest stars - including Baywatch - The Lifeguards of Malibu and Full House - the album became a neglected shopkeeper. The band split from Terry Melcher. At this point they were already supported vocally by Matt Jardine , the eldest son of Alan Jardine, who sang the falsetto passages live and became a semi-official member of the band. In autumn 1995, the Beach Boys wanted to record a joint studio album with Brian Wilson. Wilson was working with Andy Paley as a partner at the time , which the other Beach Boys didn't like. They recorded some pieces together, directed by Brian Wilson and Don Was . During these recordings, Carl Wilson left the studio and the album project was discontinued. As a compromise, the band released - with Brian Wilson - the album Stars and Stripes Vol. 1 , on which various country guest stars interpreted the band's earlier hits and the Beach Boys contributed the harmony vocals. The album just missed the top 100, but received attention in the country scene.

In 1996 Virgin Records offered the Beach Boys a record deal for an album. Virgin's condition was that the album would be produced jointly by Sean O'Hagen and Brian Wilson and that 80% of the songs had to come from Brian Wilson's pen. Since his participation could not be guaranteed, the contract was not concluded. In the same year, the album Pet Sounds was voted best album of all time by Mojo magazine . In 1998, Carl Wilson died of lung cancer at the age of 51 . This marked the unspoken end of the Beach Boys.

Beach boy bands and releases after 1998

After Carl Wilson's death, Brother Records granted the license for the naming rights to the band name to Mike Love, who has since organized concert tours around the world together with Bruce Johnston and a new backing band under the name "The Beach Boys". However, he is not allowed to use the name for recordings. From the end of 1997 to 1999 she supported David Lee Marks, who returned to the band for two years.

The Beach Boys 2006

Alan Jardine had already left the band at this point, as had a good number of the longstanding accompanists. With these, his two sons and Brian Wilson's daughters, he founded the band "Beach Boys Familys and Friends" (later renamed Al Jardine's Familys and Friends). In 2001 they released the live recording Live in Las Vegas .

Brian Wilson himself went on tour with his 10-member band and released solo albums at irregular intervals.

The Beach Boys released the live album Good Timin ': Live at Knebworth England 1980 in 2003 , which contains a concert recording from 1980, in which all six band members took part. In the same year, Capitol Records released the compilation Sounds of Summer , which reached number 16 on the Billboard charts.

For the 40th anniversary of the album Pet Sounds in 2006, the still living Beach Boys met at the Capitol Tower, the headquarters of their first record company in Los Angeles, to celebrate.

In April 2011 the single Don't fight the Sea, composed by Al Jardine, was released as a benefit single for the earthquake in Japan. It was an unreleased piece from the early 1980s. The still living Beach Boys met in Al Jardine's studio to sing the vocals. Carl Wilson's contribution was taken from archival material. The single was not published as "The Beach Boys", but under the names of the musicians.

Reunion 2012/50. anniversary

The Beach Boys (2012)

To celebrate the band's 50th anniversary, Capitol Records announced that they wanted to release the Smile album as a sessions box . The Smile Sessions was finally released on November 1st, 2011 and reached the top 30 of the charts in several countries.

A little later it was officially announced that the still living Beach Boys were planning a world tour with 50 concert dates for 2012, as well as the release of a new studio album on Capitol Records. Joe Thomas, who had already worked with the band on "Stars & Stripes", was hired as producer and co-songwriter for the album. The album That's Why God Made the Radio was finally released on June 1, 2012. Carried by a wave of nostalgia, it reached number 3 on the American Billboard charts.

The accompanying tour, which was soon expanded from 50 to 75 concerts due to the high demand, began in April 2012. The Beach Boys were supported by Brian Wilson's band. After completing this, the band members went their separate ways again. Love and Johnston continued to tour as The Beach Boys, and Al Jardine joined Brian Wilson's band. In several interviews Wilson had declared the intention to record another album with the "Beach Boys". Some of these planned pieces were released on his most recent solo album, No Pier Pressure, in 2015, with Jardine attending these recordings.


The Beach Boys released a total of 29 studio albums from 1962 to 2015 and three live albums in 1964, 1970 and 1973. Beach Boys Concert is their only regular album to top the Billboard charts.

The band released a total of 75 singles from 1961 to 1996, 58 of which made it onto the American Billboard charts . Their first listing was the title Surfin , which reached number 75 in November 1961, their last hit parade placement was with Fun, Fun, Fun (a new entry together with Status Quo ) on February 1, 1996 with number 24 in England. In the USA a total of four singles came in first, worldwide there were nine. With their last album That's why god made the radio , which reached number 3 on the Billboard Charts in 2012, this was - historically speaking - remarkable in that it spanned the span between the first and last top 10 album by a band to 49 years and 1 week extended. The Beatles' previous record was 47 years.

In 1966, her record company, Capitol Records, began releasing Beach Boys' best-of collections. Three of these compilations reached first place in the charts. In addition, the Beach Boys have recorded a dozen albums over the years that have not been released. Some songs from these albums have appeared on various Beach Boys samplers over the years.


According to the record covers, Capitol producer Nick Venet produced the first two albums, although a significant amount of the production work was likely done by Brian Wilson. The session sheets in particular show that Venet's role in the production was only to announce the various takes . Arrangements and sound structures came from Wilson, who often complained that Venet was trying to change the sound. From the third album Surfer Girl , Wilson was officially listed as a producer. This made the Beach Boys the first band to produce itself. They paved the way for generations of musicians and bands who were previously always subordinate to a producer assigned to the band by the record company. With the release of Smiley Smile , after Brian Wilson's increased withdrawal, "The Beach Boys" were named as producers on the record covers, with the individual songs mostly being produced by a band member or in teamwork, with Carl Wilson in particular assuming the leading role. After Brian Wilson produced two albums again in the mid-1970s, Alan Jardine and Bruce Johnston followed him as producer. From 1985 the Beach Boys mostly used external producers such as Steve Levine (1985) and Terry Melcher (1986 to 1993).

The Beach Boys provided another novelty from 1963. They did not use the studio of their record company for their recordings, but pushed through to be able to choose their own recording location. Even the Beatles recorded at this time only the house Abbey Road Studios of EMI to complete. The Beach Boys' preferred studio was Western Studios in Los Angeles, but also Gold Star Studios. In 1967 Brian Wilson set up a home studio that the Beach Boys used. This studio was moved to Santa Monica in 1970 as the Brothers Studio . In 1972 they built another studio in the Netherlands.


Ford Model B Deuce Coupe Hot Rod

The band's first albums were about the carefree life in California and teenage interests like surfing, girls and fast cars ( hot rods ). The latter include the Ford Model B , which gave the album Little Deuce Coupe its name, and the Ford Thunderbird , which the protagonist drives in Fun Fun Fun from the follow-up album Shut Down Vol. 2 . Brian Wilson put it this way:

“You can always write about social issues but who gives a damn. I like to write about something these kids feel is their whole world. "

“You can always write about social issues, but who cares. I like to write about something that makes up their whole world for these kids. "

- Brian Wilson

My Room was the first example of more personal content. Later the texts also dealt with other topics and became more personal and complex. Brian Wilson was assisted by Tony Asher as a copywriter on Pet Sounds , which partly contains autobiographical texts about love, loss of innocence, childhood and growing up. On the initially unfinished Smile album, Wilson moved away from topics such as love and romance. Van Dyke Parks condensed his thoughts on the American Dream and transcendentality into surreal and associative-pictorial texts, as they are especially in Surf's Up! and Heroes & Villains are available. With these themes, Wilson's music and its arrangements changed.

In the second half of the 1960s, the subject changed again significantly. In addition to her experience with Transcendental Meditation, Brian Wilson in particular wrote about everyday experiences that mostly took place in his house - this could be a jar of honey or the anticipation of the impending fatherhood. Wilson also wrote about his personal problems, which manifested itself in the songs Time to Get Alone , Busy Doin 'Nothing and Til I Die .

At the beginning of the 1970s, the issues became more serious again. In addition to pointing out the problems of capitalism, war, and environmental destruction (example: Don't Go Near the Water from 1971), her love for California was discussed. After the success of her hit compilations, Mike Love relied on the wave of nostalgia and tried again to focus on topics such as surfing, sun, girls and the better days of earlier times.


The music of the Beach Boys was determined by the different preferences of their members: Brian Wilson's main influences were the music of George Gershwin and the Four Freshmen, as well as the arrangements by Phil Spector . Carl Wilson was inspired by rock 'n' roll and especially the guitar riffs of Chuck Berry . Dennis Wilson led, at least occasionally, a life on the beach that the Beach Boys "sang about" for many years. He described his impressions to his brother Brian Wilson. The combination of these three influences shaped her “Californian sound” in the first few years.

Mike Love and Brian Wilson were the lead singers on the first album. Love sang the rock and roll songs and Wilson sang the ballads. The arrangements of the songs were relatively simple at first, but later - influenced by Phil Spector's technique of the Wall of Sound , among other things - became increasingly sophisticated and complex, so that usually over 40 studio musicians were present for the recording of a song. From the album Wild Honey (1967), which was increasingly influenced by soul music , the songs were again arranged more simply and the instruments played by the band itself. Since the other band members composed and produced from this point on, the Beach Boys' style became more diverse.

In the early 1970s, South African musicians Fataar and Chaplin made the music increasingly R&B- heavy. This only changed in 1976 when Brian Wilson returned to the band. Like his brother Carl, he worked intensively with the Moog synthesizer at this time and used it more and more on the albums. This changed the sound of the songs permanently. The album The Beach Boys Love You was recorded almost exclusively with the Moog. Towards the end of the 1970s, the Beach Boys tried to sound like they did when they were younger and relied entirely on the "wave of nostalgia".

In 1985 the new producer of the Beach Boys, Terry Melcher, wanted to create a new sound for the band. The music was augmented by electronic components such as B. electronic drums, electric bass and a dominant keyboard sound determined. In addition, the falsetto voice typical of the Beach Boys was dispensed with. The group's typical four-part vocal harmonies were only used sporadically, and instead the various singers shared the lead voices among themselves. On the last album Summer in Paradise , the available studio technology was used even more. Due to the strange and electronic sound, it was completely ignored by the fan base.


Four-part choral setting from Their Hearts Were Full of Spring , arranged by Brian Wilson

The musical components and the way of composition also changed over the years. Brian Wilson initially wrote pieces with simple cadenza formulas . Examples of the limitation to a few chords Surfin 'USA with stages I , IV and V or Little Deuce Coupe with the steps I , II , IV, and V .

The bass is kept simple in many pieces and is often limited to playing the chord root in even quarters or by means of sustained organ tones . Examples of this are the tracks Country Air with completely sustained basic tone accompaniment, the section from 2.30 in Good Vibrations , and Vegetables , which, with the exception of a short a cappella interjection, focuses on playing the basic tones of D major , A major and E 7 limited in even quarters. The chorus of California Girls (see Note example) is limited to chord own fundamentals in neighborhoods. Later it became Wilson's trademark that he moved the bass and no longer only played the root note, but also based it on a third or fifth . The transposition by a semitone as well as extended chords, more complex and unusual chord progressions , changes to distant keys and chromatic or enharmonic modulations were often used.

Change of key in the chorus of the title California Girls

An increased use of chromatics with a semitone downward tenor voice and four- note chords can be observed in Their Hearts Were Full of Spring (sheet music example). An example of the repeated change of key within a title is the chorus of California Girls (sheet music example). Here, within a few bars, the key changes from B major to A major , then to G major and back to B major. In each new key the first degree and the seventh chord of the second degree are brought. In Warmth of the Sun, Wilson underlay the melody with the unusual chord progression C - Am - Eb - Cm - Dm - G - G + . The Eb chord , but also the Cm , falls out of the usual I-VI-IV-V chord progressions in pop music, which gives the title a jazz feeling. The title Heroes and Villains also features complex harmonics that combine barbershop elements with jazz . The chord progression D / A - Hm 6 - F # m - F # m 7 - F # m 6 / A - E / B - Cdim - E / B - Bm 7–5 - A - E / G # is just as unusual and surprising - F # m 7 - E in the title God Only Knows or in the purely instrumental Let's Go Away for a While from the album Pet Sounds . Short sections of the titles on Pet Sounds ( I Know There's an Answer , 1'39 to 1'46 and 2'27 to 2'34) or Smiley Smile even completely fall out of the harmonic- tonal framework surrounding them .

Vowel set

Change in the vocal writing of the band within individual title unanimously or unison held with four-part sections where the melodic leading upper voice is accompanied by rhythmic interjections or longer held harmonies of the other voices and contrasted. The voices that set in successively from unanimity to four-part voices - such as in 0'49 to 0'53 by Little Deuce Coupe - often cause a gradual increase in the tonal and harmonic density. Frequently - as for example in titles like Fun, Fun, Fun or Heroes and Villains - primarily unanimous passages with four-part vowel movements change.

The accompaniment / contrasting of the individual upper voice through repeated, rhythmic interjections of the remaining voices is typical. This can be clearly seen in the title I Get Around . This begins with a four-bar figure that increases in a cappella from unison to four voices and is primarily rhythmic and purely harmonic. Then (0'08 to 0'19) the upper part, which is held in long note values, is replaced by the constant insertion of the initial figure of the remaining parts - with a different text than the upper part (... get around, 'round,' round, I get around) - contrasts. This is followed (0'20 to 0'38) by a unanimous and thinly orchestrated passage. The rest of the title repeats this interplay several times. Further examples are the accompaniment of the upper part by rhythmic harmonies set in eighth notes ( la-la-la-la in 0'37 to 0'52) in the title You're so Good to Me or the rhythmic interjections (… inside, outside USA ) in the song Surfin 'USA .

Lead vocals and accompanying / contrasting harmony voices in the title I Get Around

In titles and sections with an upper voice held in shorter note values, elongated harmonies or tones of the remaining voices are usually used. An example of this is the verse (0'07 to 0'22) of the title Little Deuce Coupe . The upper part, which appears in eighth notes, is accompanied by sustained harmonies from the other vocalists.

How the design of upper voices and the remaining voices are mutually dependent can be clearly seen in the title Be True to Your School (from 0'41) . In places with a moving upper part, the accompanying voices are limited to long-lasting harmonies so as not to conflict with them. As soon as the upper part has a longer tone, the remaining voices use this for independent interjections.

In ballads like In My Room or Girls on the Beach , the vocal movement is mostly in four voices with some passages dominated by the upper part (for example in the title Wendy or Let Him Run Wild ). Contrasting interjections from the other voices are rather rare.

Rhythm and metric

The band's early recordings mostly have a sustained, contemporary-conventional drum part with emphasis on the beats 1 and 3, the snare drum on 2 and 4, and a constant eighth or quarter pulse on the cymbals . In addition to fast tracks in 4/4 time, there are slow ballads , mostly composed in triplet -like 12/8 time, such as Surfer Girl , The Warmth of the Sun , In My Room or The Girls on the Beach .

This changes from the Pet Sounds and Smiley Smile albums . The percussive part is greatly reduced. If pieces are not composed entirely without rhythm instruments , they are often only sparsely supplemented with an, however, expanded arsenal of more melodic percussion instruments . Often the amount of percussion is limited to a subtle hint of quarter beats (Don't Talk) , only the beginning of the bar (You Still Believe in Me) , or the occasional setting of accents (That's Not Me) . The purely instrumental title Pet Sounds spreads an almost Latin American character through the use of various percussion instruments. The Beach Boys use Latin American percussion again on their 1988 number one hit Kokomo . The extreme contrast between high and occasionally used deep percussion instruments also occurs in other titles of Pet Sounds indicate about Caroline, No .


At 59%, the majority of Brian Wilson's compositions are in the verse / chorus form . In the case of the Beatles' songs, however, this proportion is significantly lower at 24%. The proportion of Beach Boys titles in the AABA form is relatively low at 29% - Beatles on the other hand 76%.

Noticeably often, Wilson and Lennon / McCartney used otherwise seldom used blues forms and forms derived from them ( Surfer Girl , Good Vibrations ) in pop music of the early 1960s . These forms are rarely used for the entire song, but mostly only for individual parts. In Little Deuce Coupe Wilson are used for example in the verse, but not in the chorus. It is the other way around in the titles Dance, Dance, Dance or Surf City .

Formal and harmonious overview of the title Good Vibrations

Sometimes he also changes the given form, especially in the last four bars.

These schemes are expanded in later songs (on the Pet Sounds or Smiley Smile albums ), but not in principle canceled. However, the increased use of experimental musical means makes them less noticeable. In the first half of the title , Good Vibrations has a regular structure with verse and refrain, which is constructed in bar groups with powers of two (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64). This is followed by two episodes / insertions, which are built irregularly with odd bar lengths and also clearly stand out from the verse and chorus in terms of the instrumentation and the mood content. The title Heroes and Villains is laid out in a similar way in a multi-part form .

Starting with the album Pet Sounds , the band's sound became increasingly individualized from conventional pop music traditions through the use of instruments that were unusual at the time and more complex structures. Starting with Pet Sounds and even more Smiley Smile , Brian Wilson increasingly used a type of montage or collage technique by combining different and often at different points in time, short ideas or musical motifs or riffs in the studio and combining them into a song. He described this procedure in relation to the title Good Vibrations himself in the following words:

“I had a lot of unfinished ideas, fragments of music I called 'feels'. Each feel represented a mood or an emotion I'd felt, and I planned to fit them together like a mosaic. "

“I had a lot of incomplete ideas, fragments of music that I called 'feels'. Each 'feel' represented a mood or emotion that I was feeling, and I planned to bring these together like a mosaic. "

- Brian Wilson


Typical hallmark of the early recordings are clean intoned polyphonic vocal writing, mostly sung by Brian Wilson and later by Al Jardine high falsetto voice , the sound of twang guitar (I Get Around) , and objections of the Hammond organ ( Fun, Fun, Fun , Surfin 'USA ). In view of the often complex choral movements , the instrumental part of the Beach Boys songs is often kept sparse and simple.

In the later recordings of the band, these schemes are often broken down and expanded. In the title Good Vibrations , which was elaborately produced for the time , the band broke new ground in terms of formal structure and instrumentation . For a three-and-a-half minute song, the title has a diverse modular structure made up of different sections and is unusually orchestrated. The individual sections clearly stand out from one another in terms of rhythm, sound and mood. The guitars customary in the genre were left out and unusual instruments such as the tannerin , a rhythmically related cello , harmonica and a sonically altered piano were used. Brian Wilson described the musical structural elements and the sound engineering process of the title as follows:

“Within the three minutes and thirty-five seconds of 'Good Vibrations', Brian explains, there were a lot of riff changes. It had a lot of movements ... changes, changes, changes. Building harmonies here, drop this voice out, this comes in, bring the echo chamber in, do this, put the Theremin there, bring the cello up a little louder here… a series of intricate harmonies and mood changes… I mean it was a real production. The biggest production of our life. "

“In the three minutes and thirty-five seconds of Good Vibrations , Brian explains, there are many changes to the reef. The song has a lot of movement ... change, change, change. Build harmonies here, fade this voice in and out, put in the reverberation room , do that, take the theremin there, make the cello a little louder ... a sequence of complicated harmonies and mood changes ... I mean, it was a real production , probably the largest production of our life. "

- from the booklet accompanying the Smiley Smile CD

Likewise, in contrast to the lavishly cast and produced songs or sections, some pieces are sparsely orchestrated in the sense of a conscious understatement. As in the title Wonderful, for example, this sometimes results in an unstable and ambiguous or unclear tonality in the compositions, which are often harmoniously “daring” and often only have unison singing and isolated bass tones or noises. In some titles an unusual combination of instruments is noticeable. In She's Goin Bald, a cappella singing is combined in an unusual way with percussion.

The title Fall Breaks and Back to Winter (W. Woodpecker Symphony) uses unusual instruments such as wooden blocks , wind chimes and tubular bells . The song God Only Knows introduces more classical instruments like flugelhorn and harpsichord , and I Know There's an Answer uses a banjo . A string orchestra is used on Don'Talk and Let's Go Away For a While (Pet Sounds) . On Let's Go Away For a While there are high-pitched bells at the beginning of the title .

Especially on the albums Pet Sounds and Smiley Smile , the band used new stylistic devices such as noises (bubbles on a bottle and the sound of pouring into a water glass for the title Vegetables ), bicycle bells, recordings of passing trains and barking dogs (Caroline, No). , Manipulation / increasing the belt speed ( She's Goin 'Bald and Wind Chimes ), echo (Good Vibrations) and reverb effects ( Wind Chimes , You Still Believe in Me ) or long pauses (The Little Girl I Once Knew) .

California myth

With their music and their lyrics, the Beach Boys played a key role in the creation of the “California Myth” and the associated metaphors and symbols , and are usually inseparable from it in the public eye. This myth is based on the promise or the illusion of an endless summer, the primacy of the moment and an unbroken optimism as well as unlimited hedonistic pleasure without disturbing everyday worries, illness or death. This model was described by Greil Marcus in his book Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music . Beach Boy member Al Jardine self-critically summed it up in the following words:

“I think we had a lot to do with the population rush to California. People hearing the Beach Boys songs envisioned California as sort of a golden paradise where all you did was surf and sunned yourself while gorgeous blondes rubbed coconut oil on your body. "

“I think we had a lot to do with the rapid immigration to California. People who listened to the Beach Boys' songs imagined California as a kind of golden paradise where you just surf and sunbathe while gorgeous blondes rub coconut oil on you. "

- Al Jardine

The then known only in Hawaii, California and Australia sport of surfing (surfing) became famous overnight worldwide. This “Californian myth” - and with it the band's music - were received in part as an expression of the reality of life of a pure white and relatively saturated American middle-class youth of the 1960s and as a modernized form of the American dream of a nation or a life without borders. Surfing and the rush of speed with cars or motorcycles was glorified as an original American experience. Here's what rock critic Donald Lyons said:

“What do cars and surfboards mean? [...] They are the main characteristics of the American urge to move. Cars embody the active utilization of natural energy by the machine and surfboards the passive enjoyment of natural energy with the help of physical dexterity. "

- Donald Lyons

On September 12, 2008, “Brian Wilson Day” was proclaimed by the Los Angeles City Council. Councilor Jack Weiss stated, “ He created our idea of ​​California. "(German:" He created our concept of California. ")

The band produced the conventional ideal of a clan of nice American boys next door, giving their listeners an easily accessible model of identification.

Successes, honors and awards

On July 4, 1985, the Beach Boys played in front of a million people in Philadelphia and then in front of 750,000 people in Washington. This earned them an entry in the Guinness Book of Records .

In 1981 the Beach Boys received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

The Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1998 he was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame . The band is often referred to as America's Band . called the group “ Americas first, best rock band ”. Brian Wilson was inducted into the UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Historic Landmark 1041

On May 20, 2005, the site of the Wilsons' birthplace was declared a California Historic Landmark and a landmark was erected. The house was demolished in 1986 to make way for a new highway.

The Beach Boys have had 36 hits in the top 40 of the American Billboard charts and 56 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 during their career. This is more than any other American band has recorded. Among those hits were four number one singles in the US and nine number one singles worldwide.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked the Beach Boys twelfth of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time . Based on the Billboard charts, the Beach Boys are the most successful American band to date when single and album sales are summarized. The album Beach Boys Concert , a live recording of a concert in Sacramento, reached number one on the album charts at the height of Beatlemania and became the first number one live album in the history of the Billboard charts.

In 1967 the band received the bronze Bravo Otto from the German youth magazine Bravo . In 1999, the Beach Boys were given for Pet Sounds the Grammy in the category Album of the Millennium awarded. The band rejected the award, protesting against the late decision of the jurors, who had only recognized the album 33 years after it was released. In 2001 the band received a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement.

The Beach Boys were represented with three albums in Rolling Stone 's 500 best albums in 2003 : Sunflower at number 380, The Beach Boys Today! on rank 270 and Pet Sounds on rank two (behind Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band of the Beatles).

In Rolling Stone's 2004 list of the 500 best songs of all time , the Beach Boys are represented with seven songs. They placed sixth with Good Vibrations , God Only Knows was chosen 25th. This is followed by California Girls (71), Don't Worry Baby (176), In My Room (209), Caroline, No (211) and Sloop John B. (271).

At the award ceremony of the Golden Camera in 2016 , the group received the award in the category of life's work in music .

Influence on other musicians

The album Pet Sounds is considered by experts to be one of the most important albums in music history and therefore had a great influence on many other musicians: Paul McCartney and George Martin often referred to the special role of the album in interviews. The latter is of the opinion that without this album by the Beach Boys, the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band would not have been made. It was an attempt by the Beatles to catch up with Pet Sounds . Pet Sounds also influenced the albums Cold and Bouncy and Hawaii by The High Llamas and the two albums UP and Reveal by REM. In addition, McCartney described the song God Only Knows as the "greatest song of all time".

Elton John said in an interview that Brian Wilson's compositional style had a lasting influence on him. Artists who also refer to the Beach Boys as inspiration are XTC , Velvet Crush and Cornelius .

In addition, some of the Beach Boys' songs were re-recorded by well-known artists: David Lee Roth and Nancy Sinatra covered California Girls , Joss Stone , David Bowie and Neil Diamond sang God Only Knows , Garbage used in Push It! a sample from Don't Worry Baby .

Darrly Dragon and Toni Tennille (the only “Beach Girl”) went on tour with the Beach Boys for a few years. They later made careers as the duo Captain & Tennille . Dragon wrote some songs with Dennis Wilson.

Richard Daniel Roman wrote his song Vive El Verano as a tribute to the band.

Actor John Stamos has been a regular guest musician for many years and has appeared at Beach Boys concerts and music videos, and sang the lead vocal for the song Forever , which was released on Summer in Paradise . In many episodes of his television series there are allusions to the Beach Boys. Stamos produced the television film An American Band , which tells the story of the Beach Boys, and has a cameo in it .

Brian Wilson's daughters, Carnie and Wendy , formed the band Wilson Phillips with Chynna Phillips , daughter of John and Michelle Phillips ( The Mamas and the Papas ) .


In 1984 the Beach Boys published the documentary An American Band , which gives a detailed account of the band's history. It ends with Dennis Wilson's death. In 1990 with The Dream of the Beach Boys (original title: "Summer Dreams: The Story of the Beach Boys" ) the band's history was shown in a feature film; the focus of the plot was on the relationship of the brothers Brian and Dennis to the father Murry Wilson. After Carl Wilson's death, the documentary Endless Harmony followed in 1998, which had no overlap with An American Band . The Beach Boys and many companions tell the story of the band. Some unreleased songs were used for this documentary. Another feature film about the Beach Boys followed in 2000, An American Family , which focused on their earlier careers and ended in the mid-1970s. In 2015 the film Love & Mercy was released, which deals with the life of Brian Wilson. Wilson is played in it by John Cusack and Paul Dano .

In the Baywatch episode season 6 episode 4 ("Alarm in Diabolo Bay") The Beach Boys provide the main music in the form of a music video ("Summer of Love") as well as longer music recordings (including "Surfer Girl", "California Girls "). While these film recordings have no relation to the content of the episode, the film's benefit concert of the band (including "Summer in Paradise") provides the bulk of the funding for the elimination of environmental pollution.


  • Kingsley Abbott (Eds.): The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson (Back to the Beach, 1997). Hannibal-Verlag, St. Andrä-Wölker 1998, ISBN 3-85445-160-1 .
  • Keith Badmann: The Beach Boys (The Beach Boys, 2002). Olms, Zurich 2005, ISBN 3-283-00503-6 .
  • Andrew G. Doe, John Tobler: Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. The complete guide to their music . Bosworth, London 2004, ISBN 978-1-84449-426-2 .
  • Brad Elliott: Surf's Up. The Beach Boys on record, 1961-1981 . Helter Skelter Press, London 2004, ISBN 1-900924-79-X .
  • Charles L. Granata: Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. The Making of Pet Sounds ("I just wasn't made for these times." Brian Wilson and the making of the Pet Sounds, 2003). Hannibal-Verlag, Höfen 2007, ISBN 978-3-85445-275-1 .
  • Daniel Harrison: After Sundown. The Beach Boys' Experimental Music . In: John Covach and Graeme M. Boone (Eds.): Understanding Rock. Essays in Musical Analysis . Oxford University Press, New York 1997, pp. 33-57, ISBN 0-19-510004-2 .
  • Phillip Lambert: Inside the Music of Brian Wilson. The songs, sounds, and the influences of the Beach Boys' founding genius . Continuum Books, New York 2007, ISBN 978-0-8264-1876-0 .
  • David Leaf: Beach Boys. The beach boys from California (Beach Boys. The Beach Boys and the California Myth, 1978). Heyne, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-453-80040-0 .
  • Domenic Priore: Listen! Look! Vibrate! Smile! Last Gasp Edition, San Francisco 1995, ISBN 0-86719-417-0 .
  • Brian Wilson (with Todd Gold): My California nightmare. The autobiography of the Beach Boys band leader ("Wouldn't be nice". My own story, 1991). vgs-Verlag, Cologne 1993, ISBN 3-8025-2245-1 .

Web links

Commons : The Beach Boys  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. The first slump came with the album Smiley Smile in September 1967. The follow-up album Wild Honey did a little better, but did not make it into the top 20. 1968 reached a low point with Friends . After 1966 (Good Vibrations) there was no top 10 placement in the singles for ten years.
  2. ^ Period from the single Surfin Safari (1962) to That's Why God Made the Radio at number 3 in 2012.
  3. Pete Townshend was known for his special playing of the guitar strings, in which he let the arm circle in a wide arc, which was often referred to as a "windmill" (English windmill ).
  4. ^ " In 1983, Ronald Reagan's secretary of the interior, James Watt, an evangelian Christian, decided to ban rock music from the annual Fourth of July celebration on the national mall. Watt explained that rock groups drew 'the wrong element' and that Independence Day would be 'for the family and solid, clean American lives'. Watt replaced the rock lineup, which the previous year had included the Beach Boys, with Wayne Newton and the Army Blues Band. ; from Eileen Luhr: Witnessing suburbia - Conservatives and Christian youth culture . University of California Press, 2009, pp. 66 ( online at Google Book ).
  5. Better in the Engl. Wikipedia under verse-chorus form described
  6. Better in the Engl. Wikipedia under Thirty-two-bar form described
  7. From engl. to feel , 'feel', 'feel'. Wilson does not use the correct noun feeling for 'feeling' here, probably to separate his concept from it linguistically.

Individual evidence

  1. The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made in Mojo . Issue from August 1995, No. 21.
  2. a b The RS 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In: Rolling Stone , accessed April 3, 2010.
  3. a b c text accompanying the sampler Lost & Found (1961–62) .
  4. ^ Brian Wilson (with Todd Gold): My Californian Nightmare . Cologne: 1993. ISBN 3-8025-2245-1 .
  5. Jay Warner: American Singing Groups. A History from 1940 to Today , Hal Lonard Cooperation, Milwaukee 2006, ISBN 978-0-634-09978-6 , p. 328
  6. a b c d Beach Boys singles in the US Billboard charts . Retrieved April 3, 2010.
  7. accompanying to live in London . Retrieved April 3, 2010.
  8. a b c d e David Leaf: The Capitol Years . In: Kingsley Abbot (eds.): The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson . St. Andrä-Wölker: Hannibal-Verlag, 1998. ISBN 3-85445-160-1 .
  9. ^ Badman, Keith: The Beach Boys - The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band on Stage and in the Studio , Backbeat Books by Outline Press Ltd., London 2004, p. 27. ISBN 978-0-87930-818-6 .
  10. a b Beach Boys albums in the US Billboard charts . Retrieved April 3, 2010.
  11. Peter Ames Carlin: Catch a Wave - The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson . St. Martin's Press, 2006. pp. 38 and 55.
  12. a b Keith Badman: The Beach Boys . San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2004. ISBN 0-87930-818-4 .
  13. Review of the album The Beach Boys Today! at . Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  14. Notes in the booklet accompanying the Pet Sounds CD .
  15. Peter Ames Carlin: Catch a Wave - The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. St. Martin's Press, 2006. p. 75.
  16. Andrew G. Doe, John Tobler: Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys - The Complete Guide to their Music . London: Bosworth Musikverlag, 2004, p. 46.
  17. Timothy White : The Nearest Faraway Place in In: Kingsley Abbot (Ed.): The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson . St. Andrä-Wrogen: Hannibal-Verlag, 1998. p. 46.
  18. a b Neal Umphred: Let's Go Away For Awhile . In: The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson . St. Andrä-Wölker: Hannibal-Verlag, 1998. ISBN 3-85445-160-1 .
  19. a b UK Top 40 Hit Database .
  20. a b Kingsley Abbot (ed.): St. Andrä-Wrogen: Hannibal-Verlag, 1998. ISBN 3-85445-160-1 . Section: Goodbye Surfin, Hello God .
  21. Peter Ames Carlin: Catch a Wave - The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson . St. Martin's Press, 2006. p. 65.
  22. ^ A b Andrew G. Doe, John Tobler: Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys - The Complete Guide to their Music . London: Bosworth Music Publishing, 2004.
  23. Peter Ames Carlin: Catch a Wave - The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, St. Martin's Press, 2006, p. 136 u. 137.
  24. ^ Jules Siegal: Goodbye Surfing, Hello God - The religious change of Brian Wilson . In: Kingsley Abbot (eds.): The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson . St. Andrä-Wölker: Hannibal-Verlag, 1998. ISBN 3-85445-160-1 .
  25. In: Kingsley Abbot (eds.): The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson . St. Andrä-Wölker: Hannibal-Verlag, 1998. ISBN 3-85445-160-1 .
  26. Peter Doggett: Hang in there, brother. The Beach Boys without Brian Wilson in Kingsley Abbott (Ed.): The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson . St. Andrä-Wölker: Hannibal-Verlag, 1998. ISBN 3-85445-160-1 .
  27. ^ Brother Records discography . Retrieved April 3, 2010.
  28. Booklet of the CD Sunflower / Surf's Up , Columbia Records 2000.
  29. Timothy White: Little Deuce Coupe: Two Beach Boys Sail Alone . In: Kingsley Abbot (eds.): The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson . St. Andrä-Wölker: Hannibal-Verlag, 1998. ISBN 3-85445-160-1 .
  30. Keith Badman; The Diary of ... year 1988.
  31. IMDb: “Baywatch” Surf's Up (1995) . Retrieved April 3, 2010.
  34. a b c Mike Clifford: The new illustrated Rock Handbook , Salamander Books Limited, London, 1986, p. 18.
  35. quoted from Glenn C. Altschuler: All Shook Up - How Rock 'n' Roll Changed America . Oxford University Press, 2003. p. 175.
  36. ^ Keith Badman: The Beach Boys - The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band on Stage and in the Studio . Backbeat Books, 2004. p. 11.
  37. Documentation: American Band (1984) and documentation on A Tribute to Brian Wilson (2001).
  38. ^ Frank W. Hoffmann, Howard Ferstler: Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound , Volume I, Routledge Chapman & Hall, 2005. p. 78.
  39. ^ Nathan Brackett, Christian David Hoard: The New Rolling Stone Album Guide , 4th ed. Simon & Schuster, 2004. p. 48.
  40. David Leaf in the booklet accompanying the CD Smiley Smile , Capitol Records, 7243 5 31862 2 7, 2001, p. 11.
  41. ^ Scott Schinder, Andy Schwartz: Icons of Rock - An Encyclopedia of the Legends Who Changed Music Forever . Greenwood Icons, 2008. p. 122.
  42. Elton John on the occasion of an appearance with Brian Wilson (0'43 ff.) .
  43. ^ John Rudolph Covach, Graeme MacDonald Boone: Understanding Rock - Essays in Musical Analysis . Oxford University Press Inc., 1997. p. 34.
  44. ^ John Rudolph Covach, Graeme MacDonald Boone: Understanding Rock - Essays in Musical Analysis . Oxford University Press Inc., 1997. pp. 35-38.
  45. Greg Panfile: Mind of Brian 6: The Warmth of the Sun . Retrieved April 4, 2010.
  46. David Leaf in the booklet accompanying the CD Smiley Smile , Capitol Records, 7243 5 31862 2 7, 2001. P. 7.
  47. ^ Jon Fitzgerald: Musical Form and the Early 1960s Pop Song . In: Geraldine Bloustien (Ed.): Musical Visions . Wakefield Press, 1999, pp. 38 .
  48. ^ Jon Fitzgerald: Musical Form and the Early 1960s Pop Song . In: Geraldine Bloustien (Ed.): Musical Visions . Wakefield Press, 1999, pp. 36 ff .
  49. ^ Joe Stuessy: Rock and Roll: Its History and Stylistic Development . Prentice Hall, 1999. p. 100.
  50. Own translation. Original quote from John Rudolph Covach, Graeme MacDonald Boone: Understanding Rock - Essays in Musical Analysis . Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 42 .
  51. Peter Ames Carlin: Catch a Wave - The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson . St. Martin's Press, 2006. p. 90.
  52. ^ Scott Schinder, Andy Schwartz: Icons of Rock - An Encyclopedia of the Legends Who Changed Music Forever . Greenwood Icons, 2008. p. 116.
  53. Own translation. Original quote from David Leaf in the booklet accompanying the CD Smiley Smile , Capitol Records, 7243 5 31862 2 7, 2001. p. 8.
  54. ^ John Rudolph Covach, Graeme MacDonald Boone: Understanding Rock - Essays in Musical Analysis . Oxford University Press Inc., 1997. p. 48.
  55. Peter Ames Carlin: Catch a Wave - The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson . St. Martin's Press, 2006. p. 197.
  56. David N. Howard: Sonic Alchemy - Visionary Music Producers and Their Maverick Recordings . Hal Leonard Publishing, 2004. p. 49.
  57. ^ Richard Aquila: Wanted Dead or Alive - The American West in Popular Culture . University of Illinois Press, 1998. p. 197.
  58. Own translation. Original quote from Trevor Cralle: The Surfin'ary - A Dictionary of Surfing Terms and Surfspeak . Ten Speed ​​Press, 2001, p. 62 .
  59. ^ Keith Badman: The Beach Boys . San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2004. p. 349.
  60. James M. Curtis: Rock Eras - Interpretations of Music and Society 1954-1984 , Chapter 9: California rises for the first timer, too . P. 101 ff.
  61. ^ A b Barry Graves, Siegfried Schmidt-Joos: Rock Lexicon . Rowohlt, 289-298 thousand, 1982, pp. 43 .
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  63. Los Angeles Times, September 12, 2008, print edition.
  64. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The Beach Boys in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  65. ^ Vocal Group Hall of Fame Inductees: The Beach Boys, Retrieved January 15, 2007.
  66. Kevin M. Cherry. Still America's Band: The Beach Boys Today ( December 24, 2008 memento on the Internet Archive ). In: National Review . Article dated July 8, 2002. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  67. Martin Lennon. Beach Boys: Sunny pop veterans are still shining ( Memento from July 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). In: . Article dated May 16, 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  68. biography at .
  69. Led Zeppelin make UK Hall of Fame . Retrieved January 15, 2007.
  70. NO. 1041 Site of the Childhood Home of the Beach Boys
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  73. Timeline 2001 . Archived from the original on April 7, 2009. Retrieved July 9, 2009.
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  75. “Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band wouldn't have happened… Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds” (Sir George Martin, producer of the Beatles, quoted from biography in the Internet Movie Database ).
  76. Konrad Heidkamp: The happy minor . In: Die Zeit , 21/2001. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
  77. Marcel Anders: The Return of the Vibemaster . In: Kingsley Abbot (eds.): The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson . St. Andrä-Wölker: Hannibal-Verlag, 1998. ISBN 3-85445-160-1 .
  78. IMDb: "The Dream of the Beach Boys - Summer Dreams: The Story of the Beach Boys"
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on April 9, 2010 in this version .