Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer School of Rock - The Beach Boys

What do you get when you take a group of tanned and chiseled young men, get them to dress the same, add in some intricate vocal harmonies and write songs about fast cars, surfing and girls?

A smash hit.

Formed in Southern California, The Beach Boys were the product of Brian Wilson, a musical genius, but a tortured soul.

In the mid 60's, they shot to stardom quickly and gave The Beatles a fight when it came to the title of most popular band in all the land.  They were the clean cut All-American boys trying to take on the British Invasion.

They had over 30 songs ranked on the Top 40 list and four number ones.  The song Good Vibrations was reported to be the most expensive studio recorded song at the time, incorporating instruments never seen before in popular rock music, like the theremin and cello.  It showcased the complexity of Wilson's musical ability, and became their most popular song ever.

The group met with some serious obstacles as Wilson struggled with mental health problems and addiction.  There have been a great many legal battles over the rights to the songs.  Brian left the group for a time, when they made some of their greatest later successes, including the recording of Kokomo.

Over the years, there was a lot of turbulence in the group, with members coming and going.  Dennis Wilson drowned in 1983 and Carl Wilson died of lung cancer in 1988.  The three living original members, Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardin performed with Bruce Johnston and David Marks at this year's Grammy Awards and have toyed with a reunion tour.

Even after all these years, they sound amazing and can harmonize better than any other group.

1 comment:

  1. The Beach Boys were my first favorite band - they weren't exactly a popular choice in the mid to late 80's (until Kokomo came out - which, incidentally, was the only Beach Boys song to reach #1 on the Billboard chart)...I still love driving around with the windows down with the volume up, and singing along to whatever Beach Boys song is playing...
    And no, I'm not old enough to remember when they first started! I'm an 80's baby....

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