successful and important American band of the
rock music era is without question The Beach
Boys. They were formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, CA,
around the three Wilson brothers: Brian (b. June
20, 1942) (bass, piano, vocals), Dennis (b. Dec.
4, 1944 - d. Dec. 28, 1983) (drums, vocals), and
Carl (b. Dec. 21, 1946) (guitar, vocals).
Additional members were Mike Love (b. Mar. 15,
1941) (vocals), the Wilsons' cousin, and Al
Jardine (b. Sep. 3, 1942) (guitar, vocals). From
the start, the focus of the group's music was
Brian Wilson, who combined a fascination with
vocal harmony in the Four Freshmen mold with a
love of Chuck Berry-derived rock & roll.
Added to that was the subject matter of
middle-class teenage life in Southern California
-- surfing, cars, and girls.
Boys returned to prominence in the mid-'70s on a
wave of nostalgia and a potent concert act that
focused on their early hits. Capitol Records had
repackaged their catalogue repeatedly, but
Endless Summer, a June 1974 double LP compiling
their early-'60s work, amazingly topped the
charts, becoming their first gold album in seven
years. In July 1976, The Beach Boys released 15
Big Ones, their first new studio album in more
than three years and their first album in a
decade to credit Brian Wilson as producer. The
album spawned a Top Ten hit in a cover of Chuck
Berry's "Rock and Roll Music," but the
group's commercial appeal, at least as far as
new recordings, was temporary. Subsequent albums
The Beach Boys Love You (April 1977) and M.I.U.
Album (September 1978) sold less well. Brian
Wilson's "comeback" also proved
elusive after 1977.
with the dawn of the CD era, the extensive
repackagings of Beach Boys material have
continued apace. The year 1993 finally brought a
five-CD boxed-set retrospective, Good
Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys. In
1995, after the resolution of various legal
issues, lead singer Mike Love and Brian Wilson
began working together again, yet the
partnership was quickly derailed due to various
tensions, and Wilson began collaborating with
Van Dyke Parks and working on a new solo album.
The following year, The Beach Boys released a
collection of duets with country artists titled
Stars and Stripes, Vol. 1, and there were plans
for a box set chronicling the Pet Sounds
sessions, but the compilation was delayed due to
disagreements within The Beach Boys camp.