The Beach Boys
Brian Wilson – circa 1966
“Well it’s been building up inside of me for oh I don’t know how long / I don’t know why but I keep thinking something’s bound to go wrong” – ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ (Brian Wilson, Roger Christian)
Brian Wilson – the creative centre of U.S. pop group The Beach Boys – is not doing so well. In fact, he is having a nervous breakdown. This is not a euphemism for ‘feeling a bit agitated’; it is genuine, full-scale mental illness. To make matters worse, Brian has this episode in mid-air as The Beach Boys fly in a passenger jet from Los Angeles to Houston. The date is 23 December 1964. Over the next seventeen months, Brian Wilson has ‘two more serious breakdowns.’
The Beach Boys is essentially a family act. The core of the group is three brothers: Brian Douglas Wilson (born 20 June 1942), Dennis Carl Wilson (4 December 1944-28 December 1983) and Carl Dean Wilson (21 December 1946-6 February 1988). They are the children of Murry Gage Wilson and Audree Neva Wilson (nee Korthof). Murry Wilson is an amateur songwriter who sells heavy machinery for a living. Brian and Dennis are born in Inglewood, California, U.S.A. In 1945 the family moves to 3701 West 119th Street, Hawthorne, California. Carl is born in Hawthorne. The town is a few miles from Los Angeles and is described as ‘a working class neighbourhood.’ The three Wilson boys share a single bedroom between them. Murry Wilson is very strict and stern with his sons. “He yelled so loud you would swear the Devil was in the room,” recalls Brian Wilson. “He was such a terrorist. He would beat us so badly, we had no choice but to lie on our beds and cry after we got beat…It was usually over the lawns we didn’t mow or the dishes we didn’t do.” Dennis Wilson supports Brian’s view: “My dad was a tyrant. He used to physically beat the crap out of us.” However, Dennis also points out, “The one thing that kept our family together was music.”
Brian Wilson is characterised as ‘the introverted older brother.’ “I’m just a shy and retreating kind of person,” Brian admits. “Sometimes I get in a real talkative mood – but not very often.” When he is around 5 years old, Brian is found to have ‘extremely diminished hearing in his right ear.’ He may have been born partially deaf or it may be due to an attack by a neighbourhood bully or a blow to his head by his father. “Once he took a big two-by-four board and whacked me right in the ear,” Brian reports. Despite his hearing problems, Brian Wilson quickly demonstrates an aptitude for music. “[I had] two months of accordion lessons when I was a kid. Other than that I was self-taught.” The piano is Brian’s favoured instrument. He remembers thinking, “I wish I could play like my dad.” Brian adds, “My dad was a very inspirational person in my life but he was the worst person in my life [too].” Brian also has an interest in vocal harmonies such as those displayed by the U.S. vocal group The Four Freshmen. “The Four Freshmen taught me the most,” he affirms. “I wanted to emulate Bob Flanagan, the high voice in The Four Freshmen. I wanted to sing high like he did…I figured out our harmonies at the piano.” Dennis Wilson says, “We used to sing three-part harmonies in the back of the car.” Carl Wilson adds, “I think when I was 9 – 8 or 9 – Brian would have me sing with him and if I didn’t want to my mother would make me.” Brian Wilson learns from the rock ‘n’ roll stars of the 1950s. The first single Brian buys is the 1954 Bill Haley And The Comets song ‘Rock Around The Clock’. “I would listen to Little Richard and Fats Domino and Chuck Berry, and I would listen to how they played their riffs, and after I taught myself that, I taught myself to play my own stuff.”
Dennis Wilson is the ‘black sheep’ of the family. He possesses an ‘abundance of physical energy and a combative nature.’ So while his brothers Brian and Carl submit to their father’s abuse, Dennis fights back. Consequently, he is the one most often beaten by Murry Wilson.
Carl Wilson is ‘the shy baby of the family.’ He is ‘chubby growing up.’ Carl Wilson gets his first guitar when he is 12 years old. He is inspired by David Marks, a neighbour who lives across the street from the Wilson family, who has also received a guitar. “I remember growing up always loving the guitar,” says Carl. “I had been playing for about a year and a half when The Beach Boys was formed.”
The Wilson family sing-alongs expand with the addition of their cousin, Mike Love. “My mother was a Wilson,” says Mike. Michael Edward Love is born on 15 March 1941 in Los Angeles, California. He is the son of Edward Milton Love and Emily ‘Glee’ Love (nee Wilson). Mike’s grandfather is the founder of the Love Sheet Metal Company. Mike is the eldest of six children. His siblings are Stanley, Stephen, Maureen, Marjorie and Stephanie. At first, the Love family lives in the Baldwin Hills district, but they soon move to the more upmarket View Park area. Mike Love attends Dorsey High School.
Brian Wilson turns 16 on 20 June 1958. One of the gifts he receives is a tape recorder. Naturally, he uses this to record his family singing and playing music. Some historians consider this to be the start of The Beach Boys but, in truth, they exist only in embryonic form for the next few years.
In his senior year at Hawthorne High School, Brian Wilson is quite athletic. He plays baseball, participates in cross country running and is a football quarterback. One of his football teammates is Al Jardine.
In the same year, Brian Wilson forms a band with his baby brother Carl and their cousin, Mike Love. Brian calls the group Carl And The Passions, giving star billing to young Carl in an effort to entice him to join the act.
The Wilson Brothers and Mike Love enter a high school talent show in 1959.
Mike Love graduates from Dorsey High School in 1959. He briefly pumps gas (fills car tanks at a petrol station), before joining his father’s sheet metal company. However by the late 1950s that business is in decline. Mike moves to Inglewood, California, to be closer to the Wilson family.
In September 1960 Brian Wilson begins studying at El Camino College where he majors in psychology. His high school football buddy Al Jardine is also a student at El Camino College.
Dennis Wilson is expelled from high school shortly after he turns 16. Why is he expelled? Dennis ‘gets into a fight with a boy over a lollipop Dennis steals from him.’
Mike Love marries Frances St. Martin on 4 January 1961. They have two daughters: Melinda (born 15 July 1961) and Teresa (born 2 December 1962).
It is in summer 1961 that the five members of what will become The Beach Boys come together. The classic line-up is: Mike Love (vocals, occasional saxophone), Brian Wilson (vocals, keyboards, bass), Carl Wilson (vocals, lead guitar), Al Jardine (vocals, bass, guitar) and Dennis Wilson (vocals, drums). The group is named The Pendletones. Pendletons (without an ‘e’) are woollen shirts popular at the time. The ‘tones’ suffix is used to indicate they are a musical group, though it is also suggested that it is in imitation of Dick Dale And The Del-Tones, an instrumental surf rock group. Carl Wilson says, “The first thing I remember about The Beach Boys is my brother Dennis and my cousin Mike came back from the beach…and Dennis said, ‘We’re gonna start a group and we’re gonna sing songs about surfing.’” Brian Wilson admits, “I never surfed. I can’t surf at all.” Al Jardine testifies that, “Dennis…he was an avid surfer.” Brian Wilson becomes entranced with Dennis’ stories of the surfing life and urges him to supply more details. “He was always my source of inspiration,” claims Brian. Dennis Wilson is the least musical of the group. “My mom had to beg the guys to let me play. I couldn’t even play the drums right. Brian had to show me,” says Dennis. At this point, expelled from school, Dennis’ accomplishments are small. “I made a dollar a day sweeping a laundry out,” he says. Inspired by Dennis’ tales, Brian Wilson writes his first original song, ‘Surfer Girl’, in 1961. It will eventually be recorded by the group, but not as their first single.
The establishment of a regular group in 1961 also brings Al Jardine into the fold.
Alan Charles Jardine is born on 3 September 1942 in Lima, Ohio, U.S.A. Al is the son of Donald Charles Jardine and Virginia Loxley Jardine. Al has an elder brother, Neal (born 1938). “My dad and brother were very musical,” says Al. The Jardine family moves from Ohio to San Francisco, California, and then later to Hawthorne, the home town of Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson. Al Jardine is the same age as Brian Wilson, the eldest of the three Wilson siblings. He plays football alongside Brian at Hawthorne High School. Described as ‘extremely athletic’, Al Jardine also does shot put in track and field contests. Al goes on to El Camino College alongside Brian Wilson. Unlike the Wilson brothers, Al Jardine comes from a folk music background. “Alan got into the group. He came to me and said he wanted to do a folk group,” recalls Brian Wilson. Characterised as ‘the shy, quiet member of the group,’ Al Jardine is also the shortest of the band. He is five feet, five inches tall. (At six feet, two inches, Brian Wilson is the tallest. Mike Love is six feet, one inch; Carl Wilson is five feet, ten inches; and Dennis Wilson is five feet, nine inches.)
Murry and Audree Wilson go to Mexico City for a weekend, leaving their son Brian two hundred dollars in case of emergencies. Al Jardine suggests the money be used to buy themselves some proper instruments. Returning home, Murry is furious about the purchase and throws Brian against the living room wall. Audree suggests the boys placate her husband by playing something for him on their new equipment before it is returned to the shop. Brian Wilson studied music theory at school. He failed his exams with a piece of music that was supposed to be a cantata. However, Brian has resurrected this tune and rewritten it to suit The Pendletones. It is titled ‘Surfin’’. Miraculously, as he listens to ‘Surfin’’, Murry Wilson’s anger fades. In fact, he appoints himself the manager of The Pendletones.
A recording contract is secured with Candix, a small record label. The first release for Brian Wilson’s band is ‘Surfin’’ (US no. 75), the same song that won over Brian’s father, Murry Wilson. The songwriting is credited to Brian Wilson and Mike Love. On the single, Carl Wilson plays acoustic guitar, Al Jardine plays double bass and Brian provides percussion on a garbage can. The boys’ vocals almost resemble 1950s doo wop groups. Released by Candix on 8 December 1961, ‘Surfin’’ is a primitive, but joyful, clatter. It is only after the disc is released that The Pendletones discover Candix has changed the name of the group to The Beach Boys. They were going to call them The Surfers but Russ Regan, a promoter with Era Records, advised Candix that there was already a group by that name and suggested The Beach Boys instead. Any resentment about the name change forced upon the group quickly evaporates in the euphoria of their first single’s modest success. As Al Jardine puts it, “We ran home from school every day. It was like a miracle to hear it on the radio.” The Beach Boys recording career has begun.
The music of The Beach Boys is usually described as pop music or rock music. Their voices in sweet harmony and the band’s attractive and accessible melodies are the pop elements. The Chuck Berry influenced guitar licks and simple – yet gutsy – underlying drive of the rhythm are the rock elements. Some would say The Beach Boys play surf rock, but this genre is more associated with the instrumental bands like Dick Dale And The Del-Tones. If The Beach Boys play surf rock, then they reinvent it in their own image. ‘No sweat, [Brian Wilson] creates a bonafide surf music out of nothing. More, he invents California.’
Brian Wilson is regarded as The Beach Boys ‘resident genius.’ “I’m not a genius,” he says dismissively. “I’m just a hard-working guy.” In any case, it is Brian Wilson’s vision that guides The Beach Boys. Over the course of their career, virtually all the members of the group contribute to the songwriting. Yet it is Brian who creates the template for their style and it is his contribution that underpins the band’s reputation. For all that, Brian Wilson is rarely credited as the sole author of a song; he usually collaborates with a lyricist. “My skills are musical, not lyrical,” Brian confesses. Perhaps his best known collaborator is Beach Boys vocalist Mike Love. “Maybe out of the fifty top Beach Boys songs, I was probably the co-writer and singing lead on forty of them,” claims Mike. Assuming Mike is correct, unless otherwise stated, all The Beach Boys hits referred to herein are co-written by Mike Love and Brian Wilson with Mike as lead vocalist. However, it should be acknowledged that just as virtually all of the band members contribute to the songwriting, so too do they contribute not only harmonies but lead vocals as well.
The band’s first gig under the name of The Beach Boys takes place on 31 December 1961. They are one of the acts performing at a memorial concert at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium in honour of Ritchie Valens, the early rock star who died in an airplane crash. The show is also notable for being Brian Wilson’s first performance as bassist – rather than just keyboards-player – for the group. Murry Wilson bought the bass guitar for his son only three days earlier. “My brother Carl taught me how to play bass,” points out Brian. In practice, Brian usually plays keyboards for The Beach Boys while Al Jardine plays bass but, if the song requires more guitar, Al becomes second guitarist to Carl Wilson and Brian switches to bass.
The Beach Boys start their first tour in early 1962. Mike Love quits his metal working job for the band even though he has a wife and baby daughter to support. Dennis Wilson tosses in his position sweeping floors in a laundry. Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson and Al Jardine all leave school.
Early in 1962, there is a brief side project for The Beach Boys. Producer Hite Morgan prevails upon them to provide vocals for him on a couple of songs for which he already has pre-recorded backing tracks provided by hired musicians. The songs are ‘Barbie’ and ‘What Is A Young Girl Made Of?’ The vocals are laid down by Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Al Jardine and Audree Wilson (the mother of Brian and Carl). The act is credited as Kenny And The Cadets. Brian is ‘Kenny.’
In February 1962, bassist/guitarist Al Jardine leaves The Beach Boys. Al has ‘serious second thoughts’ about a career in music because he is ‘discouraged about the band’s financial prospects.’ Jardine himself says, “I told Brian [Wilson] I couldn’t maintain the schedule.” Al Jardine attends dental college in the Midwest for six months. During his absence from The Beach Boys he also ‘dabbles with a career in the air industry’ in Los Angeles.
David Marks is Al Jardine’s replacement in The Beach Boys line-up. David Lee Marks is born on 22 August 1948. When he is 7 years old, David and his family move in across the road from Murry Wilson’s brood. “Being an only child, I used to spend all my time with the Wilsons,” recalls Marks. He also witnesses the Wilson family’s internal conflicts. “I saw a fist fight between Murry and Dennis. My dad had to break them up.” David Marks receives his first guitar as a Christmas present in 1958. This inspires Carl Wilson, who is almost eighteen months older than David Marks, to also take up guitar.
The Candix record label gets into financial difficulties and folds early in 1962. By this time, The Beach Boys have demonstrated they can make a popular recording so their manager Murry Wilson gets them a recording deal with Capitol Records, a much larger company. 20 year old Brian Wilson uses part of his cash advance from Capitol to move into his own apartment.
At Capitol Records, The Beach Boys record their debut album, ‘Surfin’ Safari’ (1962) (US no. 32), released in October. This is the first of two Beach Boys albums produced by Nick Venet. David Marks debuts as second guitarist in The Beach Boys on the single – and title track – ‘Surfin’ Safari’ (US no. 14, AUS no. 48). A more polished and compulsive effort than ‘Surfin’’ – which is also included on this album – this song has a lyric that promises, “Come on, baby, wait and see / I want to take you surfin’ with me.” The other single from this album is ‘Ten Little Indians’ (US no. 49), a Native American love story where the squaw rejects all her suitors until the tenth Indian boy. Brian Wilson co-writes ‘Ten Little Indians’ with Gary Usher.
In 1962 Brian Wilson meets 14 year old Marilyn Rovell. She and her sister Diane Rovell perform as a singing duo called The Honeys. Brian and Marilyn begin dating. In later years, the Rovell sisters record as a duo named Spring. Brian supervises their recording career.
On 4 March 1963 Beach Boys vocalist Mike Love divorces Frances St. Martin.
‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ (1963) (US no. 2, UK no. 17), released in March, is The Beach Boys’ second album. “If everybody had an ocean / Across the U.S.A. / Then everybody’d be surfin’ / Like Califor-ni-ay,” suggests the lyrics to the song ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ (US no. 3, UK no. 27, AUS no. 12). Chuck Berry has been one of The Beach Boys’ prime influences, but ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ basically just rewrites the lyrics to Berry’s 1958 hit ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’. Accordingly, Chuck Berry is listed as co-author with Brian Wilson. Even the most optimistic Beach Boys fan might suspect that after ‘Surfin’’, ‘Surfin’ Safari’ and ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’, the subject matter of surfing might be wearing thin. A step ahead, The Beach Boys introduce a new topic on another track, a song that becomes the flipside of the ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ single. ‘Shut Down’ (US no. 23) is the first of The Beach Boys’ songs about hot rods and drag racing. Roger Christian pens the lyrics for ‘Shut Down’ while Brian Wilson writes the music.
In the summer of 1963 Al Jardine returns to The Beach Boys. David Marks remains in the group for a time so The Beach Boys becomes a six-piece band.
The Brian Wilson song ‘Surf City’ is given away to his friends Jan And Dean (Jan Berry and Dean Torrence) and becomes a hit for the duo in July 1963. It tops the U.S. singles charts. The Beach Boys’ manager Murry Wilson is angry about such a popular song slipping through the fingers of the group.
‘Surfer Girl’ (1963) (US no. 7, UK no. 13), The Beach Boys’ third album, is issued in September. This is the first Beach Boys album produced by Brian Wilson and it represents a step forward for him as the architect of The Beach Boys sound. Brian produces all the group’s recordings for the next few years. Brian Wilson is a fan of famed record producer Phil Spector, the Tycoon of Teen, whose ‘wall of sound’ – exotic instrumental touches and an avalanche of echoing overdubs – is popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Spector’s hallmarks become part of The Beach Boys’ increasingly more sophisticated works. It may be recalled that ‘Surfer Girl’ (US no. 7, AUS no. 17) was Brian Wilson’s first original composition. It is finally recorded for this album. ‘Surfer Girl’, written by Brian Wilson alone and featuring his aching falsetto lead vocal, is a lush, slow romantic paean to the maidens of the beach sands. Roger Christian writes the lyrics for Brian’s ‘Little Deuce Coupe’ (US no. 15), a new high-spirited hot rod song. Gary Usher provides the words for Brian’s ‘In My Room’ (US no. 23). Brian Wilson takes the lead vocal, its darker sentiments couched in swelling vocal harmonies: “Do my dreaming and my scheming / Lie awake and pray / Do my crying and my sighing / Laugh at yesterday.” It offers a taste of Brian’s production ambitions and a worrying forecast of his near future mental problems.
‘Little Deuce Coupe’ (1963) (US no. 4) follows only a month later in October. It’s a puzzling release since it picks up ‘Little Deuce Coupe’ from ‘Surfer Girl’ and ‘Shut Down’ from ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ It seems the disc’s purpose is to provide a compendium of car and hot rod songs. It also encompasses a stranger beast, the kooky cheerleading anthem ‘Be True To Your School’ (US no. 6, AUS no. 78): “Rah rah rah siss boom bah.”
On 15 October 1963 Beach Boys vocalist Mike Love marries his second wife, Suzanne Celeste Belcher. They go on to have two children: Hayleigh (born 27 December 1966) and Christian (born 23 May 1968).
David Marks leaves The Beach Boys in October 1963 after a fight with their manager Murry Wilson. He is not replaced. The group reverts to its classic five-piece configuration. David Marks goes on to his own group, The Marksmen, and also works as a session musician.
By this time, The Beach Boys are, arguably, the world’s premier rock band. However, their supremacy is about to be challenged. Mike Love notes that, “The Beach Boys already had about four or five albums under our belt when these newcomers, The Beatles, took the U.S. by storm in early 1964.”
On 4 February 1964 Beach Boys bassist/guitarist Al Jardine marries Lynda Sperry. Al and Lynda go on to have two sons: Matthew (born 9 December 1966) and Adam (born 22 October 1970).
‘Shut Down Volume 2’ (1964) (US no. 13) is released in March. The album’s best known song is ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ (US no. 5, AUS no. 9). This is a quintessential piece of classic teenage California good times whose lyrics paint a vivid portrait: “Well, she got her daddy’s car / And she cruised through the hamburger stand now.” ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ (US no. 24) has lyrics by Roger Christian and lead vocals by Brian Wilson. Ostensibly, it’s the tale of a young girl trying to reassure her drag-racer boyfriend but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to put Brian Wilson in the position of the troubled young man. The title track, ‘Shut Down Pt. II’, is an instrumental written by guitarist Carl Wilson.
Successful extended play recordings – EPs – seem to be exclusively a British thing for The Beach Boys. Typically holding four songs, EPs are half-way between albums and singles. In 1964 there are two Beach Boys EPs: ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ (UK no. 19) and ‘4 By The Beach Boys’ (UK no. 11).
‘All Summer Long’ (1964) (US no. 4) is released in July. This disc is home to ‘I Get Around’ (US no. 1, UK no. 7, AUS no. 33), The Beach Boys’ first chart-topping single and the first of four U.S. no. 1 singles for the group. ‘I Get Around’ spends two weeks at the top, 4 July to 8 July 1964. Brian Wilson provides the lead vocal with strong support from Mike Love. ‘I Get Around’ appears to be another car cruising anthem but, beneath the colourful exterior, there is a lingering disquietude: “I’m getting’ bugged drivin’ up and down this same old strip / I gotta find a new place where the kids are hip.” During the recording of ‘I Get Around’, Murry Wilson is relieved of his duties as the manager of The Beach Boys. Now more than ever, Brian Wilson holds the reins of The Beach Boys. ‘All Summer Long’ also holds ‘Little Honda’, a groovy little motorbike tribute in the spirit of The Beach Boys’ hot rod songs, and the semi-ballad ‘Wendy’ (US no. 44), about a girl who has left. Brian Wilson again takes the lead vocal for ‘Wendy’ with Mike Love backing him up.
The Beach Boys issue two further successful singles in 1964 but they do not appear on an album until 1965. ‘When I Grow Up To Be A Man’ (US no. 9, UK no. 27, AUS no. 39) is a cute bit of childish nostalgia haunted by the refrain “Won’t last forever.” This can be read as a comment on the passing of youth. Mike Love and Brian Wilson share the lead vocals. ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ (US no. 8, UK no. 24, AUS no. 52) is more straightforward and finds guitarist Carl Wilson co-credited with Mike Love and Brian Wilson as the authors of the song.
The Beach Boys release a live album, ‘Beach Boys Concert’ (1964) (US no. 1, AUS no. 3), in October and a seasonal offering, ‘The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album’ (1964) (US no. 6), in November. The latter is perhaps best known for their original festive season tune ‘Little Saint Nick’.
December 1964 is a tumultuous month for Brian Wilson. On 7 December 1964 Brian marries Marilyn Rovell. Brian and Marilyn later have two daughters: Carnie (born 29 April 1968) and Wendy (born 16 October 1969). In December 1964, the same month in which he marries, Brian begins using cannabis. On 23 December 1964 Brian Wilson suffers a nervous breakdown on a flight from Los Angeles to Houston, Texas. He has two more ‘serious breakdowns’ over the next seventeen months.
On 30 December 1964 a daughter, Shawn Marie Harris, is born as a result of a liaison between Beach Boys vocalist Mike Love and Shannon Harris. Mike is sued for paternity in March 1965. He agrees to pay maintenance for the child but denies paternity. One of the conditions of the settlement is that Shawn may use the surname of Love after she turns 18.
In January 1965 Brian Wilson retires from performing live with The Beach Boys. He is suffering from ‘stress and over-work.’ Brian’s doctors ‘advise him that continued touring could prove disastrous not only to his psyche but also to his hearing…His left ear is being overtaxed by the escalating decibels at live rock ‘n’ roll concerts.’ The Beach Boys’ creative centre will concentrate on songwriting and recording. In the short term, Brian’s place on tour is filled by guitarist Glen Campbell (who will later become a popular recording artist in his own right with hits like 1968’s ‘Wichita Lineman’, 1969’s ‘Galveston’ and 1975’s ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’).
‘The Beach Boys Today!’ (1965) (US no. 4, UK no. 6) is released in March. The 1964 hits ‘When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)’ and ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ are both included on this album. On this disc is a cover version of Bobby Freeman’s 1958 song ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ (US no. 12, AUS no. 95). It is notable for being the first lead vocal on a single by Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson. Bassist/guitarist Al Jardine is handed the job as lead singer on the bopping ‘Help Me Rhonda’ (US no. 1, UK no. 27, AUS no. 16). When it is recorded, ‘Help Me Rhonda’ is not considered as a potential hit single. However it gets such a good reaction at live shows, ‘Help Me Rhonda’ becomes a single and is The Beach Boys’ second no. 1 hit, topping the U.S. charts for two weeks from 30 May to 6 June 1965.
In April 1965 Brian Wilson starts taking the mind-altering drug L.S.D. Coupled with his existing mental health problems, the L.S.D. triggers ‘auditory hallucinations.’ “Every now and then I hear voices in my head,” Brian explains, “but not very clear. I can’t understand what they are saying. It’s a mental illness.”
On 9 April 1965 Bruce Johnston joins The Beach Boys as a replacement for Glen Campbell.
Bruce Arthur Johnston is born Benjamin Baldwin on 27 June 1942 in Peoria, Illinois. He is adopted by William and Irene Johnston of Chicago, Illinois. William Johnston becomes president of Owl Rexall Drug Company based in Los Angeles so he moves to that city with his family. Bruce Johnston attends Bel Air Town and Country School in Los Angeles where he studies classical piano. Turning to pop music, Bruce Johnston records the albums ‘Surfers’ Pajama Party’ (1962) and ‘Surfin’ Round The World’ (1963). In 1963 he works with Terry Melcher, the son of singer and actress Doris Day, in the duo Bruce And Terry. Their recordings are in the same genre as The Beach Boys. “Before I joined The Beach Boys, I was working at Columbia Records as a producer,” says Bruce Johnston. Although Johnston is part of the group, he is not credited or photographed with them until 1967.
On 29 June 1965 Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson marries Carole Freedman. Dennis adopts Carole’s son Scott from a previous relationship. Together, Dennis and Carole later have a daughter, Jennifer (born 1967).
‘Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)’ (1965) (US no. 2, UK no. 4) comes out in July. ‘Help Me Rhonda’ is rerecorded for this disc. ‘California Girls’ (US no. 3, UK no. 26, AUS no. 58) is one of the band’s finest works. It boasts ‘the loveliest intro in pop history’, a slow and gentle build to Brian Wilson’s tinkly – and very catchy – keyboard riff. The lyrics conclude, “I’ve been all around this great big world / And I’ve seen all kinds of girls / Yeah, but I couldn’t wait to get back in the States / Back to the cutest girls in the world.” Brian Wilson claims ‘California Girls’ is his favourite Beach Boys song. The Beach Boys record a cover version of ‘Then He Kissed Me’, a 1963 hit for The Crystals produced by Phil Spector, one of Brian Wilson’s great influences. Reinterpreted and retitled as ‘Then I Kissed Her’ (UK no. 4), The Beach Boys version has a lead vocal from bassist/guitarist Al Jardine. (‘Then I Kissed Her’ is released as a single in the U.K. in 1967.) ‘You’re So Good To Me’ (AUS no. 17) has Brian Wilson on the yelping lead vocal, perhaps because it is reputedly written for Brian’s wife, Marilyn.
‘The Little Girl I Once Knew’ (US no. 20, AUS no. 7) is a one-off Beach Boys single from October 1965. It mourns a girl who has grown up and away from the narrator. A solo composition by Brian Wilson, he shares the charming vocals in harmony with Mike Love and Carl Wilson. The song’s tinkling keyboards are offset by strong percussion. The ‘complex arrangement is full of stops and starts.’
‘Beach Boys’ Party’ (1965) (US no. 6, UK no. 3), released in November, is an unusual album. It is an intimate recording, sounding like it has been casually knocked out around a campfire with a number of vocal ad-libs. Despite the veneer of immediacy, there are suspicions that, in truth, it was ‘scrupulously rehearsed.’ The contents are nearly all cover versions, including songs by contemporaries like Bob Dylan and The Beatles. However, the album’s best known song is The Beach Boys’ version of ‘Barbara Ann’ (US no. 2, UK no. 3, AUS no. 2), a song originally recorded by The Regents in 1961. The lead vocals are shared by Brian Wilson and Dean Torrence (of Jan And Dean). According to legend, ‘Barbara Ann’ was recorded in a break and had not been intended for release. Brian says, “Half the people in the room were singing while the other half were munching on potato chips.”
On 3 February 1966 Carl Wilson marries Annie Hinsche. She is the sister of musician Billy Hinsche (vocals, guitar, piano) who is a frequent sideman for The Beach Boys. Carl and Annie go on to have two sons: Jonah (born 22 March 1969) and Justyn (born 18 October 1971).
Brian Wilson recalls that, “In December of 1965, I head the album ‘Rubber Soul’ (1965) by The Beatles. It was definitely a challenge for me.” In response, Brian masterminds The Beach Boys’ greatest album. ‘Pet Sounds’ (1966) (US no. 10, UK no. 2, AUS no. 42) is issued in May. Thematically, ‘Pet Sounds’ can be seen as ‘Brian’s search for love and acceptance.’ The morose tone of much of the material reflects the problems at the time between Brian and his wife, Marilyn. Brian’s eccentricity reaches new heights in 1966 when he has a sandbox installed in his living room so he can feel the sand beneath his feet without actually going to the beach. Most of ‘Pet Sounds’ is co-written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, a relatively new acquaintance from the world of advertising. Asher remembers that Brian gave him, “a pretty complete melody, partial lyrics and a kind of bridge and some other stuff…The general tenor of the lyrics was always his…I was really just his interpreter.” The first single is ‘Sloop John B’ (US no. 3, UK no. 2, AUS no. 17). It is brought to The Beach Boys by folk music fan Al Jardine and is a nautical West Indies tune dating back to 1927, though Al knows it from a version by American folk act The Kingston Trio in 1958. Brian Wilson gives it a new arrangement, heralded by a ticking clock keyboard introduction. Brian’s experience with L.S.D. gives a different subtext to the line, “This is the worst trip / I’ve ever been on.” The lead vocal is shared by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. (When released as a single, ‘Sloop John B’ is backed with ‘You’re So Good To Me’ from ‘Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)’.) The second single is ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ (US no. 8, AUS no. 2) b/w ‘God Only Knows’ (US no. 39, UK no. 2). In the U.K. ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ is the B side. Strange as it may seem, some U.S. radio stations ban ‘God Only Knows’ from airplay because it uses the word ‘God’ in the title. ‘God Only Knows’ is a lovely and moving piece with the heartbreaking sentiment, “If you should ever leave me / Though life would still go on, believe me / The world could show nothing to me / So what good would living do me?” Its cause is greatly aided by the ‘angelic’ lead vocal by guitarist Carl Wilson. ‘God Only Knows’ is co-written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher. ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ is co-written by the same duo with the addition of Mike Love. Brian and Mike share the lead vocals (Brian on the verses, Mike on the bridge). In contrast to ‘God Only Knows’, ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ is a bounding puppy of a song, its lyrics suggesting, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older / Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long,” as its youthful narrator serenades his equally young girlfriend. The closing track on the album is the nostalgic ‘Caroline, No’ (US no. 32) (“Where did your long hair go?”). It is co-written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher and Brian describes it as, “My favourite on the album, the prettiest ballad I’ve ever sung.” Capitol issues ‘Caroline, No’ as a solo single credited to Brian Wilson. The involvement of the other Beach Boys is fairly limited on ‘Pet Sounds’. “I did most of the singing on ‘Pet Sounds’ because I needed to directly express my feelings to people,” Brian explains. The backing tracks are recorded by session musicians under Brian’s direction; the three Wilson brothers play on ‘That’s Not Me’, but that’s the only exception. Brian claims that when he played the recording for the rest of The Beach Boys, “They all flipped for the tracks and the songs.” By other accounts, ‘they do not totally approve.’ This seems to be borne out by Mike Love’s reaction: “Who’s gonna hear this s***? The ears of a dog?” Well, two dogs anyway. Brian’s own hounds, Banana (a beagle) and Louie (a weimaraner), can be heard at the close of ‘Caroline, No’. Mike’s comment also inspires the album title, ‘Pet Sounds’. Capital Records too are uneasy about the finished product and consider not releasing the album at all. Brian Wilson does himself no favours when meeting with the label’s executives: “I showed up holding a tape player and eight pre-recorded, looped responses, including ‘no comment’, ‘can you repeat that?’, ‘no’ and ‘yes’. Refusing to utter a word, I played the various tapes when appropriate.” History views ‘Pet Sounds’ very favourably and Brian rightly says that, ”’Pet Sounds’ is by far my very best album.” However it sells poorly in comparison to The Beach Boys’ previous discs. Perhaps ‘Pet Sounds’ can say for itself – to borrow the title of one its tracks – ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’.
Capitol Records responds to slow sales on ‘Pet Sounds’ by promoting the compilation album ‘Best Of The Beach Boys’ (1966) (US no. 8, UK no. 2) in July. In the U.K., two more EPs are issued by The Beach Boys in 1966: ‘Hits’ (UK no. 1) and ‘God Only Knows’ (UK no. 3).
The Beach Boys October 1966 single ‘Good Vibrations’ (US no. 1, UK no. 1, AUS no. 1) is their finest individual song. It is their third U.S. no. 1 (on 10 December 1966) and their first U.K. no. 1 (from 19 November to 26 November 1966). Work had begun on ‘Good Vibrations’ during the sessions for ‘Pet Sounds’, but it takes six months to complete this ‘pocket symphony’, a process that makes it – at the time – the most expensive single ever made. ‘Good Vibrations’ features a fragile, piping lead vocal by guitarist Carl Wilson. The song is a full-fledged excursion into psychedelia. It incorporates a tidal wave of exotic instruments – wind chimes, sleigh bells, jew’s-harp, harpsichord, flutes, organ and a rapidly bowed bass. But the most distinctive element, the one that gives it a ‘science-fiction’ sound, is the theremin. This device looks like an aerial attached to a metal block. It is ‘played’ by moving a hand closer to the switched-on contraption, causing it to emit a metallic moan (“o-woo-oo”). ‘Good Vibrations’ is considered ‘one of the finest pop singles of all time.’
Murry Wilson – father of Brian, Dennis and Carl – issues his own instrumental album, ‘The Many Moods Of Murry Wilson’ (1967).
‘The Best Of The Beach Boys Vol. 2’ (1967) (US no. 50, UK no. 3) is issued by Capitol.
Brian Wilson sets to work on a new Beach Boys album to be called ‘Dumb Angel’. On this work he collaborates with lyricist Van Dyke Parks, a man with a reputation as ‘some kind of mysterious genius.’ The project morphs into ‘Smile’. It is simultaneously a ‘more humorous’ work and a weightier work designed to be Brian Wilson’s ‘crowning achievement’, a statement of his ‘artistic genius.’ Brian locks himself in the recording studio ‘recording, erasing, creating, and then destroying days and weeks of work.’ Finally, Capitol Records announces on 2 May 1967 that ‘Smile’ has been abandoned. ‘Smile’ is considered ‘the great lost Beach Boys album.’ Fragments of the project surface on subsequent Beach Boys albums. The whole mess seems attributable to Brian’s L.S.D. fuelled paranoia about trying to compete with The Beatles. When The Beatles release their masterwork, ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ (1967) in June, it is a severe blow to Brian Wilson. As he later concedes, “There’s no outdoing The Beatles.”
‘Smiley Smile’ (1967) (US no. 41, UK no. 9) is released in September. With Brian Wilson lapsing into depression, this is the first of a lengthy series of Beach Boys albums where the whole group is credited with the production duties. It is also the first disc on their customised Brother record label. Although they return to Capitol for their next release, Brother will later be reactivated. ‘Good Vibrations’ is included on ‘Smiley Smile’ as are a number of songs from the aborted ‘Smile’ project. The loopy ‘Heroes And Villains’ (US no. 12, UK no. 8, AUS no. 13), co-written by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, is issued as a single. Brian Wilson’s lead vocal competes with a complex musical arrangement. ‘Smiley Smile’ is considered ‘anti-climactic’.
‘Wild Honey’ (1967) (US no. 24, UK no. 7) is released in December. The Beach Boys retreat from psychedelia. The title track, ‘Wild Honey’ (US no. 31, UK no. 29, AUS no. 25), is a gritty piece of pseudo-Motown pop with guitarist Carl Wilson providing a suitably forceful vocal. Carl also takes the lead on ‘Darlin’’ (US no. 19, UK no. 11, AUS no. 28), a re-working of an unused Beach Boys song from 1964 called ‘Thinkin’ Bout You Baby’. Brian Wilson provides the lead vocal on this album’s ‘Here Comes The Night’, a song the group revisits years later. ‘Wild Honey’ is the first Beach Boys album to officially credit Bruce Johnston (keyboards) as part of the band.
Beach Boys guitarist Carl Wilson is almost drafted to serve in the Vietnam War in 1967. Professing to be a conscientious objector, Carl evades military service in exchange for performing ‘alternative service’ by putting on free musical shows at prisons and hospitals.
In December 1967 Beach Boys vocalist Mike Love begins studying transcendental meditation. Mike says that, “Meditation was a turning point for me.” He recalls that, “In the spring of 1968 [actually it is 16 February-19 April 1968], The Beatles and I were invited by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to travel to Rishikesh, India…The Maharishi taught us how to go beyond thinking and action in order to grow from within.”
On 14 January 1968 Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson divorces Carole Freedman.
In late spring 1968 Dennis Wilson picks up a pair of female hitchhikers, Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey. These girls tell him they are associates of an aspiring songwriter. Dennis meets with their friend and they co-write some material. This aspiring songwriter is Charles Manson. In August 1969 Manson and his ‘family’ of cultists become infamous for going on a murder spree that claims the lives of Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of movie director Roman Polanski, and Rosemary and Leno LaBianca.
Beginning on 3 May 1968, The Beach Boys go on a seventeen date tour of the United States. The second half of each show is a presentation by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on ‘spiritual regeneration.’ The response is so poor, half of the tour dates are cancelled. As Beach Boys keyboardist Bruce Johnston puts it, there was, “a time in 1968, believe it or not, when The Beach Boys drew [only] two hundred people in New York City.”
‘Friends’ (1968) (US no. 126, UK no. 13) is released in June. The title track, ‘Friends’ (US no. 47, UK no. 25), is co-written by Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson and Al Jardine. It’s a waltz-tempo plea for peace (“Let’s be friends”) with the lead vocal provided by Carl with support from Brian. The closing track is ‘Transcendental Meditation’ which is, strangely, ‘the most raucous and rocking cut on the album.’ Al Jardine takes the lead vocal and Mike Love contributes the honking saxophone. Al and Mike share songwriting credit with Brian Wilson. ‘Friends’ is The Beach Boys’ ‘first unequivocal failure’ and, accordingly, Brian Wilson’s interest in the band ‘begins to wane.’
‘The Best Of The Beach Boys Vol. 3’ (1968) (US no. 153, UK no. 9) ‘sinks like a stone, unable to even outperform “Friends”.’
Mike Love divorces his second wife, Suzanne Belcher, on 24 December 1968.
The final Beach Boys album for the 1960s is March’s ‘20/20’ (1969) (US no. 68, UK no. 3). ‘Do It Again’ (US no. 20, UK no. 1, AUS no. 1) is, as Brian Wilson says, “The best that I had come up with for this album…It was a primitive surf song that rocked in places.” Its lyric is nostalgic about The Beach Boys’ early, innocent hits: “It’s automatic when I talk of old times…” The disc contains three nods to earlier times: (i) Bruce Johnston exhumes Ersel Hickey’s 1958 hit ‘Bluebirds Over The Mountain’ (US no. 61, UK no. 33, AUS no. 90). It was originally intended as a solo single for Bruce but instead it is recorded by The Beach Boys, Bruce sharing lead vocals with Mike Love and Carl Wilson. (ii) Carl Wilson sings ‘I Can Hear Music’ (US no. 24, UK no. 10, AUS no. 10), a cover version of The Ronettes’ 1966 song. Like ‘Then I Kissed Her’, this is an old Phil Spector production revisited by The Beach Boys. (iii) Folk music fan Al Jardine sings The Beach Boys rendition of Leadbelly’s 1940 song ‘Cotton Fields’ (US no. 103, UK no. 5, AUS no. 1). Also of interest is ‘Cabinessence’, a leftover from the aborted ‘Smile’, with lead vocals by Carl Wilson – with an assist from Mike Love. Since it was slated for ‘Smile’, ‘Cabinessence’ is co-authored by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks. Another song, originally to be titled ‘Cease To Exist’ makes it to disc as ‘Never Learn Not To Love’. It is sung by Dennis Wilson and is now, officially, solely credited to him as songwriter. The reason for this is the co-author is the infamous Charles Manson.
Capitol Records drops The Beach Boys soon after the release of ‘20/20’. ‘Breakaway’ (US no. 63, UK no. 6, AUS no. 83) enters the U.S. singles charts in May 1969. It is a final single contractually obligated to Capitol. Lead vocals are shared by Carl Wilson, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson and Mike Love. ‘Breakaway’ is co-written by Brian Wilson and Reggie Dunbar – the latter is a pseudonym for Murry Wilson, Brian’s father. Al Jardine says of ‘Breakaway’, “I was really disappointed and frustrated by how this one ended up. We knew we had ninety per cent of a good record, but typical of his late 1960s mentality, Brian underproduced and undersold the ending of the record.”
In 1969 Brian Wilson opens his own health food store, ‘The Radiant Radish.’ Ultimately, the venture proves unprofitable and the store closes in 1971. One of the customers of the store is radio presenter Jack Rieley. He gets to know Brian and becomes The Beach Boys’ manager – and occasional lyricist – for the next few years.
The Beach Boys release a compilation album, ‘Greatest Hits’ (1970) (UK no. 5), and a concert album, ‘Live In London’ (1970) (US no. 75). The latter is issued in May.
Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson marries his second wife, Barbara Charren, on 4 August 1970. Dennis and Barbara go on to have two sons: Michael (born 19 February 1971) and Carl (born 31 December 1972).
In 1970 The Beach Boys reactivate their own Brother Records label, with the product to be distributed by Reprise Records. ‘Sunflower’ (1970) (US no. 151, UK no. 29), released in August, is the first fruit of this new arrangement. The disc is a favourite amongst some critics who view it as ‘their strongest album since “Pet Sounds”.’ Joe Knott co-writes the beatific ‘Add Some Music To Your Day’ (US no. 64) with Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Brian and Mike share lead vocals with Bruce Johnston, Carl Wilson and Al Jardine. Brian’s ‘This Whole World’ is sung by Carl. Bruce Johnston writes and sings the ‘romantic ballad’ ‘Tears In The Morning’. Regardless of the critical plaudits, ‘Sunflower’ ‘sells only a relatively small number of copies in the U.S.’
Brian Wilson makes a rare appearance on stage with The Beach Boys at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go in Los Angeles on 5 November 1970. However it proves disastrous. He suffers ‘severe damage’ to his hearing because of the volume.
Since Brian Wilson’s retirement from regular live performances in 1965, The Beach Boys have been augmented by various extra musicians for concert shows. This practice reaches a peak on 27 June 1971 at the Fillmore East in New York City. The nominally five-piece group shows up with thirteen musicians on stage. Two of the more interesting sidemen for The Beach Boys around this time are Daryl Dragon (keyboards) (1967-1973) and Toni Tenille (keyboards) (1972-1973). Later, as The Captain And Tenille this married couple has hits such as 1975’s ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’ and 1978’s ‘You Never Done It Like That’.
‘Surf’s Up’ (1971) (US no. 29, UK no. 15, AUS no. 32) is released in August. ‘Long Promised Road’ (US no. 89) is co-written by Beach Boys manager Jack Rieley and guitarist Carl Wilson. Carl provides the lead vocal and plays almost every instrument on the song. “Hit hard at the battle that’s confronting me, yeah / Knock down all the road blocks stumblin’ me / Throw off all the shackles that are binding me down,” urges Carl’s voice in a tear-inducing statement of resolve through pain. The title track, ‘Surf’s Up’, is salvaged from the ‘Smile’ sessions. Intended to be the centrepiece of ‘Smile’, ‘Surf’s Up’ had not been completed so it requires some work to be finished off for this disc. It is co-written by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks with lead vocals by Carl Wilson and Brian Wilson. Brian’s main new offering is ‘’Til I Die’. He is the sole author and shares the lead vocal with Carl Wilson and Mike Love. Bruce Johnston describes ‘’Til I Die’ as, “the last great Brian Wilson song.” Brian himself claims it is, “perhaps the most personal song I ever wrote for The Beach Boys.” Brian Wilson begins using cocaine during the sessions for ‘Surf’s Up’.
In January 1972 Mike Love marries his third wife, Tamara Fitch. The Beach Boys vocalist met Tamara through their mutual interest in transcendental meditation. Mike and Tamara go on to have a daughter, Summer (born January 1973).
Keyboardist Bruce Johnston leaves The Beach Boys in 1972. He was ‘at odds’ with Beach Boys manager Jack Rieley and felt ‘stifled in regard to his personal ambitions.’ ‘Surf’s Up’ is the last album on which Bruce Johnston appears. Bruce Johnston is the author of ‘I Write The Songs’ which becomes a hit for Barry Manilow in 1975. Brian Wilson is reputedly the subject of ‘I Write The Songs’. In 1976 Bruce Johnston marries Harriet Diamond. The couple go on to have four sons: Ozzie (born 1978), Justin, Ryan and Max. Bruce Johnston releases a solo album, ‘Going Public’ (1977).
During the sessions for ‘Surf’s Up’, Dennis Wilson ‘smashed a plate glass window and severely injured his right hand, forcing him to give up playing drums’ for a time. To fill this void, in March 1972 The Beach Boys add to their line-up drummer Ricky Fataar (born 5 December 1952 in Durban, South Africa). He comes from a black South African band called The Flame. Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys produced an album by The Flame, released on the Brother label in 1971. The group broke up during the making of a second album. In addition to Ricky Fataar, The Beach Boys also take on ‘the other half of The Flame’s creative axis’, guitarist Blondie Chaplin (born Terrence William Chaplin on 7 July 1951, he also comes from Durban, South Africa). Although The Beach Boys have employed many sidemen, aside from David Marks and Bruce Johnston, Fataar and Chaplin are the only people to join the founders as official members of The Beach Boys.
‘Carl And The Passions – So Tough’ (1972) (US no. 30, UK no. 25, AUS no. 42) is released in May. The title harks back to the group’s original name and acknowledges Carl Wilson as the current driving force of The Beach Boys. This is the first Beach Boys album to feature new members Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar. The best known song from this album is ‘Marcella’ (US no. 110), a song co-written by Brian Wilson, Jack Rieley and Tandyn Almer. Carl Wilson is the lead vocalist on this carefree slice of summer.
‘Holland’ (1973) (US no. 36, UK no. 20, AUS no. 37) is the title of next The Beach Boys album. The name is due to most of the disc being recorded in Holland, though some additional sessions take place in Los Angeles to finish the album. The disc is released in January. Reprise Records has some doubts about the album and only authorises its release after an additional song is provided. The Beach Boys creative wellspring Brian Wilson ‘refused to work on anything but a twelve-minute children’s fantasy called “Mount Vernon And Fairway” [which is included as a bonus EP].’ Van Dyke Parks, working for Reprise’s parent company, Warner Brothers, forces Brian to complete a song the eldest of the Wilson brothers has been chipping away at with a variety of collaborators. “Hypnotise me into thinking that I’m not insane! Convince me I’m not insane!” the fragile Brian pleads with Parkes. The result – the additional song – is ‘Sail On Sailor’ (US no. 49) and it is the first single from ‘Holland’. ‘Sail On Sailor’ is attributed to five songwriters: Brian Wilson, Tandyn Almer, Van Dyke Parks, Ray Kennedy and Jack Rieley. After Dennis Wilson’s attempt at a lead vocal proves ‘unsuccessful’, Blondie Chaplin is the lead singer on the finished version. Carl Wilson sings ‘The Trader’, a song he co-writes with the group’s manager, Jack Rieley. It ‘condemns the treatment Native Americans have received at the hands of traders and settlers.’ The album also includes the ambitious three-part ‘California Saga’. The final section is released as the single ‘California Saga (On My Way To Sunny Californ-I-A)’ (US no. 84, UK no. 37). This folk-flavoured tune is written by Al Jardine with a lead vocal from Mike Love.
On 4 June 1973 Murry Wilson, the patriarch of the Wilson clan, dies of a heart attack. The demise of the man who was both his inspiration and his nemesis throws the already troubled Brian Wilson into a tailspin. For the next two years, Brian is a virtual recluse. His weight balloons due to over-eating. He engages in all manner of ‘self-destructive behaviour’, indulging in alcohol and drugs.
A live album, ‘The Beach Boys In Concert’ (1973) (US no. 25, AUS no. 29) is issued in November.
The Beach Boys’ manager Jack Rieley exits late in 1973. Blondie Chaplin also leaves at the same time. The singer and guitarist goes on to release two solo albums, ‘Blondie Chaplin’ (1977) and ‘Between Us’ (2006). Chaplin’s long-time confederate Ricky Fataar stays on with The Beach Boys a bit longer, but in 1974 he also leaves the group. Ricky Fataar is part of The Rutles in 1978, a Beatles satire put together by Eric Idle (of the Monty Python comedy team). Fataar also produces ‘Escapade’ (1983), the first solo album by Tim Finn of Split Enz.
Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson divorces his second wife, Barbara Charren, in August 1974.
The Beach Boys score their first U.S. no. 1 album with ‘Endless Summer’ (1974) (US no. 1, AUS no. 23). The only catch is that this is a compilation of their earlier hits and ‘consists entirely of tracks cut before 1965.’ The album ‘capitalises on a growing fascination with oldies rock.’ It is followed by further such collections of the group’s past glories, ‘Spirit Of America’ (1975) (US no. 8, AUS no. 79), ‘Good Vibrations – The Best Of The Beach Boys’ (1975) (US no. 25) and ’20 Golden Greats’ (1976) (UK no. 1, AUS no. 26).
The renewed interest in The Beach Boys also brings with it a desire to get back to the good old days. The public wants to know what has happened to Brian Wilson. In October 1975 Brian’s wife Marilyn and the Wilson family engage the services of Dr Eugene Landy to help Brian. Landy is a controversial figure. He is described as a ‘radical therapist’ and ‘a dodgy psychiatrist.’ Landy puts Brian ‘on a course of therapeutic songwriting’ and ‘dramatic drug rehabilitation.’ This serves two needs: The Beach Boys’ commercial fortunes and Brian’s mental health.
On 21 May 1976 Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson marries his third wife, Karen Lamm. She is the ex-wife of Robert Lamm, the keyboardist and main songwriter of the brassy U.S. rock band called Chicago. Dennis and Karen have a volatile relationship. They divorce on 19 September 1977, remarry in July 1978, split two weeks later, and the (second) divorce becomes final in June 1980.
Karen Lamm is not the only link between The Beach Boys and Chicago in this era. James William Guercio, who was the mentor and producer of Chicago, acts as The Beach Boys’ manager in the mid-1970s. He also occasionally plays bass with The Beach Boys on tour.
Brian Wilson appears on stage with The Beach Boys once again in a concert at the Oakland Stadium on 2 July 1976. Although this is seen as a big step forward for Brian, it is worrying that ‘he sits virtually motionless at his piano throughout the show.’
’15 Big Ones’ (1976) (US no. 8, UK no. 31, AUS no. 17), released in July, is accompanied ‘by a massive promotional campaign heralding Brian Wilson’s return to a more active role in the group.’ Brian sings, writes and ‘directs’ as well as assuming the role of sole producer for the first time since ‘Pet Sounds’ (1966). The album’s title, ’15 Big Ones’, refers both to the number of songs on the disc and the age of the band. The album includes a number of cover versions of rhythm and blues oldies. The most successful track commercially is The Beach Boys’ take on the 1957 Chuck Berry song ‘Rock And Roll Music’ (US no. 5, UK no. 36, AUS no. 35) with Mike Love on lead vocals. Also present is ‘It’s O.K.’ (US no. 29), ‘a fun, unpretentious rocker’, and Al Jardine’s ‘Susie Cincinnati’, a song that first appeared as the B side to ‘Add Some Music To Your Day’ in 1970 and had not previously been included on a Beach Boys album. Despite the hype, ’15 Big Ones’ ‘fails to convince anyone that The Beach Boys are not still well and truly lost in the sandbox.’
Dr Eugene Landy is dismissed in December 1976 – but he will return to Brian Wilson’s life in the future.
‘The Beach Boys Love You’ (1977) (US no. 53, UK no. 28, AUS no. 90), issued in April, has perhaps a greater claim to being Brian Wilson’s comeback album than its predecessor. Brian produces the disc, plays most of the instruments, handles some lead vocals and writes eleven of the fourteen tracks. ‘Honkin’ Down The Highway’ is ‘a mid-tempo rocker’ written by Brian Wilson with a lead vocal by guitarist/bassist Al Jardine. Brian regards this as his favourite Beach Boys album.
Beach Boys singer Mike Love divorces his third wife, Tamara Fitch, in 1977. Over the next few years, Mike is romantically linked to the likes of Sue Oliver/Damon and Sharon Lee but, contrary to some accounts, he does not marry them.
Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson releases a solo album, ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ (1977) (US no. 96, UK no. 16), in August.
A Beach Boys concert in New York’s Central Park on 1 September 1977 is notable for an internal row that follows the show. The group divides into two factions: Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson versus Mike Love and Al Jardine. Brian Wilson attempts to maintain neutrality. The same month, The Beach Boys nearly break up due to ‘personal differences between several members.’
The Beach Boys retreat to the Maharishi International University (M.I.U.) in Fairfield, Iowa. It is here that they write and record the ‘M.I.U. Album’ (1978) (US no. 151, AUS no. 70), issued in October. The disc is co-produced by guitarist/bassist Al Jardine and Ron Altbach, a pianist/arranger from The Beach Boys’ touring band. The highlights of the album are two vintage rockers, Buddy Holly’s ‘Peggy Sue’ (US no. 59, AUS no. 97) from 1957 and The Del-Vikings’ ‘Come Go With Me’ from 1956, both with Al Jardine on lead vocals in The Beach Boys’ interpretations. (Note: ‘Come Go With Me’ is not released as a single by The Beach Boys until 1981.)
Keyboardist Bruce Johnston re-joins The Beach Boys in September 1978.
Brian Wilson and his wife Marilyn divorce in January 1979.
In the late 1970s, ‘financial mismanagement by Mike Love’s brothers Stan and Steve fosters tension between him and the Wilsons.’ At one point, things get so bad Mike Love and Dennis Wilson are subject to a mutual restraining order preventing them from physically provoking each other.
The Beach Boys’ next effort is ‘L.A. (Light Album)’ (1979) (US no. 100, UK no. 32, AUS no. 70), released in March. This is The Beach Boys’ first album on the Caribou label, a subsidiary of CBS. Production credit is shared between Bruce Johnston, The Beach Boys and James William Guercio (who is also Caribou’s president). ‘Here Comes The Night’ (US no. 44, UK no. 37, AUS no. 90), a song from ‘Wild Honey’ (1967), is revisited and given a disco rhythm. Brian Wilson sang the track in its original incarnation, but now the vocal is shared by Carl Wilson and Mike Love. ‘Good Timin’’ (US no. 40) is salvaged from the sessions for ’15 Big Ones’ (1976) and completed for this album. The song is co-written by Brian Wilson and Carl Wilson with a vocal by Carl, but it is Bruce Johnston who sees the value of the song and champions its inclusion. ‘Sumahama’, a far-east infused song written and sung by Mike Love, was originally planned for a solo album by Love. ‘Lady Lynda’ (UK no. 6, AUS no. 54), co-written by Al Jardine and Ron Altbach with a lead vocal by Al, is a song written for Al Jardine’s wife, Lynda Sperry.
‘It’s A Beautiful Day’ (UK no. 45) is a 1979 Beach Boys single that is not included on any of their albums of new material. It is from the soundtrack to the movie ‘Americathon’ (1979). ‘It’s A Beautiful Day’ is co-written by Mike Love and Al Jardine.
From 1979 to 1981 Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson is in a romantic relationship with fellow rock star Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac.
‘Keepin’ The Summer Alive’ (1980) (US no. 75, UK no. 54, AUS no. 64) is issued in March. The album’s best known track is ‘Goin’ On’ (US no. 83). Co-written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love as a samba, it is rearranged by the disc’s producer Bruce Johnston into a more conventional rock song. “Bruce turned it into what I would consider a more potentially commercial song,” Brian allows. Mike Love shares the lead vocal with Carl Wilson.
Carl Wilson’s marriage to Annie Hinsche comes to an end in 1980.
Dennis Wilson is in a bad way. From 1980 to 1983 he ‘abuses alcohol and heroin.’ His girlfriend at the time is Carolyn Williams, who is a nurse. Her medical connections are exploited by Dennis.
‘The Beach Boys Medley’ (US no. 12, UK no. 47, AUS no. 16) is a 1981 single that fuses together parts of some of their most popular songs. In the wake of that single’s success, ‘Come Go With Me’ (US no. 18) (from ‘M.I.U. Album’ (1978)) is released as a single. A compilation album, ‘Ten Years Of Harmony’ (1981) (US no. 156), is also issued.
Beach Boys guitarist Carl Wilson quits the band in July 1981 because he feels they have too much of a focus on nostalgia. He puts out a solo album, ‘Carl Wilson’ (1981) (US no. 185).
Beach Boys vocalist Mike Love releases his only solo album, ‘Looking Back With Love’ (1981). The contents are a mix of cover versions of pop standards and some originals.
Mike Love marries his fourth wife, Cathy Linda Martinez, on 17 September 1981. She is a part-time print model. They have a son, Michael II (born 1981). The marriage proves fairly short-lived. Mike and Cathy split up in 1982.
Another compilation album, ‘Sunshine Dream’ (1982) (US no. 180), is released by The Beach Boys.
In May 1982 guitarist Carl Wilson returns to The Beach Boys. It is fourteen months since he left the group.
Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson begins a romantic relationship with Shawn Marie Love. It is only after they fall in love that Dennis learns that Shawn is the illegitimate daughter of Beach Boys vocalist – and Dennis’ first cousin – Mike Love. Dennis and Shawn have a son, Gage (born 3 September 1982).
In 1982 Beach Boys supremo Brian Wilson finds himself in debt and owing money to the taxation authorities. Dr Eugene Landy is brought back in to Brian’s life on 5 November 1982. Brian is a manic-depressive with a schizoaffective disorder (he hears disembodied voices).
Carl Wilson releases his second and final solo album, ‘Youngblood’ (1983).
Al Jardine, The Beach Boys’ guitarist/bassist, divorces Lynda Sperry in 1983. Al marries Mary Ann Helmandollar on 24 March 1983. They have twin sons, Andrew and Robbie (born 8 May 1986).
‘The Very Best Of The Beach Boys’ (1983) (UK no. 1, AUS no. 8) is another repackaging of the band’s heritage.
Dennis Wilson marries Shawn Marie Love, the mother of his son Gage, on 28 July 1983. Despite the fact that she is the daughter of Dennis’ first cousin Mike Love, the marriage is legal. Allegedly, for Dennis, the marriage ‘caps off…the hatred he’d felt for Mike, since the early Beach Boys days.’ In 1983, Dennis Wilson is ‘banned’ from The Beach Boys. He separates from Shawn. (Note: Shawn Marie Love dies in September 2003 of liver cancer. She was 38.) By November, Dennis is homeless. He checks into a therapy centre in Arizona – but only for two days.
On 28 December 1983 Dennis Wilson drowns in the harbour at Marina del Rey, California, where he was diving in an empty boat slip. There is speculation that Dennis ‘may have been drinking shortly before his death’, otherwise it seems unlikely that a strong swimmer such as he would have fallen victim to such a fate. Dennis Wilson was 59 years old. He is buried at sea. Although The Beach Boys use a variety of drummers in subsequent years, none of them officially replace Dennis Wilson in the group.
Unsurprisingly, it takes a while for the group to put together another album, the self-titled ‘The Beach Boys’ (1985) (US no. 52, UK no. 60, AUS no. 67). Released in June, the album is produced by Steve Levine. The best known track is ‘Getcha Back’ (US no. 26, UK no. 97, AUS no. 81), co-written by Mike Love and Terry Melcher, Bruce Johnston’s former musical partner in Bruce And Terry. Mike shares lead vocals on this song with Brian Wilson. The disc is also home to ‘It’s Getting’ Late’ (US no. 82), sung by Carl Wilson. Carl co-writes the song with Myrna Smith-Schilling and Robert White Johnson. Myrna Smith-Schilling co-wrote songs on Carl’s two solo albums.
After ‘The Beach Boys’, Caribou/CBS drops the group in 1986. Capitol Records puts together ‘Made In The U.S.A.’ (1986) (US no. 96, AUS no. 67), a collection of twenty-five songs spanning the career of The Beach Boys. The disc also includes two new songs. The nostalgic ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll To The Rescue’ (US no. 68, AUS no. 79) is co-written by Mike Love and Terry Melcher, the lead vocal is by Brian Wilson with some support from Al Jardine and Carl Wilson. A cover version of ‘California Dreamin’’ (US no. 57) is the other new track. It was originally a hit for The Mamas And The Papas in 1965 and was written by John Phillips and Michelle Gilliam of that vocal quartet. It is Al Jardine who suggests The Beach Boys perform a version of the song. Al shares lead vocals with Carl Wilson on The Beach Boys’ interpretation. With Roger McGuinn of The Byrds playing guitar on the track, it is something of a summit meeting of 1960s legends.
In 1986 Brian Wilson meets Melinda Kae Ledbetter, a car saleswoman and former model. Brian and Melinda date for a while until Dr Eugene Landy intervenes. Brian’s mental health mentor apparently disapproves of the association.
On 8 November 1987 Beach Boys guitarist Carl Wilson marries his second wife, Gina Martin. She is the daughter of singer and actor Dean Martin and his wife, Jeanne Martin.
Brian Wilson releases his first full-fledged solo album, ‘Brian Wilson’ (1988) (US no. 54), in July. The disc is described as being ‘as good and idiosyncratic as anything since ‘Friends’ (1968).’ Although the single ‘Love And Mercy’ is not a hit on the charts, it is the best of Brian’s latter-day works.
Beach Boys singer Mike Love has a son, Brian (born 8 August 1988), by his girlfriend Jacqueline Piesen.
In November 1988 The Beach Boys unexpectedly score their fourth and final U.S. no. single, twenty-two years after their last U.S. no. 1, ‘Good Vibrations’, in 1966. The song is ‘Kokomo’ (US no. 1, UK no. 25, AUS no. 1). It comes from the soundtrack to the movie ‘Cocktail’ (1988) starring Tom Cruise. When it comes to summery, tropical songs, The Beach Boys are made for the job. Mike Love shares the lead vocals with Carl Wilson. The track is co-written by Mike, Terry Melcher (who also produces the song), John Phillips from The Mamas And The Papas, and Scott McKenzie for whom Phillips wrote the hit ‘San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)’ in 1967. Mike Love claims most of the credit for ‘Kokomo’ and certainly states that he wrote most of the lyrics.
The Beach Boys’ next album, ‘Still Cruisin’’ (1989) (US no. 46, AUS no. 10), is released by Capitol in August. Production duties are shared between Brian Wilson, Terry Melcher, Al Jardine, Albert Calbrera and Tony Moran. ‘Kokomo’ is included on this album. The title track, ‘Still Cruisin’’ (US no. 93, UK no. 78, AUS no. 28), attempts to repeat the formula of ‘Kokomo’. It is written by Terry Melcher and Mike Love. The vocals on the song are shared around amongst Mike Love, Carl Wilson, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston. ‘Still Cruisin’’ is used in the soundtrack for the movie ‘Lethal Weapon 2’ (1989). Inevitably, the song is not as successful as ‘Kokomo’, but is still more potent than expected. ‘Still Cruisin’’ is The Beach Boys’ last hit single.
Displaying new independence, Brian Wilson splits from Dr Eugene Landy’s supervision in 1989. Although their medical association is over, Landy lingers on as Brian’s ‘business partner’ until around 1992.
‘Summer Dreams – 28 Classic Tracks’ (1990) (UK no. 2, AUS no. 10) revisits The Beach Boys’ most successful songs.
In 1990 Brian Wilson’s daughters Carnie and Wendy join John and Michelle Phillips’ daughter Chynna (pronounced like China) as the vocal trio Wilson Phillips. The three children from the creative forces behind The Beach Boys and The Mamas And The Papas have a hit with song called ‘Hold On’.
Brian Wilson, freed from Dr Landy’s influence, begins dating Melanie Ledbetter again in 1992.
The Beach Boys’ album ‘Summer In Paradise’ (1992) (AUS no. 53) is issued in August on their own Brother label – but that seems to be a one-time only arrangement. The disc is produced by Terry Melcher. Perhaps the most notable track is a cover version of the 1969 Sly And The Family Stone song ‘Hot Fun In The Summertime’ with Mike Love and Carl Wilson sharing the lead vocal.
On 29 April 1994 Beach Boys vocalist Mike Love marries Jacqueline Piesen. They are already the parents of a son, Brian (born 8 August 1988), but go on to have a daughter as well, Ambha (born 4 January 1996). Jacqueline Piesen is Mike’s sixth wife and Ambha is his ninth child.
On 6 February 1995 Brian Wilson marries his second wife, Melinda Ledbetter. As well as becoming Brian’s wife, Melinda Ledbetter acts as his manager. Brian and Melinda adopt five children: two girls, Daria Rose and Delanie Rae, in 1998; a boy named Dylan in 2004; a boy named Dash Tristan in 2009; and a girl named Dakota Rose in 2010.
In a way that was almost inconceivable earlier, Brian Wilson gets himself together. However he chooses to direct his energies more towards solo albums, that are critically well received, rather than Beach Boy’s recordings. In August, Brian Wilson releases a solo album, ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’ (1995) (UK no. 59). ‘Orange Crate Art’ (1995), issued in October, is a collaboration between Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks.
‘The Best Of The Beach Boys’ (1995) (US no. 101) and ‘The Greatest Hits – Vol. 1, 20 Good Vibrations’ (1995) (US no. 95) are both Beach Boys compilation albums.
‘Stars And Stripes Vol. 1’ (1996) (US no. 101) is a Beach Boys album released on the River North label in August. The disc is co-produced by Joe Thomas and Brian Wilson. This project consists of fresh recordings of The Beach Boys’ old hits with country musicians and arrangements in a country and western style.
Audree Wilson, the matriarch of the Wilson clan, passes away in December 1997. Two months later, her youngest child, Carl Wilson, passes away on 6 February 1998. He was 51 years old. A smoker since he was 13, Carl Wilson dies as a result of lung cancer.
After Carl Wilson’s death, The Beach Boys fracture. Mike Love and Bruce Johnston recall former member David Marks and tour as America’s Band for a while before resuming the name of The Beach Boys.
Some time prior to 1993, David Marks married. His wife’s name is Carrie Anne. He recorded a solo album, ‘Work Tapes’ (1992).
David Marks leaves The Beach Boys again in 1999. His health is suffering due to the effects of hepatitis C. David Marks records another two solo albums, ‘Something Funny Goin’ On’ (2003) and ‘I Think About You Often’ (2006).
A steady stream of compilation albums keep The Beach Boys musical legacy available to the public. The albums issued over the next few years include: ‘Greatest Hits’ (1998) (UK no. 28), ‘The Greatest Hits Vol. 2 – More Good Vibrations’ (1999) (US no. 192), ‘Greatest Hits Vol. 3 – Best Of The Brother Years 1970-1986’ (2000) [a.k.a. ‘The Best Of The Beach Boys 1970-1986 The Brother Years’ (2000)], ‘The Very Best Of The Beach Boys’ (2001) (UK no. 34), ‘Classics Selected By Brian Wilson’ (2002) (US no. 159, UK no. 112), ‘Sounds Of Summer – The Very Best Of The Beach Boys’ (2003) (US no. 16, UK no. 46, AUS no. 37), ‘The Platinum Collection (Sounds Of Summer Edition)’ (2005) (UK no. 30), ‘The Warmth Of The Sun’ (2007) (US no. 40), ‘The Smile Sessions’ (2011) (US no. 27, UK no. 25) and ’50 Big Ones: Greatest Hits’ (2012) (US no. 116, UK no. 30).
Brian Wilson releases the following solo albums: ‘Imagination’ (1998) (US no. 68, UK no. 30); ‘Live At The Roxy Theatre’ (2000) (UK no. 199); ‘Gettin’ In Over My Head’ (2004) (US no. 100, UK no. 53) in June; ‘Brian Wilson Presents “Smile”’ (2004) (US no. 13, UK no. 7) in September; ‘What I Really Want For Christmas’ (2005) (US no. 200); ‘That Lucky Old Sun’ (2008) (US no. 21, UK no. 37); ‘Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin’ (2010) (US no. 26, UK no. 55); ‘In The Key Of Disney’ (2011) (US no. 83, UK no. 190); and ‘Pet Sounds Live’ (2012) (UK no. 107).
Al Jardine is joined by Brian Wilson’s daughters Carnie and Wendy in a touring act called The Beach Boys Family And Friends…until legal rights are asserted to prevent him using The Beach Boys name. In 2006 Al Jardine tries again with an act called Endless Summer Band, but this just leads to more legal hassles. Al Jardine releases a solo album, ‘A Postcard From California’ (2010).
With The Beach Boys fiftieth anniversary upon them, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston and David Marks reunite as The Beach Boys on 16 December 2011. They record a new album, ‘That’s Why God Made The Radio’ (2012) (US no. 3, UK no. 15, AUS no. 31), released in June by Capitol. Two of the better known tracks from the disc are ‘That’s Why God Made The Radio’ and ‘Isn’t It Time’. Both are written cooperatively by a number of authors. ‘That’s Why God Made The Radio’ is credited to Brian Wilson, Joe Thomas, Larry Millas and Jim Peterik with a lead vocal by Brian. ‘Isn’t It Time’ is written by Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Joe Thomas, Larry Millas and Jim Peterik; the lead vocals are shared by Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine, Mike Love and Jeff Foskett.
By September 2012, The Beach Boys is again just Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and a bunch of hired hands. It is alleged that Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks were ‘fired’ by Love. Mike retorts, “I didn’t fire Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys. I cannot fire Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys. I am not his employer. I do not have such authority, and even if I did, I would never fire Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys.” ‘50th Anniversary Tour’ (2013) (US no. 94) commemorates the short-lived reunion.
Brian Wilson issues the solo album ‘No Pier Pressure’ (2015) (US no. 28, UK no. 25) in April.
It seems that Bruce Johnston quietly separated from his wife Harriet Diamond sometime around 2011. It is rumoured that he secretly marries another woman on 12 December 2015.
Despite his history of mental health issues, Brian Wilson guided The Beach Boys to become one of the greatest bands in rock history. It is fair to say that their reputation is based primarily on their 1960s output; their ‘post 1966 material is often maligned’, though it also held intermittent charms. The Beach Boys purveyed ‘the most intricate, gorgeous harmonies ever heard from a pop band.’ They ‘propagated their own variant on the American dream, painting a dazzling picture of beaches, parties and endless summers, a paradise of escape into private as often as shared pleasures. Yet by the late 1960s, the band was articulating, with less success, a disenchantment with that suburban ethos, and a search for transcendence.’
- wikipedia.org as at 30 November 2015
- ‘Friday On My Mind’ – Ed Nimmervoll (Five Mile Press, 2004) p. 51, 67
- ‘Rock Stars’ by Timothy White (Columbus Books, 1984) p. 90, 93, 96, 97
- ‘The History Of Rock’ by Mark Paytress (Parragon Books, 2011) p. 55
- ‘Good Vibrations – The Life & Times of The Beach Boys – Pt.1’ video documentary (Arena) (29 March 2015?)
- brainyquote.com as at 3 December 2015
- Internet Movie Database – imdb.com – as at 4 December 2015
- mountvernonandfairway.de as at 13 December 2015
- Notable Names Database – nndb.com – as at 2 December 2015
- ‘The Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock’ by Nick Logan, Bob Woffinden (Salamander Books, 1978) p.22, 23, 24, 99, 116, 177
- ‘Rolling Stone Rock Almanac’ by the Editors of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (Papermac, 1984) p. 65, 79, 90, 102, 103, 121, 122, 123, 130, 131, 144, 146, 178, 187, 215, 158, 361
- ‘Awopbopaloobop’ by Nik Cohn, via 10 (above), p. 22
- ‘The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time’ – ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (February 2004) p. 33
- ‘The Illustrated Rock Handbook’ edited by Roxanne Streeter, Ray Bonds (Salamander Books, 1983) p. 18, 19
- allmusic.com, ‘The Beach Boys’ by John Bush as at 2 December 2015
- famousflix.com, whosdatedwho.com as at 2 December 2015
- Summer Dreams’ – Sleeve notes by Peter Doggett (EMI Records Ltd., 1990) p. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
- ‘The Rolling Stone Illustrated History Of Rock And Roll’, ‘Phil Spector’ by Nik Cohn, ‘The Beach Boys’ by Jim Miller (Plexus Publishing Limited, 1992) p 188, 192, 194, 196, 197
- angelfire.com, ‘Biography – Al Jardine’ (no author credited) as at 12 December 2015
- smileysmile.net – Post by Andrew G. Doe (23 January 2011)
- ‘Beach Boys Timeline – March 1965’ – btinternet.com/~bellagio/1965.html as at 4 December 2015
- wikipedia.org (Spanish language version) as at 4 December 2015
- ‘Pet Sounds’ – Sleeve notes by David Leaf (Capitol Records Inc., 2001 reissue) p. 7, 8, 9, 15
- google.com as at 12 December 2015
- astro.com as at 9 December 2015
- ‘Pet Sounds’ – Sleeve notes by Brian Wilson (Capitol Records Inc., 2001 reissue) p. 5
- ‘Pet Sounds’ – Sleeve notes by Mark Linnett (Capitol Records Inc., 2001 reissue) p. 18, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27
- ‘Friends / 20/20’ Double CD – Sleeve notes by David Leaf (Capitol Records Inc., 1990 reissue) p. 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 16, 17, 20
- danaddington.com as at 18 December 2015
- ‘The Love You Make – An Insider’s Story of The Beatles’ by Peter Brown, Steven Gaines (Pan Books, 1984) p. 249-254
- ‘Friends / 20/20’ Double CD – Sleeve notes by Brian Wilson (Capitol Records Inc., 1990 reissue) p. 22
- ‘The Best Of The Beach Boys: 1970-1986 – The Brother Years’ – Sleeve notes by Brad Elliott (Brother Records / Capitol Records, Inc., 2000) p. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
- famousbirthdays.com/people/bruce-johnston.html as at 13 December 2015
- ‘The Beach Boys FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About America’s Band’ by John Stebbins (Backbeat Books, 2011) via books/google.com.au
- mediamass.net as at 13 December 2015
Song lyrics copyright J Albert And Son with the exceptions of ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ (Nightlight Music), ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ (Festival Music) and ‘Long Promised Road’ (Brother Records)
Last revised 13 January 2016