The Beach Boys

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Posted by kaori 03/26/2009 @ 23:11

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News headlines
Lake Michigan surfing: Imagine what it could do to Chicago - Chicago Tribune
--More reruns of "Baywatch" and more airplay for the lesser songs from the Beach Boys catalog. Name one Beach Boys song with "surf" in it that you're not tired of. --Suburban dads dusting off long-dormant (and never proficient) imitations of Jeff...
Decision against Beach Boys expected today - Solomon Star
THE Honiara Beach Soccer disciplinary committee will hand down their decision against Beach Boys club for assaulting a referee after a game recently. Beach soccer games were suspended last week after the referees boycotted all the matches in protest...
Beach Boys still have plenty of life - Peoria Journal Star
By PHIL LUCIANO Summer arrived a bit early Thursday as the Beach Boys brought their surf-cars-girls time machine to Peoria. They were greeted by a near sell-out crowd of just under 2000 at the Civic Center Theater. Most of the turn-out was old enough...
Quick Hits & Clips: Blessthefall, Bloodhorse, Beach Boys, Freeland ... - Plug In music
The Beach Boys are set to release "Summer Love Songs" on May 19th. This collection features "Fallin' In Love," a song written and recorded by Dennis Wilson during the Beach Boys' Sunflower album sessions in 1970. The track has never before been...
Family of slain Pahokee football star suing Boys and Girls Club ... - Palm Beach Post
The dance was hosted by The Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County. One young man, Carl Booth, sits in jail awaiting trial in Griffith's death. Another young man, Willie Felton, was also arrested for the crime, but is now out while prosecutors decide...
Pendleton marketing campaign marks anniversary - KTVZ
Back then a California band, the Pendletones, would set the sound for a generation. they later changed their name to The Beach Boys. The Pendleton East Oregonian said surfers used to wear the shirts as a jacket to keep off the chill during nights on...
Beach Boys - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By Daniel Durchholz It's not often you see beach balls bouncing around Powell Symphony Hall or patrons wearing Hawaiian shirts, shorts and flip-flops. But that was the scene Wednesday night as the Beach Boys performed as part of the St. Louis Symphony...
Myrtle Beach boys tennis advances - Myrtle Beach Sun News
HILTON HEAD ISLAND -- The Myrtle Beach Seahawks boys tennis team got the best of its Hilton Head counterpart in the Class AAA playoffs once again. Myrtle Beach beat the Hilton Head Seahawks 4-3 on Tuesday in the second round of the playoffs,...
'Law of Attraction' author to visit Louisville church - Louisville Courier-Journal
By Katya Cengel • • May 18, 2009 Good vibrations are not just for fans of the Beach Boys. They are also for "law of attraction" enthusiasts, people who believe that the vibes you give off create the energy around you....
When the Beach Boys visit, summer can't be far - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By Kevin C. Johnson When next week's Beach Boys concert at Powell Hall was first announced, bloggers had a field day denouncing the event. How could there be a Beach Boys concert, they questioned, without a Wilson in the lineup?...

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys with President Ronald and First Lady Nancy Reagan, 1983

The Beach Boys are an American rock band. Formed in 1961, the group gained popularity for its close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting a California youth culture of cars and surfing. Brian Wilson's growing creative ambitions later transformed them into a more artistically innovative group that earned critical praise and influenced many later musicians.

The group initially comprised singer-musician-composer Brian Wilson, his brothers, Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. This core quintet, along with early member David Marks and later bandmate Bruce Johnston, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 1988. The Beach Boys have often been called "America's Band", and has stated that "the band's unerring ability... made them America's first, best rock band." The group has had thirty-six U.S. Top 40 hits (the most of any U.S. rock band) and fifty-six Hot 100 hits, including four number one singles. Rolling Stone magazine listed The Beach Boys as one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. According to Billboard, in terms of singles and album sales, The Beach Boys are the No. 1-selling American band of all time.

Many changes in both musical styles and personnel have occurred during their career, notably because of Brian Wilson's mental illness and drug use (leading to his eventual withdrawal from the group) and the deaths of Dennis and Carl Wilson in 1983 and 1998, respectively. Extensive legal battles between members of the group have also played their part. After the death of Carl Wilson, founding member Al Jardine was ousted by fellow-founding member Mike Love. As of 2008, The Beach Boys continue to tour, with a lineup of Love, Johnston and a backing band of new musicians. Love retained the rights to the Beach Boys name after a legal dispute. Al Jardine and Brian Wilson also continue to tour with their own respective backing bands, as of 2008. All three groups continue to play Beach Boys hits.

Brian Wilson was born in Hawthorne, California in 1942. At the age of sixteen, Brian shared a bedroom with his two brothers, Dennis and Carl. He watched his father, Murry Wilson, play piano and listened intently to the harmonies of vocal groups like The Four Freshmen. One night he taught his brothers a song called "Ivory Tower" and how to sing the background harmonies. "We practiced night after night, singing softly, hoping we wouldn't wake our Dad." For his sixteenth birthday, Brian had received a reel-to-reel tape recorder. He learned how to overdub, using his vocals and those of Carl and his mother. He would play piano and later added Carl playing the Rickenbacker guitar he got as a Christmas present.

Soon Brian was avidly listening to Johnny Otis on his KFOX radio show, a favorite station of Carl's. Inspired by the simple structure and vocals of the rhythm and blues songs he heard, he changed his piano-playing style and started writing songs. His enthusiasm interfered with his music studies at school. He failed to complete a twelfth-grade piano sonata, but did submit an original composition, called "Surfin'".

Family gatherings brought the Wilsons in contact with cousin Mike Love. Brian taught Love's sister Maureen and a friend harmonies. Later, Brian, Mike and two friends performed at Hawthorne High School (Hawthorne, California), drawing tremendous applause for their version of The Olympics' (doo-wop group) "Hully Gully". Brian also knew Al Jardine, a high school classmate, who had already played guitar in a folk group called The Islanders. One day, on the spur of the moment, they asked a couple of football players in the school training room to learn harmony parts, but it wasn't a success — the bass singer was flat.

Brian suggested to Jardine that they team up with his cousin and brother Carl. It was at these sessions, held in Brian's bedroom, that "the Beach Boys sound" began to form. Brian says: "Everyone contributed something. Carl kept us hip to the latest tunes, Al taught us his repertoire of folk songs, and Dennis, though he didn't play anything, added a combustible spark just by his presence." It was Love who encouraged Brian to write songs and he also gave the fledgling band its first name: The Pendletones. The Pendletones name was derived from the Pendleton woolen shirts popular at that time. In their earliest performances, the band wore the heavy wool jacket-like shirts, which were favored by surfers in the South Bay. In 1962, the Beach Boys began wearing blue/gray-striped button-down shirts tucked into white pants as their touring "uniforms." This was the band's signature look through to 1966.

Although surfing motifs were very prominent in their early songs, Dennis was the only member of the group who surfed. He suggested that his brothers compose some songs celebrating his hobby and the lifestyle which had developed around it in Southern California.

On October 3, 1961, The Pendletones recorded twelve takes of "Surfin'" in the Morgans' cramped offices (Dennis was deemed not yet good enough to play drums, much to his chagrin). A small quantity of singles was pressed. When the boys eagerly unpacked the first box of singles, on the Candix Records label, they were surprised and angered to see their band name had been changed to "Beach Boys". Murry Wilson, now intimately involved with the band's fortunes, called the Morgans. Apparently a young promotion worker, Russ Regan, had decided on the change to more obviously tie the group in with other surf bands of the time (his original name for the band was The Surfers). The limited budget meant the labels could not be reprinted.

Released mid-November, 1961, "Surfin'" was soon aired on KFWB and KDAY, two of Los Angeles' most influential radio stations. It was a hit on the West Coast, and peaked at #75 on the national pop charts.

As an eight-year-old, Brian Wilson says his "young life was already being shaped and influenced by music... None affected me more than the music I heard when my father played the family piano... I watched how his fingers made chords and memorized the positions".

Murry had limited success as a songwriter, peaking with "Two Step Side Step" when it was recorded for a Bachelors album in 1952. Despite his musical ability and any wish to educate Brian in particular, Murry "was a tyrant", quick to offer discouraging criticism and who "abused psychologically and physically, creating wounds that never healed." Carl found comfort in food and Dennis rebelled against the world to express his anger. Brian would immerse himself in music to cope, but though he longed to learn piano as a child, he was too frightened to ask and even too scared to press the keys when his father was at work.

At first, Murry steered the Beach Boys' career, engineering their signing with Capitol Records in 1962. In 1964, Brian ousted his father after a violent confrontation in the studio. Over the next few years, they became increasingly estranged; when Murry died of a heart attack in 1973, Brian and Dennis did not attend the funeral.

Murry Wilson told the boys he did not like "Surfin'". However, "he smelled money to be made and jumped on the promotional bandwagon, calling every radio station..." He got the group's first paying gig on New Year's Eve, 1961, at the Ritchie Valens Memorial Dance in Long Beach, headlined by Ike and Tina Turner. Brian recalls how he wondered what they were doing there; "five clean-cut, unworldly white boys from a conservative white suburb, in an auditorium full of black kids". Brian describes the night as an "education" - he knew afterwards that success was all about "R&B, rock and roll, and money." The boys went home with $50 apiece. In February 1962, Al Jardine left the band to continue his college studies. David Marks, a thirteen-year-old neighbor and friend of Carl's, replaced him (Jardine, at Brian's request, rejoined the group in July 1963).

On July 16, on the strength of the June demo session, the Beach Boys were signed to Capitol Records. By November, their first album was ready - "Surfin' Safari". Their song output continued along the same commercial line, focusing on California youth lifestyle. The early Beach Boys’ hits helped raise both the profile of the state of California and of surfing. The group also celebrated the Golden State’s obsession with hot-rod racing ("Shut Down," "409," "Little Deuce Coupe") and the pursuit of happiness by carefree teens in less complicated times ("Be True to Your School," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "I Get Around"). From 1962-65 they had sixteen hit singles during a period of time that included both a very competitive Top Forty but also saw the start of the British Invasion. Although their music was bright and accessible, these early works belied a sophistication that would emerge more forcefully in the coming years. During this period, Brian Wilson rapidly progressed to become a melodist, arranger and producer of world-renowned stature. Their early hits made them major pop stars in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries, although their status as America's top pop group was soon challenged in 1964 by the emergence of The Beatles, who quickly became the Beach Boys' major creative, financial, and Top Forty rival.

Apart from the Wilsons' father and the close vocal harmonies of Brian's favorite groups, early inspiration came from the driving rock and roll sound of Chuck Berry and Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. Some of Brian's songs were modeled after other songs; most famously "Surfer Girl" shares its rhythmic melody with "When You Wish Upon a Star". In his autobiography, Brian states that the melody of "God Only Knows" was inspired by a John Sebastian record.

By 1964, traces of Brian Wilson's increasing studio productivity and ideas were noticeable: "Drive-In," an album track from All Summer Long features bars of silence between two verses while "Denny's Drums," the last track on Shut Down, Vol. II, is a two-minute drum solo. As Wilson's musical efforts became more ambitious, the group relied more on nimble session players, on tracks such as "I Get Around" and "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)." "Help Me, Rhonda" became the band's second #1 single in the spring of 1965.

1965 led to greater experimentation behind the soundboard with Wilson. The album Today! featured less focus on guitars, more emphasis on keyboards and percussion, as well as volume experiments and increased lyrical maturity. Side A of the album was devoted to sunny pop tunes, with darker ballads on the reverse side. In November 1965 the group followed up their #3 summer smash "California Girls," with another top 20 single, "The Little Girl I Once Knew." It is considered to be the band's most experimental statement prior to Pet Sounds, using silence as a pre-chorus, clashing keyboards, moody brass, and vocal tics. Perhaps too extreme an arrangement to go much higher than its modest #20 peak, it was only the band's second single not to reach the top 10 since their 1962 breakthrough. In December they would score an unexpected #2 hit (#3 in the UK) with the single "Barbara Ann", which Capitol Records released as a single without input from any of the Beach Boys. It has become one of their most recognized hits over the years and was a cover of a 1961 song by The Regents.

Wilson's growing mastery of the recording studio and his increasingly sophisticated songs and complex arrangements would reach a creative peak with the acclaimed LP Pet Sounds (1966). The tracks "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "God Only Knows", showcased Wilson's growing mastery as a composer, arranger and producer. "Caroline, No," also taken from Pet Sounds, was issued as a Brian Wilson solo single, the only time Brian was credited as a solo artist during the early Capitol years. Nowadays Pet Sounds is regarded as one of the finest albums of all time on many music magazines lists of greatest albums of all time, including TIME, Rolling Stone, New Musical Express, Mojo, and The Times.

The album's meticulously layered harmonies and inventive instrumentation (performed by the cream of Los Angeles session musicians known among themselves as The Wrecking Crew) set a new standard for popular music. It remains one of the more evocative releases of the decade, with a distinctive strain of melancholy and nostalgia for youth. The album is still widely regarded as a classic of the rock era. Among other accolades, Paul McCartney has named it one of his favorite albums of all time (with "God Only Knows" as his all-time favorite song). McCartney has frequently said that it was the inspiration behind the Beatles' album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, similar to Brian Wilson stating he was inspired to make Pet Sounds upon listening to The Beatles' Rubber Soul. Despite the critical praise it received, the album was indifferently promoted by Capitol Records and failed to become the major hit Brian had hoped it would be (only reaching #10). Its failure to gain wider recognition hurt him deeply.

Because of his withdrawal from touring, Wilson was able to complete almost all the backing tracks for the album while the Beach Boys were on tour in Japan. They returned to find a substantially complete album, requiring only their vocals to finish it off. There was some resistance from within the band to this new direction. Lead singer Mike Love is reported to have been strongly opposed to it, calling it "Brian's ego music," and warning the composer not to "fuck with the formula." Other group members also fretted that the band would lose its core audience if they changed their successful musical blueprint. At Love's insistence, Brian changed the title of one song from "Hang On to Your Ego" to "I Know There's an Answer." Another likely factor in Love's antipathy to Pet Sounds was that Wilson worked extensively on it with outside lyricist Tony Asher rather than with Love, even though Love had co-written the lyrics for many of their earlier songs and was the lead vocalist on most of their early hits.

Seeking to expand on the advances made on Pet Sounds, Wilson began an even more ambitious project, originally dubbed Dumb Angel. Its first fruit was "Good Vibrations," which Brian described as "a pocket symphony". The song became the Beach Boys' biggest hit to date and a U.S. and U.K. No. 1 single in 1966 — many critics consider it to be one of the best rock singles of all time. In 1997, it was named the "Greatest Single of All Time" by Mojo music magazine. In 2000, VH1 placed it at number 8 on their "100 Greatest Rock Songs" list, and in late 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed it at number 6 on their "500 Best Songs of All Time" list. It was also one of the more complex pop productions ever undertaken, and was reputed to have been the most expensive American single ever recorded at that time. Costing a reported $16,000, more than most pop albums, sessions for the song stretched over several months in at least three major studios.

In contrast to his work on Pet Sounds, Wilson adopted a modular approach to "Good Vibrations" — he broke the song into sections and taped multiple versions of each at different studios to take advantage of the different sound and ambience of each facility. He then assembled his favorite sections into a master backing track and added vocals. The song's innovative instrumentation included drums, organ, piano, tack piano, two basses, guitars, electro-theremin, harmonica, and cello. The group members recall the "Good Vibrations" vocal sessions as among the most demanding of their career.

Even as his personal life deteriorated, Wilson's musical output remained remarkable. The exact nature of his mental problems was a topic of much speculation. He abused drugs heavily, gained an enormous amount of weight, suffered long bouts of depression, and became paranoid. Several biographies have suggested that his father may have had bipolar disorder and after years of suffering, Wilson's own condition was eventually diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder.

While putting the finishing touches on Pet Sounds, and just beginning work on "Good Vibrations," Brian met fellow musician and songwriter Van Dyke Parks. In late 1966, Brian and Parks began an intense collaboration that resulted in a suite of challenging new songs for the Beach Boys' next album, which was eventually named Smile. Using the same techniques as on "Good Vibrations," recording began in August 1966 and carried on into early 1967. Although the structure of the album and the exact running order of the songs have been the subjects of endless speculation, it is known that Wilson and Parks intended Smile to be a continuous suite of songs that were linked both thematically and musically, with the main songs being linked together by small vocal pieces and instrumental segments that elaborated upon the musical themes of the major songs.

But some of the other Beach Boys, especially Love, found the new music too difficult and too far removed from their established style. Another serious concern was that the new music was simply not feasible for live performance by the current Beach Boys lineup. Love was bitterly opposed to Smile and was particularly critical of Parks' lyrics; he has also since stated that he was deeply concerned about Wilson's escalating drug intake. The problems came to a head during the recording of "Cabin Essence," when Love demanded that Parks explain the meaning of the closing refrain of the song, "Over and over the crow cries uncover the cornfield." After a heated argument, Parks walked out of the session, and shortly thereafter his creative partnership with Wilson came to an equally abrupt end.

Many factors combined to put intense pressure on Brian Wilson as Smile neared completion: Wilson's own mental instability, the pressure to create against fierce internal opposition to his new music, the relatively unenthusiastic response to Pet Sounds, Carl Wilson's draft resistance, and a major dispute with Capitol Records. Matters were complicated by Wilson's reliance on both prescription and illegal drugs, amphetamines in particular, which only exacerbated his underlying mental health problems.

Also at this time the Beach Boys management (Nick Grillo and David Anderle) started work on developing and implementing the band's own record label, Brother. The intent of the label was for side projects and an invitation for new talent. The Beach Boys became one of the first rock bands to create their own label (shortly afterwards, The Beatles followed with Apple). The output of the label, however, was limited to one album and two singles and with the subsequent failure of the second Smiley Smile single "Getting Hungry", the band decided to shelve the Brother label until 1970.

In May 1967, Smile was shelved, and over the next thirty years, the legends surrounding Smile grew until it became the most famous unreleased album in the history of popular music.

However some of the tracks were salvaged and re-recorded at Brian's new home studio, albeit in drastically scaled-down versions. These were released, along with the completed versions of "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes and Villains", on the 1967 LP Smiley Smile, which would prove to be a critical and commercial disaster for the group.

Despite the cancellation of Smile, interest in the work remained high and versions of several major tracks — including "Our Prayer", "Cabin Essence", "Cool, Cool Water", and "Surf's Up" — continued to trickle out. Many were assembled by Carl Wilson over the next few years and included on later albums. The band was still expecting to complete and release Smile as late as 1972, before it became clear that Brian had been the only one who could have made sense out of the endless fragments that were recorded. A substantial number of original tracks and linking fragments were included on the group's 30th anniversary CD boxed set in 1993. The full Smile project did not surface until Wilson and Parks completed the writing, aided by Darian Sanahaja who helped in sequencing, and Brian re-recorded it as Brian Wilson Presents "Smile" in 2004.

After the popularity of the song "Good Vibrations" came a period of declining commercial success. Smiley Smile and subsequent albums performed poorly on the U.S. charts (although they fared better in the UK). The group's image problems took a further hit following their withdrawal from the bill of the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival.

The 1967 album Wild Honey, regarded by some as another classic, features songs written by Wilson and Love, including the hit "Darlin'" and a rendition of Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made to Love Her". Friends (1968) is a largely acoustic album, influenced by the group's adoption of the practice of Transcendental Meditation. The title single was their least successful single since 1962. This was followed by the single "Do It Again," a return to their earlier style formula. Moderately successful in the US at #20, the single went to #1 in the UK.

As Brian's mental and physical health deteriorated in the late 1960s and early 1970s, his song output diminished; coupled with his growing disinterest in the band he eventually became withdrawn and detached from the band. To fill his creative void, the other members began writing and producing songs. Carl Wilson gradually took over leadership of the band, developing into an accomplished producer. To complete their contract with Capitol Records before signing with Reprise Records, they produced one more album, 20/20 (1969), primarily a collection of leftovers (including remnants from Smile), old songs by outside writers, and several new songs by Dennis Wilson. One of those songs, "Never Learn Not to Love", featured uncredited lyrics by Charles Manson and was originally titled "Cease to Exist". Besides "Do It Again", the album included Carl's production of the Ronettes' "I Can Hear Music", which became their last top 40 hit for seven years.

In 1969, the Beach Boys reactivated their Brother Records label and signed with Reprise Records. With the new contract, the band appeared rejuvenated, releasing the album Sunflower to critical acclaim. The album was and still is recognized as a complete group effort, with all band members contributing significant material, such as "Add Some Music to Your Day", Brian's "This Whole World", Dennis' "Forever" and Bruce Johnston's "Tears in the Morning". The album, like Pet Sounds, was ignored by the public. The band experienced their worst chart performance ever, not even making the top 100.

After Sunflower, the band hired Jack Rieley as their manager. Rieley chose a different direction for the group, emphasizing, among other things, political and social awareness. The result was 1971's Surf's Up, featuring Brian's Smile centerpiece, "Surf's Up". The song itself was virtually the same arrangement of Brian performing in the studio in 1966, with Carl adding vocals and the "Child is Father of the Man" overdubs. Carl's "Long Promised Road" and "Feel Flows" are standouts. Brian contributed one of his best songs, "'Til I Die", which almost did not make the album sequencing. Bruce Johnston produced the classic "Disney Girls (1957)", a throwback to the easier, simpler times they remembered. Johnston ended his first stint with the band shortly after the record's release, reportedly because of friction between him and Jack Rieley. The album was moderately successful, reaching the US top 30. While the record made its run on the charts, the Beach Boys added to their refound fame by performing a near-sellout concert at Carnegie Hall, and following that with the famous appearance with the Grateful Dead at Fillmore East on April 27, 1971.

The addition of Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin in February, 1972, led to a dramatic departure in sound for the band. The album Carl and the Passions - "So Tough" was an uncharacteristic mix that included several songs drawn from Fataar and Chaplin's previous group, Flame, which are nearly unrecognizable as Beach Boys songs. Although it has its supporters, the album is widely considered to be one of the group's most unfocused and inconsistent. It did not make an impact on the charts.

The Beach Boys came up with an ambitious (and expensive) plan in developing their next project, Holland. The band, their families, assorted associates and technicians moved to the Netherlands for the summer of 1972, renting a farmhouse to convert into a makeshift studio. By the end of their adventure the band felt they had come up with one of their best efforts yet. Reprise, however, felt that the album was weak, and after some wrangling between the camps, the band asked Brian to come up with commercial material. This resulted in the song "Sail On, Sailor", a collaboration between Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, became one of the more emblematic Beach Boys songs. Reprise approved and the album was released early 1973, peaking at #37 on the Billboard album chart. Holland was also popular on FM radio, which embraced tracks like Mike Love and Al Jardine's "California Saga". Included as a "bonus" EP was Brian's storytale Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairy Tale), which was directly influenced by Randy Newman's Sail Away LP. Holland proved that the band could still produce contemporary songs with wide (if not mass) appeal.

Despite the indifference displayed by the record label, the band's concert audience started to grow. The Beach Boys in Concert, a double album documenting the 1972 and 1973 US tours, became the band's first gold record for Reprise.

In the summer of 1974, Capitol, in consultation with Love, released a double album compilation of the Beach Boys' pre-Pet Sounds hits. Endless Summer, helped by a sunny, colorful graphic cover, caught the mood of the country and surged to #1 on the Billboard album chart. It was the group's first multi-million selling record since "Good Vibrations", and remained on the album chart for three years. The following year Capitol released another compilation, Spirit of America, also sold well. With both compilations, the Beach Boys suddenly became relevant to the American music landscape, propelling them from being the opening act for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to headliners selling out basketball arenas. Manager Jack Reiley, who remained in the Netherlands after Holland's release, was relieved of his managerial duties late 1973. Rolling Stone awarded the band the distinction of 1974's "Band of The Year", based solely on the their juggernaut touring schedule and the material written and produced by Brian over a decade earlier.

Blondie Chaplin left the band in late 1973 after an argument with Steve Love, the band's business manager (and Mike's brother), Ricky Fataar stayed until fall 1974, when he was offered a chance to join a new group being formed by Joe Walsh. Chaplin's replacement, James William Guercio, started offering the group career advice that turned out to be so smart and sensible that eventually he became the band's new manager.

Nostalgia had settled into the Beach Boys' hype; the group had not officially released any albums of new material since 1973's Holland. While their concerts continuously sold out, the stage act slowly changed from a contemporary presentation-oldies encores to their entire show comprising of mostly all pre-1967 music. Performances of Smiley Smile to Holland material would eventually be phased out, replaced specifically by their hits from 1961 to 1966. This decision frustrated serious fans of the band for many years to come.

15 Big Ones marked the return of Brian Wilson as a major force in the group in that it was the first album he produced since Pet Sounds. This album included several new songs composed by Brian, and several of his arrangements of favorite old songs by other artists, including "Rock and Roll Music" (which made #5), "Blueberry Hill", and "In the Still of the Night". Brian and Mike's "It's OK" was yet another return to their earlier "summertime fun" style, and was a moderate hit. The album was publicized by an NBC-TV special, telecast on August 4, 1976, simply titled "The Beach Boys-It's OK", which was produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels and featured appearances by SNL cast members John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.

For the remainder of 1976 to early 1977, Brian Wilson spent his time making sporadic public appearances and producing the band's next LP Love You, a quirky collection of 14 songs mostly written by Brian alone, including more "fun" songs ("Honkin' Down the Highway"), a mature love song ("The Night Was So Young")—a mix ranging from infectious to touching to downright silly. The songs were delivered to the Beach Boys only as demo versions, mostly with only Brian's vocals and Moog synth and drum-machine backing tracks. The Beach Boys were expected to finish them, but because of time constraints the majority of the material was released as Brian's originally recorded demos. The result was an uneven, incomplete effort and not a commercial success. Despite its flaws, the album is one of the more popular offerings in the Beach Boys' later oeuvre. Many sources cited the album as a return to the group's roots.

Unfortunately, after Love You, Brian's contributions began to decline over the next several albums until he again virtually withdrew from the group. His appearances with the band in concert diminished. His performances became erratic, his recordings uninspired. Despite the much-publicized "Brian's Back" campaign in the late '70s, most critics believed the group was past its prime. Many expected that at some point Brian Wilson would eventually become the latest in a long line of celebrity drug casualties.

During this period the band put out two further studio efforts: M.I.U. and L.A. Light Album. M.I.U. was recorded at the Maharishi Institute University in Iowa (now Maharishi University) at the insistence of Mike Love. Dennis and Carl made limited contributions to the project; the album was mostly produced by Alan Jardine and Ron Altbach, with Brian appearing as the role of "Executive Producer". Regardless, despite a handful of interesting tracks, the album was largely a contractual obligation to finish out their association with Reprise Records. Reprise likewise did not promote the album.

At the same time of the M.I.U. album release, The Beach Boys signed with CBS Records (now part of Sony/BMG). They received a substantial advance and reportedly agreed to a guaranteed minimum of one million dollars per album. However, CBS was not satisfied with preliminary reviews of their first product-L.A. Light Album. The band realized at this point that Brian either could not or would not write and produce the required material. As a stop-gap measure, Bruce Johnston returned to the group as both a member and this time as a producer. The Brian and Carl song "Good Timin‘" became a US top 40 single. The album featured outstanding performances by both Dennis (cuts intended for his second solo effort Bambu) and Carl ("Full Sail"). The group also enjoyed moderate success (if not indifferently received) with a disco reworking of the song "Here Comes the Night", originally on the Wild Honey album.

In 1980, the band recorded and released Keeping the Summer Alive. Again, Bruce Johnston was in the producer's role as well as performing on the album. Sessions took place at Western Recorders, the site were Brian produced many of his most enduring songs. Brian contributed occasionally as seen in the television special the band made for the album's release. Even though Dennis Wilson was credited, this was the first Beach Boys album not to feature Dennis (due to his ongoing personal problems). As he was not in the Keeping the Summer Alive television special and not is not mentioned by them at all, one can only assume his absence was requested by the rest of the band.

In the late 1970s, Dennis Wilson increasingly indulged in drug and alcohol abuse. Some of the group's concert appearances were marred when he and other band members showed up on stage drunk or stoned. The band was forced to publicly apologize after a poor performance in Melbourne, Australia in 1978, during which several members of the group appeared to be drunk. In spite of his own frequent drinking, Dennis Wilson managed to release his first solo work, Pacific Ocean Blue, which was also the first solo release by any member of The Beach Boys. A follow-up album entitled Bambu was recorded with friend and musician Carli Muñoz but remained unfinished and unreleased until Pacific Ocean Blue was re-issued in 2008.

In 1980, the Beach Boys played a Fourth of July concert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. before a large crowd. This gig was repeated in the next two years, but in 1983 Secretary of the Interior James Watt banned the group from playing on the Mall, saying that rock concerts drew "an undesirable element." This drew howls of outrage from the many of the Beach Boys' American fans, who stated that the Beach Boys sound was a very desirable part of the American cultural fabric. First Lady Nancy Reagan apologized, and in 1984 the group appeared on the Mall again. Love and Johnston most recently appeared on the Mall in 2005 for the Fourth of July concert.

Meanwhile, Dennis Wilson's personal problems continued to escalate, and on December 28, 1983 he drowned while diving from a friend's boat, trying to recover items he had previously thrown overboard in fits of rage.

Despite Dennis's death, the Beach Boys soldiered on as a successful touring act: on July 4, 1985, the Beach Boys played to an afternoon crowd of one million in Philadelphia and the same evening they performed for over 750,000 people on the Mall in Washington (the day's historic achievement was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records). They also appeared nine days later at the Live Aid concert. That year, they released a new album eponymously titled The Beach Boys and enjoyed a resurgence of interest later in the 1980s, assisted by tributes such as David Lee Roth's hit version of "California Girls." In 1987, they played with the rap group The Fat Boys, performing the song "Wipe Out" and filming a video for it.

In 1988, they unexpectedly scored their first #1 hit in 22 years with the song "Kokomo" which was written for the movie Cocktail, becoming their biggest-selling hit ever. It was written by John Phillips, Scott McKenzie, Mike Love, and Terry Melcher. As well as producing and co-writing several of the band's later songs and albums, Melcher was a long-time friend of Bruce Johnston, and the duo recorded together as Bruce & Terry and The Rip Chords, both surf acts with a very similar California sound, before Johnston formally joined The Beach Boys. Riding on "Kokomo"'s steam, the Beach Boys quickly put out the album Still Cruisin', which went gold in the U.S. and gave them their best chart showing since 1976. In 1990, the band, featuring John Stamos on drums, recorded the title track of the comedy Problem Child. Stamos later appeared singing lead vocals on the song "Forever" (written by Dennis Wilson) on their 1992 album Summer in Paradise.

Members of the band appeared on sitcoms such as Full House and Home Improvement in the late 1980s and 1990s, as well as touring regularly. In 1995, Brian Wilson appeared in the critically acclaimed documentary I Just Wasn't Made for These Times, which saw him performing for the first time with his now-adult daughters, Wendy and Carnie of the group Wilson Phillips. The documentary also included glowing tributes to his talents from a host of major music stars of the '60s, '70s and '80s. In 1996, the Beach Boys guested with Status Quo on a re-recording of "Fun, Fun, Fun," which was a British Top 30 hit.

After years of heavy smoking, Carl Wilson succumbed to lung cancer on February 6, 1998 after a long battle with the disease. Although Love and Johnston continued to tour as the Beach Boys, Jardine did not participate and no other original members accompanied them. Their tours remained reliable draws, even as they came to be viewed as a nostalgia act. Meanwhile, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine (both still legally members of the Beach Boys organization) each pursued solo careers with their new bands.

On June 13, 2006, the major surviving Beach Boys (Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks) all set aside their differences and reunited for a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the album Pet Sounds and the double-platinum certification of their greatest hits compilation, Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys, in a ceremony atop the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. Plaques were awarded for their efforts to all major members, with Brian Wilson accepting for his late brothers Carl and Dennis. Wilson himself implied there was a chance that all the living members (not having performed together since September 1996) would reunite again.

Many legal difficulties developed from Brian Wilson's psychological problems. In the early 1980s, the band hired controversial therapist Eugene Landy in an attempt to help him. Landy did achieve some significant improvements in Wilson's overall condition; from his own admissions about his massive drug intake, it was highly likely that Wilson would have died if Landy had not intervened. Landy successfully treated Wilson's drug dependence, and by 1988 Wilson had recovered sufficiently to record his first solo album, Brian Wilson. But Landy became increasingly possessive of his star patient. After accusations that Landy was using his control over Wilson for his own benefit, the band successfully entreated the courts to separate Landy from Wilson.

In addition to the challenges over the use of the band's name and over the best way to care for Wilson, there have been three significant legal cases involving the Beach Boys in recent years. The first was Wilson's suit to reclaim the rights to his songs and the group's publishing company, Sea of Tunes, which he had signed away to his father in 1969. He successfully argued that he had not been mentally fit to make an informed decision. While Wilson failed to regain his copyrights, he was awarded $25 million for unpaid royalties.

The second lawsuit stemmed from Wilson's reclamation of his publishing rights. Soon after Wilson won his Sea of Tunes case in 1989, Mike Love discovered Murry Wilson did not properly credit him as co-writer on dozens of Beach Boys songs, including "California Girls", "Catch a Wave," "I Get Around," "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)," "Be True to Your School," "Help Me, Rhonda," "I Know There's an Answer," and numerous others. With Mike and Brian unable to determine exactly what Mike was properly owed, Mike sued Brian in 1992 to gain credit for his co-authorship of a number of important Beach Boys songs, winning $13 million in 1994 for lost royalties. In interviews, Mike revealed that on some songs he wrote most of the lyrics, on others only a line or two. Even though Mike sued Brian, both parties said in interviews that there was no malice between them; they simply couldn't come up with an agreeable settlement by themselves.

However in November 2005, Love filed yet another lawsuit against Brian Wilson and his management. Love alleged that the UK publication The Mail on Sunday and Wilson’s representatives gave the false impression to the readers of The Mail on Sunday that their joint promotional giveaway of nearly three million copies of the CD called Good Vibrations was authorized by Mike Love and the Beach Boys. This free CD, Love alleged, includes five of Love and Wilson’s co-authored hit Beach Boys songs, and was done to promote Wilson's solo CD, Smile (Brian Wilson album). Love also claimed that Smile and Good Vibrations were marketed using the Beach Boys’ names and images without permission. The complaint sought several million dollars in damages, and also a million dollars to cover costs of advertising to correct the perceived "damage to the band's reputation".

There has been speculation that Love's lawsuit was an attempt to pressure Wilson into agreeing to let him continue to use the profitable Beach Boys name for his and Johnston's touring efforts. Wilson's lawyers suggested in legal filings that Love was seeking to assert as personal claims the rights of the corporate holder of the Beach Boys trademark, Brother Records International, in which Love and Wilson are both shareholders.

Love's 2005 lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on May 10, 2007 as to all the defendants, including Wilson. In a series of rulings, the court rejected all of Love's claims, including the claim that Smile was a Beach Boys project as to which Love deserved compensation from Wilson directly. The court subsequently ruled that Love had to pay the legal fees of all the defendants as well.

The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, with Mike Love delivering a speech that assailed Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Diana Ross. The band was chosen for the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2001, the group received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Brian Wilson was inducted into the UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November 2006. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked the Beach Boys #12 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, .

In 2007, the Beach Boys were inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

The group is frequently referred to when the topic of summertime songs comes up. listed Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of The Beach Boys, a 2003 compilation CD, as the greatest summertime hits CD.

Richard Daniel Roman's Latin pop summer classic "Vive El Verano" is dedicated to the Beach Boys.

Toni Tennille, of the duo Captain & Tennille, remains the only known "Beach Girl", having once sung with the Beach Boys while on tour.

The Wilsons' Hawthorne, CA house, where the Wilson brothers grew up and the group began, was demolished in 1986 to make way for Interstate 105, (the Century Freeway). A Beach Boys Historic Landmark (California Landmark #1041 at 3701 West 119th Street), dedicated on May 20, 2005, marks the location. The Beach Boys continue to tour, with a backing band accompanying original members Mike Love and Bruce Johnston. Other "honorary Beach Boys", such as John Stamos and former member David Marks also make guest appearances on their tours.

The remaining Beach Boys (Love and Johnston, minus Brian & Jardine) are currently planning a U.S. tour due summer 2009.

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Best of The Beach Boys

Best of The Beach Boys cover

Best of The Beach Boys is the first compilation album by The Beach Boys, released in the summer of 1966 just two months after Pet Sounds. It includes many of their most popular songs from 1963 to 1965. The album reached #8 on U.S. charts and soon went gold. Brian Wilson is said to have been irritated by the label's decision to release a compilation of the group's older material at a time when the group's music was rapidly becoming more complex and sophisticated.

The UK edition of the album, with a revised track order, was issued later in the year, reaching #2 on British charts.

Although Best of The Beach Boys is currently certified double platinum in the US, it is now out of print, supplanted by more comprehensive compilation albums.

The British version of Best of The Beach Boys was released in mid-1966 with 14 songs, instead of the usual 12 found on American albums.

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Smile (The Beach Boys album)

SMiLE cover

Smile (sometimes typeset with the idiosyncratic partial capitalization SMiLE) is an unreleased album by the The Beach Boys, and perhaps the most famous unreleased rock and roll album of all time. Recorded throughout 1966 and 1967, the project was intended by its creator Brian Wilson as the follow-up to The Beach Boys' influential album Pet Sounds, but was never completed in its original form. The project was resurrected in 2003, and a newly recorded version was released by Beach Boys composer and leader Wilson in 2004. During the 37 years from its cancellation to the release of Wilson's version, Smile acquired considerable mystique, and bootlegged tracks from the never-completed album are circulated widely among Beach Boys collectors. Many of the tracks which were originally recorded for Smile eventually found their way onto subsequent Beach Boys albums.

In an October 1966 interview, Brian Wilson dubbed the work "a teenage symphony to God". His plan was to take his work on Pet Sounds to a new level, with an album-length suite of specially-written songs which were both thematically and musically linked, and would be recorded using the unusual sounds and innovative production techniques which had made their recent hit "Good Vibrations" so successful.

The Smile story begins with Pet Sounds. On 17 February 1966, mid-way through the sessions for Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson started work on the single "Good Vibrations", which went to #1 in both Britain and the USA. The most expensive - at a cost of more than $50,000 - and complex pop recording ever made (at the time), it still stands as a milestone in recording history. "Good Vibrations" was created by an unprecedented recording technique: nearly 30 minutes of barely-related musical sections were recorded, then painstakingly spliced together and reduced into a three-minute pop song. Many within The Beach Boys' camp were skeptical, but the song quickly became the band's biggest hit yet. Smile was intended to be an entire album produced in the same fashion.

Crucial to the inception and creation of Smile was Wilson's collaboration with singer, musician, composer and lyricist Van Dyke Parks, whom Wilson invited to write lyrics for the new album in the Spring of 1966; at the time, the project was provisionally entitled Dumb Angel. The two quickly formed a close and fruitful working relationship, and between April and September 1966 they co-wrote a number of major songs, including "Surf's Up", "Heroes and Villains", "Wonderful", "Cabin Essence" and "Wind Chimes", all of which were written in the famous sandbox that Brian had installed in his home. Their first collaboration was "Heroes and Villains", and it is reported that when Wilson played the song's descending melody line to him, Parks devised the opening line on the spot. Their most acclaimed song, "Surf's Up", was written in one night.

Pet Sounds lyricist Tony Asher wrote the original lyrics for "Good Vibrations." The hit version released in October 1966 featured a new set of lyrics co-written by Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys' Mike Love. Wilson had in fact asked Parks to write new lyrics for "Good Vibrations", but Parks declined, preferring not to enter a project which was already underway.

Although the precise nature of its original conception is still hotly debated, several key features of Smile are generally acknowledged: both musically and lyrically, Wilson and Parks intended Smile to be explicitly American in style and subject, a direct reaction to the British dominance of popular music at the time. It was supposedly conceived as a musical journey across America from east to west, beginning at Plymouth Rock and ending in Hawaii, as well as traversing some of the great themes of American history and culture, including the impact of white settlement on native Americans, the influence of the Spanish, the Wild West, and the opening up of the country by railroad and highway.

As the name implies, humour was a key ingredient, and the Smile songs are replete with wordplay, puns and multiple meanings. A good example is "Vega-Tables", which includes the lines "I'm gonna do well, my vegetables, cart off and sell my vegetables"; the phrase "...cart off and..." is a bilingual pun on the word Kartoffeln, which is German for potatoes. At one stage, Wilson apparently toyed with the idea of expanding Smile to include an additional "humour" record, and a number of recordings were made in this vein, although they were apparently unsuccessful, so the idea was dropped. One of the possible remnants of this aspect of the project is the track "She's Goin' Bald", which was recorded after the main SMiLE sessions and included on Smiley Smile (the original Smile track circulated amongst bootleggers is sometimes titled "He Gives Speeches").

Wilson is known to have been deeply influenced by the music of George Gershwin at an early age (especially "Rhapsody in Blue"), and Smile contains echoes of Gershwin's emphatic American-ness, and the episodic and programmatic characteristics of the composer's works. A short scene featuring Brian at the piano in the recent documentary on the making of Smile suggests that Brian may have directly based the main riff of "Heroes and Villains" on a variation or inversion of a fragment of "Rhapsody in Blue".

Smile also drew heavily on American popular music of the past; Wilson's innovative original compositions were interwoven with snippets of significant songs of yesteryear, including "The Old Master Painter" (made famous by Peggy Lee), the perennial "You Are My Sunshine", Johnny Mercer's jazz standard "I Wanna Be Around" (recorded by Tony Bennett), the song "Gee" by noted '50s doo-wop group The Crows, as well as quotations from other pop-culture reference points, such as the Woody Woodpecker theme.

Smile's cut-up structure was certainly unique for its time in mainstream popular music, and it indicates that Brian was familiar with the techniques of musique concrète and the usage of chance operations in making art — an approach which, according to musicologist Ian MacDonald, was also exerting a strong influence on the Beatles at this point.

Wilson's experiments with LSD were undoubtedly a significant influence on the texture and structure of the work, and one of the strongest intellectual influences on his thinking at this time was his friend Loren Schwartz, who is said to have introduced Brian to both marijuana and LSD.

Writer Bill Tobelman suggests that Smile is filled with coded references to Brian's life and his recent LSD experiences (a presumed Lake Arrowhead, CA trip being the most important), and that it was heavily influenced by his interest in Zen philosophy — especially in that Zen teaching uses absurd humour and the paradoxical riddle, the koan, to liberate the mind from preconceptions — and that Smile as a whole can be interpreted as an extended Zen koan. Tobelman notes that Wilson's autobiography recounts an acid flashback which Wilson interprets as a Zen riddle and suggests that this same riddle, when contemplated upon, helped Wilson attain spiritual enlightenment. By presenting this riddle in the form of SMiLE, Wilson is promoting spiritual enlightenment.

Brian Wilson developed his "classic" production method over several years, perfecting it with the recording of Pet Sounds during 1965 and 1966. With "Good Vibrations", Wilson began to experiment with radical editing of his work. Now, instead of taping each backing track as a complete performance (as had been the case for all prior Beach Boys recordings), he began to break the arrangements into sections, recording multiple 'takes' of each section. He also recorded the same section at several different studios, to exploit the unique sonic characteristics or special effects available in each. Then, he would edit these different segments together to create a composite whole which combined the best features of production and performance.

Wilson extended this "modular" approach for the songs on Smile. Working mainly at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles (Phil Spector's favorite studio), Wilson began a long and complex series of sessions in late 1966 that continued until early 1967. He also frequently used Sunset Sound Studios and United Western Recorders on Sunset Boulevard, and Capitol's own renowned in-house studio.

Much of Smile was recorded in this piecemeal manner; each of the finished tracks is a heavily-edited composite recording, and many of the unreleased Smile fragments are either alternate versions of backing tracks, alternate sections of these tracks, or passages intended to provide transitions between tracks.

Despite the availability of stereo recording, Wilson always made his final mixes in mono, as did rival producer Spector. Wilson did so for several reasons — he personally felt that mono mixing provided more sonic control over what the listener heard, minimizing the vagaries of speaker placement and sound system quality. It was also motivated by the knowledge that pop radio broadcast in mono, and most domestic and car radios and record players were monophonic. Another, more personal reason for Wilson's preference was deafness in his right ear.

Recording for the new LP, now officially named Smile, began in August 1966 and continued until mid-December.

In early December, Capitol Records was given a handwritten list of twelve tracks planned for Smile, for use on the LP back cover. This list was long considered crucial evidence of Wilson's intentions for the piece, but since the track listing (as printed) carried the standard advisory "see label for correct playing order", it can only be taken as confirming Brian's apparent choice of songs at that time, and not their exact sequence. However, in 2006 it was realized that the handwriting on the list was not Brian's, but someone else's: furthermore, when shown a copy of the list, Brian himself stated that he had never seen it before. A comparison of the handwriting indicates that it may have been written by Carl Wilson, or possibly Brian's sister-in-law, Diane Rovell.

Capitol began production on a lavish gatefold cover with a 12-page booklet. Cover artwork was commissioned from Frank Holmes, a friend of Van Dyke Parks, and colour photographs of the group were taken by Guy Webster. 466,000 covers and 419,000 booklets were printed by early January 1967; promotional materials were sent to record distributors and dealers, and ads were placed in Billboard and teenage magazines including Teen Set.

Some time in December, Brian informed Capitol that Smile would not be ready that month, but he advised that he would deliver it "prior to 15 January". Wilson's conception of the work evidently changed around this time, probably as a result of disagreements within the band. Early in 1967, work was halted on all the Smile tracks except for "Heroes and Villains" and "Vega-Tables".

Like most of the Smile songs, "Heroes and Villains" is based around a deceptively simple three-chord pattern. It encapsulates Wilson's musical approach for the project, which was to create songs that were (for the most part) structurally simple, but overlaid with extremely complex and often highly chromatic vocal and instrumental arrangements, and capped by Parks' remarkable lyrics.

The considerable time and effort that Wilson devoted to "Heroes and Villains" is indicative of its importance, both as a single and as part of Smile - sessions for the various versions and sections extended over more than a year, from May 1966 to July 1967.

Capitol records had scheduled 13 January 1967 as the release date for the single. Yet, although he was renowned for his efficiency in the studio, Brian Wilson clearly struggled to complete "Heroes and Villains", and despite devoting more than twenty sessions to it between October 1966 and March 1967, he was unable to complete it to his satisfaction.

It now appears that the song underwent many changes during its production, and that several important elements, including the so-called "Cantina scene" and the segment commonly known as "Bicycle Rider", were taken out of the finished single and album versions, although they were retained in other (unreleased) mixes. A single version of the song was released in mid-1967, but rumours persist of a far longer edit, and it is known that several alternate versions were put together. Both Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys frequently included "Bicycle Rider" when performing the song in concert.

SMiLe's centrepiece, "Surf's Up", was written in one night and was certainly fully composed by November 1966, when Brian Wilson was filmed performing the song on piano for a CBS news special on popular music, hosted by Leonard Bernstein and David Oppenheim; "Surf's Up" was featured on Oppenheim's portion of the show. Wilson also made a studio demo with solo vocal and piano around this time, which was eventually released on the Beach Boys' 30th anniversary boxed set.

A nearly or fully completed backing track for the first (2:20) section was recorded and mixed in November 1966, but vocals and other overdubs were still to be added, and work on the middle and closing sections was either never undertaken or never finished. It is notable that the flourishes played on muted trumpet in the verses of "Surf's Up" are almost identical to the familiar 'laughing' refrain of the theme for the cartoon series Woody Woodpecker. This musical reference recurs in the instrumental piece "Fall Breaks And Back To Winter" on the album Smiley Smile (which was in fact subtitled "W. Woodpecker Symphony").

A full-length version of "Surf's Up" was eventually assembled by Carl Wilson and released on the 1971 Beach Boys album Surf's Up. The 1971 track was edited together from the two major basic tracks - Carl and the group recorded new vocals over the original 1966 "Part 1" backing track, which was edited together with the 1966 studio demo of Brian performing the second half solo on a piano, with new group vocals and additional instrumental overdubs in the closing section.

The following is based upon a handwritten note given to Capitol Records in December 1966. It was given to Capitol in order for the track titles to be included on the album cover; however, the original cover states "see record for running order". It has not been conclusively proven whose handwriting is actually on the note.

All the evidence, including interviews with Brian himself, state that a final definitive running order was never decided upon until the release of the 2004 Smile.

According to most sources, Brian Wilson began to encounter serious problems with Smile around late November 1966; some of this can be ascribed to his increasingly fragile mental state (by then, he was beginning to exhibit signs of depression and paranoia), but it is now evident that there was vehement opposition to the project from within the band.

It is reported that, during the recording session for the "Fire" section of the "Elements Suite" at Gold Star Studios on 28 November, Brian became irrationally concerned that the music had been responsible for starting several fires in the neighborhood of the studio.

For many years, it was rumoured that Wilson had tried to burn the tapes of this session, but that was not the case, although he did abandon the "Fire" piece for good. No recording of anything but the introduction to the original "Fire" tapes has been released, nor is it likely to be. It has also been noted, in several accounts, that Parks deliberately stayed away from the session (during which Wilson encouraged the musicians to wear toy firemen hats), and that he later described Wilson's behaviour as "regressive".

Wilson's deterioration and eventual breakdown was the result of a complex web of causes. As Beach Boys chronicler Timothy White has noted, Brian came from a troubled family background; there was a family history of mental illness, even including suicide. In several interviews, including one filmed for the Don Was-directed documentary I Just Wasn't Made for These Times, Brian recalled beatings by his father. Brian has cited these beatings as responsible for the deafness in his right ear.

There were signs of Brian's growing instability: he had been forced to withdraw from touring in December 1964, after suffering a terrifying anxiety attack during an airline flight. In October 1966, after flying to Michigan to rehearse with The Beach Boys for their first stage performance of "Good Vibrations", he had another panic attack on the return flight, and was only placated after the flight crew radioed ahead to Los Angeles to arrange a welcoming committee.

It has been suggested that Wilson aggravated underlying psychological problems or predispositions through his recreational drug use. Wilson is known to have used cannabis, LSD and amphetamines during this period, and in the recent Smile documentary he stated that he also took barbiturates. His father and members of the group were reportedly concerned about his use of drugs.

The extent of Wilson's drug use and its possible effects on him are disputed, however. Several friends and colleagues who were interviewed for the documentary (including Van Dyke Parks) emphatically denied that Wilson's recreational drug use either interfered with his work or contributed to his breakdown.

In December 1966, Brian was deeply disturbed by a viewing of the surreal John Frankenheimer film thriller Seconds, starring Rock Hudson. In his increasingly vulnerable and confused state, Brian became convinced that the film's opening line "Good morning, Mr. Wilson" (and indeed most of the film's content) was referring to him. He also reportedly became obsessed by the notion that his rival and mentor Phil Spector was somehow trying to control, dominate or even kill him.

While some of Brian's paranoia was internally derived, there were some genuine bases for his fears: his father had hired a private detective to investigate him and his friends, and the recent release of government files on music and film celebrities revealed that the Beach Boys (among many others) were under surveilliance by FBI, just as Frank Zappa was openly alleging at the time.

In addition to Brian's possible mental health problems, and his many personal, family and creative pressures, there were other significant business and legal pressures surrounding the Beach Boys during the recording of Smile. These included Carl Wilson's call-up notice for the draft (which he was to fight as a conscientious objector), plus the commencement of the group's contractual dispute with Capitol over royalty payments. In addition, there was the band's attempt to terminate their then-present contract, which was a legacy of Murry's management, and establish their own label, Brother Records.

During early 1967, Brian's behaviour became increasingly erratic, and his use of drugs escalated, but while this was a concern for some of his friends, he was still completely functional in the studio. Although stories of his sometimes bizarre "off-duty" behaviour became the stuff of legend, the session musicians who worked with him during this period have stated that he was a total professional in the studio.

In retrospect, arguably the most significant reason why Smile was repeatedly postponed, and finally scrapped, was conflict within the group and increasing antagonism between Mike Love and the Wilson/Parks partnership, although Bruce Johnston has also indicated in a web forum discussion that there was also opposition to the project from Capitol Records and from Murry Wilson.

The growing conflict within the Beach Boys about Smile came to a head during December 1966. The 6 December 1966 session for "Cabin Essence" was apparently the scene of a famous argument between Van Dyke Parks and Mike Love about the song's lyrics, and the situation evidently worsened during the 15 December vocal sessions for "Surf's Up" and "Wonderful". The band was filmed by CBS during this session which, according to Jules Siegel, went "very badly". Later the same day, Wilson recorded his now-legendary solo piano demo of "Surf's Up". Although there were more Smile sessions (on 23 December, 9 January and 23 January), work on the major tracks effectively stopped after 15 December.

Love later stated that he was suspicious of the new friends with whom Brian was associating, and that his opposition to these people whom he regarded as hangers-on, who were exploiting Brian and supplying him with 'hard' drugs, was another major source of conflict. Love has suggested that some of those who have since been critical of him did so because he had told them to "take a hike".

Love denied disliking Pet Sounds, also claiming that he liked the Smile music and only disliked the lyrics. However, this is strongly disputed by several other participants, most notably Van Dyke Parks. Responding to Love's claims in a letter to the Mojo editor, Parks was strongly critical of Love's comments, which he described as "revisionism", and he was unequivocal in naming Love's dislike of "Smile" as one of the major factors in the collapse of the project. On the DVD that accompanied the 2004 Smile release, Brian himself made it quite clear that Love's antagonism to the project was one of the major deciding factors in the cancellation of the album, saying: "The reasons that I didn't release Smile: One, Mike didn't like it...".

Wilson continued to work on "Heroes and Villains" and other cuts, including "Do You Like Worms" and "Vega-Tables", as well as taping numerous musical fragments which were probably intended to serve as links between the main songs. Throughout the first half of 1967, the album's release date was repeatedly postponed as Wilson tinkered with the recordings, experimenting with different takes and mixes, unable or unwilling to supply a completed version of the album.

Another significant factor, cited in the Smile documentary, was Brian's first hearing of The Beatles' new single "Strawberry Fields Forever". He heard the song while driving his car, and was so struck by it that he had to pull over and listen; he then commented to his companion that The Beatles had "got there first". Although he apparently later laughed about that comment, the stunning new Beatles production had affected him deeply. The final, irrevocable blow came in early March 1967 when, after gradually distancing himself from Wilson and the group, Van Dyke Parks finally quit the project.

Capitol evidently still hoped to the last that Smile might eventually appear, but on 6 May, only a few weeks before the release of The Beatles' groundbreaking Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, The Beach Boys' press officer Derek Taylor ruefully announced to the British press that the Smile project had been shelved, and that the album would not be released.

Following the stillbirth of Smile and the release of the poorly-received Smiley Smile (which Carl Wilson described as "a bunt instead of a grand-slam") that September, Brian Wilson retreated from the public eye, increasingly hampered by mental health problems, but his legend grew, and the Smile period came to be seen as the pivotal episode in his decline; Wilson would become tagged as one of the most notorious celebrity drug casualties of the rock era.

By the beginning of the 1990s, Smile had earned its place as the most famous unreleased album in the rock era, and was a focal point for bootleg album makers and collectors. A 1988 proposed sequencing of the album by engineer Mark Linett eventually leaked to the public in stunning sound quality. In 1993, fans were treated to a goldmine of official archival SMiLE material included on the 5CD boxed set Good Vibrations - 30 Years of the Beach Boys. The second disc of the set included almost thirty minutes of original SMiLE recordings including versions of "Our Prayer", "Wonderful", "Cabin Essence", "Wind Chimes", "Do You Like Worms", "Vegetables", "I Love to Say Da-Da", an alternate version of "Heroes and Villains" and numerous linking segments built around the "Heroes and Villains" theme, plus Brian's fabled demo recording of "Surf's Up", which Elvis Costello famously compared to discovering an original recording of Mozart in performance.

These recordings, sequenced by David Leaf, made it clear that SMiLE had been much closer to completion than had previously been thought, and this prompted much excitement by fans over what additional songs might exist, and debate about how the songs fitted into the SMiLE running order. There was hope that the box set would be followed by an official SMiLE release, but this did not materialize.

Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks would eventually revisit and complete the SMiLE project with Brian's touring musicians in 2004, 37 years after its conception. First, in a series of concerts (debuting at London's Royal Festival Hall on Friday 20 February, 2004), then as the solo album Brian Wilson Presents Smile, earning 3 Grammy nominations and winning Brian Wilson his first solo Grammy award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance ("Mrs. O'Leary's Cow"). In 2005, the album won graphic artist Mark London and Nonesuch/Elektra Records the 2005 ALEX award for Best Vinyl Package.

One of the principal sources of original information on Smile, and the basis for much of its legendary status, was Jules Siegel's article "Goodbye Surfing, Hello God!" which appeared in the first issue of Cheetah Magazine in October 1967. Almost equally influential was Domenic Priore's 1987 book Look, Listen, Vibrate, Smile.

In Lewis Shiner's novel Glimpses, the mental time-traveling protagonist meets and befriends Brian Wilson, and encourages Wilson to complete Smile over the objections of his bandmates. Glimpses won the 1994 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

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The Beach Boys Today!

The Beach Boys Today! cover

The Beach Boys Today! is the seventh studio album by The Beach Boys, and their first of three in 1965. Although no one realized the significance of the album at the time, The Beach Boys Today! marked a major turning point inside the band's world, and in particular, leader Brian Wilson's personal life.

After Pet Sounds, this is most acclaimed album of Beach Boys' career. The album includes the original version of the classic hit, "Help Me, Rhonda" (titled "Help Me, Ronda").

In 1965 The Beach Boys Today! (Capitol (D) T 2269) hit #4 in the US during a chart stay of 50 weeks. It reached #6 in the UK in the summer of 1966.

By the end of a particularly stressful 1964, The Beach Boys had released four albums in the preceding twelve months, in addition to beginning this album by recording two advance singles—"When I Grow Up" and "Dance, Dance, Dance." As the man in charge, Wilson was both physically and emotionally exhausted, yet the Beatles' ever-increasing popularity and influence ensured that Brian kept slogging to keep afloat. On December 23, 1964, Brian had a nervous breakdown due to the strain and realized that something was going to have to give. And that was touring.

While the bulk of The Beach Boys Today! was being recorded in January 1965, he informed the rest of the band that he wanted to stay in the studio and create their music while the Boys played it to audiences. The band reluctantly agreed, and after a brief alliance with Glen Campbell in Wilson's place, Bruce Johnston, a musician (and ex-partner, with Terry Melcher in The Ripchords) and major admirer of the band, became the Beach Boys' live bassist in April 1965 as The Beach Boys Today! was rising the charts. Many consider this album to mark the beginning of Brian Wilson's artistic maturation.

The album is famous for having one side of up-beat songs and a second side of melancholic ballads.

On the first half, "When I Grow Up," "Dance, Dance, Dance" and "Do You Wanna Dance?" were all hits, and "Help Me, Ronda" would be worked on further to deliver the Beach Boys their second #1 hit in May (amid a small spelling change in the title). The second side, in retrospect, was an indicator to where Brian Wilson was going musically. Considered darker and more meaningful than previous softer works, alongside Wilson's increasing productivity in the studio, the ballads on the second side are thought of as a precursor to Pet Sounds' technical triumphs, including strings, pianos, more percussion, and volume tricks.

However, the shift in style appeared to have little detrimental effect, concerning sales; The Beach Boys Today! was a #4 gold-selling smash in the US, and the following year it would reach #6 in the UK. In 2003, the album was ranked number 270 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

It has since come to light—and has long been freely admitted to by Brian Wilson—that he had begun using marijuana during December 1964 as a stress reliever, and once he realized the profound effect it had on the way he perceived music, Wilson became a regular user.

All songs by Brian Wilson/Mike Love, except where noted.

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Source : Wikipedia