We should really think about calling this feature "One Thing Leads to Another," because that's how these kinds of obsessions work, at least for me.
My earliest recollection of hearing a Beach Boys song is Shaun Cassidy warbling "Fun, Fun, Fun" on The Hardy Boys
. Not exactly the magical vocal harmonies they are know for.
Still from such small things.
The next step was this classic...
Again, not really The Beach Boys proper, but another tiny brick.
That commercial is from 1980.
1981 rolls around and cashing in the Stars on 45 phenomenon, The Beach Boys released "The Beach Boys Medley."
Now we're getting somewhere. 8 classic Beach Boys
songs in just over 4 minutes with some of the tightest edits I've ever heard. That song was a particular favorite of my church's youth group that spring.
As I continued to delve further into the history of rock, the Beach Boys always fascinated me. The bizarre family dynamic. The drugs. The excess. The mental instability of Brian Wilson. The lawsuits. The Manson Family. Kokomo
It was all too surreal.
Then, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon The Beach Boys: An American Family
on VH1 Classic. I'd seen bits and pieces of the movie over the years, but on this particular day, I had nowhere to be and nothing pressing, so I sat down on the couch and started watching. A few minutes later, one of the boys wandered downstairs and, after watching for a couple of minutes, joined me on the couch.
We watched the rest of the movie and I found myself explaining the drug use and trying not to explain Charles Manson. Still, it was enough to reignite my interest.
I picked up a couple of Beach Boys CDs from the library and listened to them while riding around, and let's be honest, that's what their music is for. Its to set a mood. Its to take you somewhere else.
Then I grabbed Heroes and Villains
from that same library. I inhaled the book. It gave some deeper insights into the troubled past of the band. The only problem was that the book was originally published in 1986 and has never been updated to examine the millenial lives and deaths of the band. Otherwise, I highly recommend the book to fans, both casual and manic.
I'm thinking of downloading Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue
, just to see what the Wilson brother felt to be the least talented brought to the table in what is considered by many to be a lost masterpiece.
I missed out on last summer's 50th anniversary tour, and based on recent events
, it looks like I may never get the chance to see the remaining Beach Boys on tour together. Still, as storied and checkered as the Beach Boys' history is, hope is never lost.
That may actually be the takeaway from all of this now that I've typed it.
No matter how bad a day looks, the sun is going to come up, the surf is going to roll in and the world is going to put out some good vibrations.
Oh, and don't be like Murry Wilson.
As obsessions go, that's not so bad.
The family tradition continues with California Saga
, a group composed of Beach Boy progeny. Yup, even the ones that were in Wilson Phillips.
As an aside, VH1 Classic always shows this video after they air An American Family
That's a lot of California sound packed into three minutes kids. There's Roger McGuinn of the Byrds playing the 12-string that brought you Tom Petty and REM. John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas, as well as the Beach Boys. Check out Carl Wilson's vocals on this track. He really was their secret weapon.