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Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys was formed in Los Angeles in 1961 by the brothers Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson. They were joined by their cousin Mike Love and Brian Wilson's classmate, Al Jardine.

At first they sang original songs about surfing in barbershop quartet harmonies. Their first hit was ‘Surfin' USA’ (1963).

By the mid-1960s the compositions, arrangements, and production by Brian Wilson became increasingly inventive under the influence of psychedelic rock. They began to include instruments that were unusual in rock music such as flutes, a harpsichord, and a koto on their records.

The Beach Boys also became interested in overdubbing a technique of recording engineering that made their five voices sound like many more - in complex harmonies such as those of 'Good Vibrations', which took six months to produce.

Brian Wilson is almost completely deaf in his right ear, from an early accident when his father hit him with a wooden plank. While he has never heard stereo music, his ear for balance between sounds is unusually strong; he preferred to mix in mono because he noticed stereo was off-balance unless one was directly between the speakers.

Brian Wilson was the creative force. He was tormented by drug problems and a difficult childhood and in December 1964 he suffered a nervous breakdown while on a flight from Los Angeles to Houston. Wilson stopped touring with the band and focused on writing and producing their songs. He was replaced on tour by Glen Campbell, who played on their Pet Sounds album.

In spite of its complex multi-layered tracks and harmonies, Pet Sounds was mixed not in stereo but in mono – largely because of Brian Wilson's deafness in his right ear.

Brian Wilson and Tony Asher wrote "God Only Knows" for The Beach Boys in just 45 minutes.

They became the first major American rock group to play in a Communist country when they performed in Czechoslovakia in 1968.

In 1983 US. Interior Secretary James Watt banned the Beach Boys from the 4th of July celebration on the Washington Mall. He said rock 'n' roll bands attract the "wrong element."

Dennis Wilson died in 1983 after diving into very cold water from a boat slip in Marina del Rey. US president Ronald Reagan gave special permission so his body could be buried at sea.

In 1988 Stan Love, former Beach Boys manager and the brother of Mike Love, was sentenced to five years probation for embezzling more than $300,000 from the band.

After 94 performances, the Broadway musical and Beach Boys tribute Good Vibrations closed on April 24, 2005.

Playbill magazine cover featuring the 2005 musical Good Vibrations. Wikipedia Commons

The band unveiled, 'That's Why God Made the Radio', their first new song for two decades on April 25, 2012 on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning.

Sources Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc,  Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2012. Helicon Publishing is division of RM, Artistfacts

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