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Heroes And Villains: The True Story Of The Beach Boys Paperback – August 22, 1995


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Heroes And Villains: The True Story Of The Beach Boys + Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson + The Beach Boys FAQ: All That's Left to Know About America's Band (Faq Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (August 22, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306806479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306806476
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gaines's 1986 book follows the rise and tragic fall of a legendary American pop band whose excesses were camouflaged by their wholesome image.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The 25-year history of the Beach Boys has been one of triumph and tragedy. Starting out in 1961 with music that rode the California surfing craze to national popularity, the band projected a cleancut, all-American image. Their sudden success and later fall from popularity resulted in personal and group problems. By the early 1980s the Boys were surviving on nostalgia concert tours. Author Gaines, relying mostly on primary sources, has anecdotally captured all the infighting while dealing deftly with complex business details and treating the songs to thoughtful analysis. Although much of his information is not new (see John Milward's The Beach Boys Silver Anniversary , LJ 8/85) this presentation is vivid and compelling. Photos not seen. Paul G. Feehan, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Cables, Fla.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Steven Gaines is the best-selling author of twelve books, including Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons; The Sky's the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan; The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles; and Marjoe, the biography of evangelist Marjoe Gortner.

His journalism has appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Observer, the New York Times, Los Angeles, and Worth, and he is presently a contributing editor at New York magazine. His frequent television appearances include "60 Minutes"; "The Today Show"; "CBS Morning News"; and "Good Morning America."

Mr. Gaines is a co-founder and past vice-chairman of the Hamptons International Film Festival.

He lives in a small hamlet on the East End of Long Island.

Customer Reviews

All Beach Boys fans should own this book!
Tandymonium
I read the book on the subway going to and from work and I got so wrapped up in it I almost missed my stop.
tmuller
Instead, you get pages and pages of Jerry Springer-esque sleaze.
shayq@rounder.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
After seeing all of the criticisms here, I was surprised to find that the Gaines book is very skillfully written. I don't think Gaines is a hack, and this is not merely a sloppy expose. In fact, I found it to be more readable than Tim White's bio ("The Nearest Faraway Place"), and not merely because it's more scandalous. By focusing more on the (often sordid) details of the Beach Boys' personal lives, Gaines gives us a much stronger feel for their actual personalities than White.
Nor do I think that Gaines is unsympathetic. For example, he details Dennis' problems, but he also reminds us repeatedly of Dennis' love for his children, and recounts details of Dennis' touching reconnection with his father before he died. He portrays Dennis as a charismatic individual who simply can't control his impulses. And by all accounts, that's what Dennis was. Gaines is sympathetic, but neither does he flinch from the truth.
I've been around musicians and I can tell you that Gaines' portrayals, sordid as they may seem, probably aren't far off the mark. If the book often seems sordid, it's largely because the subjects' lives were often sordid (Uh . . . how many times have they been married? How many times have they been in rehab? Did Dennis really marry Mike's illegitimate daughter? Afraid so).
I can't vouch for Gaines' accuracy, or the veracity of his sources, but it appears to me that Gaines tries to be even-handed. When an allegation is contested, he seems to take pains to point this out.
White's book is more of a broad social history (it's subtitled "The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience").
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Slokes VINE VOICE on June 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
There's something to be said for trashy biographies, as long as a reader is somewhat prepared to take what he or she reads at less than face value. "Heroes & Villains" has undeniable readability, throws up some arresting caricatures that must bear some proximation to the subjects described, and is more lurid than mean-spirited in its design.

But you really wonder about factual accuracy with a book about a group of pop music giants that manages to misspell the names of Jimi Hendrix, Glen Campbell, and Sam Cooke. That's a rock, country, and soul trifecta for those keeping score, not to mention Campbell was briefly a member of the Beach Boys' touring band. Or how about a book that is ostensibly about the Boys but spills more ink about the bodyguard who had an affair with Brian Wilson's wife than it does on Al Jardine or Bruce Johnston, actual members of the band?

At least Gaines throws in a kind mention of Bruce Johnston's classic "Disney Girls (1957)," which was nice for this fan to read. It's more notable because there's not much attention in this book to the Beach Boys music, other than their earliest, career-making singles, "Good Vibrations," and the Pet Sounds album. He skims over so much there's no mention of such classics as "Wendy," "Do It Again," "Little Honda," "Come Go With Me," "All Summer Long," and "Good Timin'." There's nothing said of "Kokomo" either, though since the book was published in 1986, two years before that final number-one hit was released, you can't blame Gaines for missing it. (If only the Beach Boys had.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have always been a huge fan of the music of the Beach Boys and am listening to Disk 2 of the Good Vibrations boxed set as I type this. The problem with trying to learn about the lives of the Beach Boys is that a lot of sources simply gloss over the more distasteful and unsettling details of their lives. I think the DVD "Endless Harmony" is a good case in point. Steven Gaines' book fills in detail on the troubled members of the group. For this reason, I'm glad I read it. Now I'd like to find a more balanced biography of the boys. The book is very readable, although surprisingly disturbing at times. Also, Mr. Gaines seems to treat his informants (Marilyn Wilson, Karen Lamm) in a more favorable light than he does the Wilsons or Loves. He seems to have little interest in writing about Jardine or Johnston, though David Marks is a direct target, which indicates to me that Gaines intended to write only about the muck. Nevertheless, I found the book to be well worth reading, and have a lot more admiration for Brian Wilson now that I have.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jim LaRegina (jimlaregina@hotmail.com) on October 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
HEROES AND VILLAINS will tell casual Beach Boys fans things they didn't know about America's Band. Bigger fans who would like to read more about the making of the Beach Boys' music may wish to look elsewhere - but when you think about, even WOULDN'T IT BE NICE, the autobiography of Brian Wilson, was light in that department. HEROES AND VILLAINS tracks the personal tumult that followed the Beach Boys from inside the Wilson household throughout their career. One of many lowlights: a Beach Boys bodyguard punched out one group member and had an affair with another's wife - quite the opposite of the harmony the band created on record. I read HEROES AND VILLAINS in 1988 and don't know if it has been updated. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, Brian Wilson's break with Dr. Landy, Al Jardine quitting the band, and Carl Wilson's death certainly merit a new chapter.
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