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The Beach Boys: The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band on Stage and in the Studio Paperback – September 1, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It's great to see the details of the best years of our career collected with such love in one place." -- Brian Wilson

About the Author

Keith Badman is a regular contributor to Record Collector and Mojo magazines, and writer of three groundbreaking works on the Beatles, one of which (‘The Beatles After The Break Up’, was voted in the top ten essential Beatles book by Q magazine). Badman has also co-authored definitive works on The Rolling Stones and The Small Faces and been a film and video archive consultant for the BBC and others.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books; First Edition edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879308184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879308186
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Sean Brickell on November 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
The amount of research necessary to compile this book is staggering. This undoubtedly will stand as one of the most comprehensive studies of one of the world's most famous and justifiably enduring bands.

If anything negative can be claimed, it's simply that no detail is too minor for inclusion. The book is ideal for completists, those who thrill in every tiny aspect of The Beach Boys. For my taste, it's a lot to absorb. But that's not to say the book is less than brilliant in presenting the facts, personalities, ups/downs, ins/outs, and evolution of popular music.

The Beach Boys deserve such scholarly attention. That Mr. Badman has presented the data in a fun and easy-to-read manner parallels the joy of the music. Never dry, never dull.

The other commendation due is that even the many things that failed or missed the mark are presented. Yes, this book is a work of love. But it's also an effort not blinded by hero worship.

Essential to all fans of the Beach Boys.
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Format: Paperback
On one hand, this exhaustive summary of recording sessions, concert dates and important moments in Beach Boys history is a goldmine for hardcore fans. We learn when and where, for instance, Glen Campbell first played in place of Brian Wilson on tour. We're given attendance, box office totals and set lists for tons of concerts. LOTS of great info and trivia on every aspect of the band's career. My only complaint is that this book tells us very little about the Beach Boys or Brian Wilson of the past 28 years; the years 1977 through 2004 get only a couple of paragraphs each.

Granted, this has not exactly been a golden age for the Beach Boys artistically, and it doesn't merit as much ink as their hitmaking years. But isn't this a part of their story? If you're obsessive enough to read this book in the first place, don't you want to know when it was that Brian stopped making even the occasional appearance with his Boys? Don't you want to know why David Marks was thrown out of (or quit) the band for a second time in the 90s? Don't you want to know how many dollars your nearby Indian casino has to pony up to have the current Mike Love/Bruce Johnston Beach Boys show up to play a concert in its bingo hall (invariably dubbed a 'Summertime Bash')? And, if you've seen the band at some point since 1976, wouldn't it be nice (ahem) to see it listed in the book's Concert Location Index? For better or worse, the Beach Boys have soldiered on in some form or other for nearly three decades beyond the period on which this book concentrates, their members dying off, leaving in a huff or hanging in till the bitter end for that steady paycheck.

Again, this book is a treasure trove for fans, but just a little more on the group's (very) long goodbye might have been interesting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Its nice to see a book like this devoted to the Beach boys, they definitely needed one. That being said, this one can be topped, but its OK as the first stab anybody has taken into written a day by day story of the boys. Most of the research is taken from studio logs, but apparently not many could be found for the early (and best) Beach boys albums. While the book is some 350 pages, less that 1/4 is devoted to the years prior to 1966, and the rest of the book for the years 1966-1974. If you want a detail analysis of the early beach boys, you may need to look somewhere else. But for the Brother Years, this is very good. The book is not pricey and includes many photos. A revised edition would be great in a few years.
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Format: Paperback
I haven't much to say about this book other than it is exhaustive in its research and timetables the bands career spanning many decades. Interesting tidbits surface, too many to go into detail here. It helps being a very big fan of the Beach Boys to really appreciate the ups and downs of "America's Band" in this book. Take a look, you just may find what you're looking for.
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Most casual fans prefer the "human" orientated bios, and that's fine - "Heroes and Villains" is probably the best straight Beach Boys biography available. Hardcore fans and musicians will froth at the mouth for this volume that goes into painstaking but never dull details of how such masterpieces as "Pet Sounds", "Good Vibrations" and all the great tunes by this most underappreciated band came to life.

Some details are not pleasant to learn - for instance, the band played very little on the albums from about "Shut Down Vol. 2" through the "Smile" sessions. Brian Wilson instead relied on a crack LA session team for the bulk of the instrumental work under his production while the rest of the band toured the country and the world. Of course, the vocals were and are the centerpiece of this band, so arguments about the backing musicians remains probably academic.

We also learn that Brian blames his partial deafness on an incident when he was three years old, claiming that his father, the notoriously abusive Murray Wilson, struck the young child in the ear with a 2 X 4, a charge the elder Wilson obviously denied.

"The Beach Boys" doesn't delve into the tragic details of Brian's childhood, concentrating instead on the music. The abuse is mentioned, however, as it most likely contributed to the mental breakdown in 1967 that prevented the release of "Smile". One can only ponder the impact this masterpiece would have had if it had been released back then as opposed to a few years ago. Still, we must be grateful "Smile" exists at all.

Rich in anectodes, studio details and great photos, "The Beach Boys" is a must-have for any self respecting fan.
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