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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
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a wonderful book about the Beach Boys. They are truly one of America's top bands. The Beach Boys have been making fantastic music from 1961 to the present. Read morePublished on November 21, 2013 by Julie L. Friedman
The concert information is incomplete. I attended four different Beach Boys concerts in Minnesota and none are listed. Read morePublished on October 13, 2013 by Jesse Lykken
Its a boring document that provides little insight into the band. Its just a listing of their tour dates. Read morePublished on December 9, 2012 by Joseph Schofield
As a life long Beach Boy fan I really appreciated and enjoyed this book. I recommend it to all who are interested in learning a little more about the workings of Brian Wilson.Published on July 25, 2011 by ShermanTPotter
You can tell a lot of time and effort was put into this book. I can't blame the author for being as thorough as possible and portions of the book are downright fascinating. Read morePublished on August 6, 2010 by Johnny K. Young
I bought this book at the Royal Festival Hall before a Brian Wilson show, summer 2004, flicked it open - and immediately, big problem: the social security number of pretty much... Read morePublished on July 5, 2009 by Andrew G. Doe
This is a pretty exhaustive book and contains a lot of interesting info that even a lot of us die-hards never knew about. What? Read morePublished on April 4, 2008 by Sean C. Courtney
This is an excellent book for the hardcore Beach Boys fan. There is exstensive coverage of albums, highlights of important dates, photos, and inside info on sessions. Read morePublished on July 29, 2007 by Bill Weldman