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Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963 Paperback – June 8, 2015
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"This meticulously researched and presented title gives readers a 'boots-on-the-ground' look at how the Beach Boys got its start and is the definitive book on the humble beginnings of the band...it's almost as if those beautiful Beach Boys harmonies...intricately arranged, soaring, and pleasing to the listener...are invoked in the book's layout...a must-read for Beach Boys fans and popular music historians...readers will love the depth of research...recommended"--Library Journal; "no definitive rock history collection or Beach Boys fan should be without this reference, which packs in statistics, black and white photos, and insights not available elsewhere"--Midwest Book Review; "recommended...engaging and entertaining"--Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal; "the most in-depth look...fascinating details about the creation of each song...an absolute must"--Examiner; "Murphy is a very good writer, and the book he always wanted to read was definitely worth writing. He lets no detail go un-checked...an important historical document through and through. A top ten best retro Popculture book of 2015."--Psychobabble.
About the Author
James B. Murphy is a companion animal veterinarian in Washington, D.C. He lives in Bowie, Maryland.
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Top Customer Reviews
NOTE: I purchased the Kindle edition of the book for portability and convenience. This edition is fine if you are a casual, one-time through, reader and fan of the band, but I recommend the hard copy because of the many excellent illustrations (many from the authors substantial collection) and the wealth of references and footnotes he provides, which are difficult to navigate in Kindle texts.
The author, James B. Murphy has done a magnificent job of writing a scholarly yet readable work. The book is a major compendium of facts about the group and every chapter's facts are carefully cited as they would be in a book of history. The author wisely chose to focus on the formation of the group and not their entire career.. The Beach Boys needed a book like this, which was written for the record as much as it was for the interested reader. By this point in time a major group like the Beach Boys that has had a very long and complex career will many interviews published or taped, many articles and books written about them and many stories told by those who knew them in one form or another. Conflicting recollections and deeply buried data begin to distort the record. Stories grow and start to become legends even when they contain half-truths or false information.
What Mr. Murphy has done is to do an incredible amount of minute research to clarify exactly what happened and when it did. If someone enters the Beach Boys story they will receive a mini-biography explaining who they were. If they made an appearance, even in a parking lot or high school auditorium, it is documented. If they sang an old song its writers, performer and chart position will be noted. The book is chock-full of thousands of facts but they are given a compelling, basically chronological narrative that keeps you turning pages and never bogs down. The story is interesting and eventually explores a large part of the rapidly developing Southern California music scene. It took years for the group to get going, much longer than most people would imagine. The book is also well illustrated with pictures of the band, concert posters, singles' labels and album covers, many of them rare.
This book is a dream come true for major Beach Boys aficionados, but its thoroughness and historical orientation may make it too much for more casual fans. For someone like me who has many Billboard books and books on pop music it's absolutely tops but admittedly many people won't want so much and would be served by one of the more general surveys of their whole career. But it's a most valuable book for the record and we should be glad Mr. Murphy took the time to write it.
EXTRA NOTE: About the angry, one-star review here. Even if a single fact in a book of many thousands of facts is incorrect, that does not invalidate the entire work. One must find many facts or a pattern of willingly distorted facts to make a case. There are major and minor facts and getting a high school's 1962 address right is not major in this case. Also in the case of a performance, recollection is not acceptable as evidence and must be backed up by tangible proof. I would ask the author of that scathing review to consider picking the book up again and giving it a chance.