Endless Harmony: The Beach Boys Story
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Top Customer Reviews
You really can't tell the whole story (1961-98) in just 2 hours, but still this is well documented. It includes some interesting insights from Elvis Costello (probably the best outside observances). One thing I wish they had mentioned (which they totally forgot) was the short-time membership of Ricky Fataar (who would later become a Rutle) and Blondie Chaplin (who sang lead on the Beach Boys' "Sail On Sailor"). It touches lightly on dubious characters like Van Dyke Parks (who did manage to contribute the surreal lyrics to "Heroes and Villians") and Eugene Landy (who helped Brian get well again but became codependent on Brian himself). But it's mostly about the music (Pet Sounds, Smile, Sunflower, Till I Die, Good Vibrations, Smile, and the surf and turf classics of 1961-65)! If you're a fan interested in their personal story, you'll like this documentary. I had to dock it 1 star because I think they talked too much about the Wilsons' infamous father Murray and Brian's health (Brian's Back indeed!).
And while you're at it, check out the CD of the same name (full of rarities and gems you won't find on any of the original albums)!
However, the group's interpersonal "harmony" was overstated from the beginning. In this video, the ever-grandstanding and odious Mike Love gets entirely too much time to thump himself on the back for his "positivity." Bear in mind that Mike Love was the band's principal mouthpiece for Capitol Records' desire that the Beach Boys not "f**k with the formula" by exploring the new dimensions, beyond summer and cars and girls, that Brian Wilson sought in "Pet Sounds" and the aborted "Smile" album, pressure that helped contribute to Brian's breakdown. Mike Love has been coasting on the Wilson brothers' collective genius for nearly forty years now... retire, Mike! (Wouldn't THAT be nice?)
I would have liked to have seen more about Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar and other sidesmen who played an integral part in BB history.
This dvd paints an intimate portrait of America's Band. Brian Wilson is espcially good here, never showing his personal problems and giving mini performances of songs at the piano. Each Beach Boy gets equal screen time. You even might shed a tear when you realize that this documentary was the last public tv appearance by Carl Wilson, who died of lung cancer just months later.
The music is really good. The live performances are mostly just snippets, but also includes a heartwrenching montage of Carl performing "God Only Knows" and a Mike Love - driven "California Girls". Also featured are two Dennis Wilson ballads, "All Alone" and "Barbara".
I would highly recommend this dvd. However, I suggest that if you are a casual Beach Boys fan, you should wait until a little later to get this dvd, because while it's comprehensive & insightful, you ought to get the albums first. Happy Holidays.
If Folk Rock and the British Invasion represented a generation's call to be different, hip and cool, The Beach Boys represented a yearning to be popular, secure and loved. Endless Harmony traces the history of the Beach Boys, and in some ways, Brian Wilson's life, as a testament to the struggle between those two sets of yearnings.
Starting with their family's migration to California during the Depression, through the optimism and exuberance of post World War II Southern California, we get a sense of the roots of The Beach Boys. Brian, Dennis and Carl learned harmony from their father, Murry Wilson. An overpowering autocrat, Murry was a frustrated songwriter who was jealous of his sons' success. There are disturbing audio snippets of Murry berating Brian during recording sessions.
In an era when most Rock groups were cannon fodder for record producers, Brian Wilson was given unprecedented autonomy in the production of Beach Boy material. Some of the documentary's best moments are of Brian sitting at the controls of a mixing board, deconstructing original Beach Boy recordings, showing how all the tracks were layered together.
The central weakness of this documentary is its structure, which depends entirely on interviews for its narrative flow and direction. Some of the interviewees, particularly Elvis Costello and Maurice Gibb, have remarkably little to say.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Best BB documentary out there. Combine it with Love & Mercy and The Wrecking Crew and you've got the entire Brian Wilson story.Published 10 months ago by Stig Rodent, freedom fighter
Why is "Barbara Ann" missing on each of the Beach Boys documentaries?
I've watched so far "The Beach Boys: An American Band", "Brian Wilson: I wasn't made... Read more
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