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Endless Harmony: The Beach Boys Story

4.4 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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(Mar 14, 2000)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This VH-1 documentary probes the story of the Brothers Wilson, exploring the notorious tensions that lay behind those heavenly harmonies. You'll encounter Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson as well as Glen Campbell and Elvis Costello, and see clips of Surfin' U.S.A.; Little Deuce Coupe; Sloop John B , and more. The CD soundtrack is loaded with desirable rarities (most never released): demos for Breakaway and Heroes and Villains ; live rehearsals of God Only Knows and Good Vibrations , early versions, alternate takes and more!

Additional Features

On DVD, The Beach Boys: Endless Harmony is further augmented by five complete, bonus music clips and seven complete audio tracks remixed for 5.1 surround sound by the same production team that supervised the ambitious stereo restoration for the group's masterpiece, Pet Sounds. That evident, and admirable, care does raise a possible cavil for fans who revere the lush, mostly mono approach integral to Brian Wilson's own production style: in attempting to reassign tracks to display the full surround array, there's a tradeoff in terms of impact and coherence. We also found that certain DVD players may experience a slight dropout on the very entrances of the 5.1 audio tracks. --Sam Sutherland

Special Features

  • Track Listing: All Alone, All I Have To Do Is Dream, All I Wanna Do, Cool Cool Water, Long Promised Road, Loop De Loop, Sail On Sailor, Surf's Up, The Night Was So Young, Til I Die, Back In The U.S.S.R., Barbara, California Saga: California, Brian's Back, Cotton Fields, California Girls, Darlin', Do It Again, Friends, Fun Fun Fun, God Only Knows, Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Heroes And Villians, I Get Around, I Just Wasn't Made, In My Room, Kiss Me Baby, Little Deuce Coupe, Our Prayer, Wonderful, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Do Ya Wanna Dance, Endless Harmony, Good Timin', Happy Days, Sloop John B, I Can Hear Music, Kokomo, Soulful Old Man Sunshine, Surfer Girl, Surfin', Surfin' Safari, Surfin USA, The Things We Did Last Summer
  • Five DVD-only Bonus Video Clips: Surfin' USA/Things We Did Last Summer, Little Deuce Coupe, In My Room, Sloop John B, Friends
  • Seven DVD-only Bonus 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio Mixes: California Girls, Kiss Me Baby, God Only Knows, Surf's Up, Long Promised Road, Sail On Sailor, Do It Again
  • Features Never-Before-Seen Archival Footage

Product Details

  • Actors: The Beach Boys
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Color, Dolby, Full Screen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Capitol Records / EMI
  • DVD Release Date: March 14, 2000
  • Run Time: 141 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RETT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,641 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. Langan on March 6, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This documentary features interviews from Brian, Alan, Mike, Bruce, and some older footage of the late brothers Carl and Dennis (and Hal Blaine, David Marks, and Glenn Campbell all of whom were involved in the Beach Boys' circle).
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)!
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Worth watching for the rich array of audio/video clips and stories from throughout the years. The soundtrack, too, offers some little-known gems such as Dennis Wilson's "Barbara."
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.
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Format: DVD
After years of slipshod hits packages and 2 excellent boxed sets, Tje Beach Boys have finally sat down and talked two interviewers about their career an why they love what they do. It features interviews with all 6 Beach Boys (Brian included), as well as musical historians and their many associates.
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.
Anthony Nasti
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Format: DVD
Endless Harmony is a 2-hour (almost) everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-the-Beach-Boys extravaganza. While it occasionally drags and loses direction, the strength of the story was compelling enough for this viewer, who grew up listening to their music.
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.
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