Being neither a life-long surf-rock group, nor a one-hit wonder, The Beach Boys are one of America’s most succesful bands and quite possibly my all-time favourite group. This short essay will represent nothing other than me desperately trying to turn you, dear reader, into a fan. Or, to be more realistic, to point you towards their music – which is the thing that will ultimately make you decide whether you like them or not.
The band has been active for over 50 years now, a period of time over which they found themselves in the strangest situations, often struggling between tops and bottoms of the charts, commercial success and artistic integrity, personal life and the music itself. This rich history generated lots and lots of interesting music, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes downright weird – all situated in their vast 29-albums discography. So, without further ado, here are the reasons:
1.The variety of their music. Surf, pop, rock, psychedelic, soul, sunshine pop, R&B, progressive, synth pop, folk; you name it – the band has done it at one point in their life. A particular era that desperately needs attention when mentioning variety, is ’67-’73, also known by the fans as the creative, group-collective years. The boys’ early-singles-generated success was quickly fading and so was their leader’s, Brian Wilson’s will to participate with more than the occasional songs for the group. So they simply tried anything to make things work. All of the Beach Boys members developed individual artistic personalities in one way or another, and the band simply shuffled through genres, subject matters and musical ideas even more than Lady Gaga does through outfits. Which brings me to my main point: there definitely is something that suits you in their vast catalogue. If you’re telling me that you dig 60’s rock music, but don’t like anything by The Beach Boys, with all due respect, I’ll just assume that you haven’t explored their albums well enough.
2.Their story. Rock critic Lester Bangs once called The Beach Boys “a diseased bunch of motherfuckers” and I find this quote painfully true. When asked to shortly describe the history of the boys’ personal lives, a fan would have absolutely no clue where to start from, let alone make it short and concise. Over the 50 years, the band have gone through so many tragedies and dark times, that phrases such as “mental disease”, “abusive father”, “drugged by his psychiatrist”, “Charles Manson“, “fights” “drug addict”, “alcoholic”, “drowned”, “cancer” or “abandoned masterpiece” would definitely not seem out-of-place. A very nice Beach Boys fan who got me into the band in the first place once brilliantly said that if somebody would go to a movie director with the band’s history as his screen-play, it would be, within minutes, dismissed on the motive that it’s all too unlikely to happen (I don’t have an exact quote, but it something along those lines). So what does this have to do with their music? Nothing, really. However, it may work as a vehicle, and perhaps some of you will get into the band through their story. Hey, at least it worked for me!
3.Pet Sounds. I know, I know, fans will violently argue that this is not the only Beach Boys album that needs to be owned. And hey, I couldn’t agree more. But if you’re ever deciding to take my (a snotty 18-year old kid who knows shit about music!) advice on anything, here it is: GET THIS ALBUM. Whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever your favourite music is, rush to your local record shop, or open your favourite torrent site, and go for this album. It not only got me into The Beach Boys, but it also changed my life. And it might just change yours.
P.S. Feel free to ask me anything regarding the band’s discography – I’d be happy to suggest other albums and songs or information about those if anyone’s interested.
Categories: 3 Reasons Why You Should Listen to a Band