3 Reasons Why You Should Listen To The Beach Boys

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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.

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Categories: 3 Reasons Why You Should Listen to a Band

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20 replies

  1. I love this article and you make me feel a little bad for my lack of love for this band…I love the story and the journey, I even love the bare naked ladies “Brian Wilson” song…but I can’t seem to find a place in my heart for these fun- living surfers. But again…great article!

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    • Thanks for the compliments, and I’m mildly surprised to find out that you don’t like them (randomly shuffling through your blog gave me the impression that your tastes are really broad).

      I’d suggest giving a chance to a few albums from that ’67-’73 era that I mentioned in the article, if you haven’t already. ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Friends’ in particular are very easy-going and accessible, but at the same time, incredibly tuneful and hardly flawed.

      I would also suggest 1965’s ‘Today’, which is their transitional album – with a first side containing good-time rock ‘n’ roll numbers (no surfing), and the second, a series of impeccable, well-crafted ballads that show Brian way ahead of his time and pave the way for ‘Pet Sounds’.

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  2. Ovi, I couldn’t agree with you more regarding “Pet Sounds”. I always liked The Beach Boys but to be honest I never took them as seriously as The Beatles. But then I started reading different things about “Pet Sounds” and decided I should give it a listen. It took 3 or 4 times before it really grabbed me then all of a sudden it became one of those albums I couldn’t wait to hear when I got done at work. LOL It lead me to dig further into the stuff I’d never heard and to appreciate the familiar work even more. Nice blog, btw. I came here even though I wasn’t “bored beyond belief’. 😉
    Kelley (In My Life)

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  3. Enjoyed reading this. I’m like Wayne in not being a huge fan of the Beach Boys, although I do like much of the pre-Pet Sounds stuff. I’d choose Today! and Summer Days … as the albums I most like. Nice to see you holding the banner high for your favorites; we all have bands that we can’t help but believe EVERYBODY should dig!

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    • Thanks and I must say, you described me perfectly in that last sentence.

      I like early Beach Boys as well, especially ‘All Summer Long’ – which is the ultimate summer album for me, bar none.

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  4. Fantastic reasons to love a fantastic band…through 1972, anyway. Been listening to Dennis’ solo effort, Pacific Ocean Blue, lately and have to admit its as brilliant as…hey, wait a minute! You’re only 18? You have a fantastically sophisticated musical palate, my friend! Love the blog, looking forward to discovering other entries. If its all right, I’ll add a link over at my little blog (500 reasons…’80s didn’t suck) in the hope others will discover your site.

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    • There’s a lot of post-72 stuff I love – Holland, Love You, most of Light Album and some of M.I.U., 15 Big Ones and Keepin’ The Summer Alive as well. Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it. And of course I’d like you to link my blog from your website (I’m a bit confused though, when I click on your name it directs me to a blog called Uncle E’s Musical Nightmares, is that yours as well?).

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  5. Yes, that was my blog. It became too much, so now it’s just the 500 Reasons… Blog.

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  6. Why The Hell Are You guys Being so judgemental on the Beach Boys sonG’s meanings . All lyrics in music are just pretentious anyway . The Beatles music was even more pretentious… All they cared about was making Money . Brian Wilson was one of the most sincerest Guy’s in the Music business next to the The rolling stones And the folk music Acts like Bob dylan . The reason You cant understand Brian wilson’s heartfelt confessions in his music Is because You can never guess nor understand an artist’s feelings And never be able to experience what he went through in his life . You won’t find such sincerity In Any song like ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ Which is just mumbo jumbo . If you find Yourself unable to even enjoy The Beach Boys music let aLone the lyrics , You are just plain unlucky .

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    • Who are you directing this comment towards? I never once mentioned that I can’t relate to Brian Wilson’s music or anything even remotely similar – on the contrary, Beach Boys are my all-time favourite group and their music speaks to me on many, many levels. I feel your attitude towards Beatles is very ignorant and biased (“all they cared about was making money”…really?) which is kinda weird, since you seem to like the Beach Boys, the Stones and Dylan, all of which have many things in common with the Beatles. Sincerity is totally subjective – if Strawberry Fields Forever doesn’t speak to you, that’s completely fine, but I wouldn’t call it insincere. Many, many people have been able to relate to it for all these years now, so it must strike a chord in one way or another.

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      • It was a general comment towards all the People Who get over-hyped on Certain bands With lacklustre talent While Criticizing Talented groups like The Beach Boys. I am not denying The Beatles influence on music And i accept that they are talented But They Are Massively over-hyped in the sense That A lot of their Success owes to the Fact that they Had Very good marketing strategies And They Just Had the right conditions to succeed e.g. Having started in England. Compare that to a Band like The Beach Boys – Having started in California Gave them their identity … Yes thats true … But being in america made them Lose their importance later on…. While at the same time , they were still highly regarded in England …….. What i m trying to say Is A Part of the reason Why the Beatles became so popular Is they Had the right conditions To flourish Other Than being hard-working.

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    • Wow, “honestman”, so much wrong about what you’re saying I don’t know where to start. “That A lot of (The Beatles) Success owes to the Fact that they Had Very good marketing strategies And They Just Had the right conditions to succeed e.g. Having started in England.” What marketing strategy are you referring to? Developing their chops living out of a storeroom in a German strip club? Ed Sullivan? As far as the right conditions, “starting in England”, well, that’s just asinine. You say “being in America made (the Beach Boys) lose their importance”. They continued to release great album after great album during the ’60’s, and into the early ’70’s, but their early image haunted them throughout. A “psychedelic barber shop quartet”, as Hendrix used to call them (quite the compliment, in my opinion!).
      Not sure what you have against the Beatles. Maybe you should listen to songs like “My Life”, “Nowhere Man”, “Penny lane” and about 175 other worthwhile treasures from their justly lauded discography before you comment again. Oh, and please change your online handle to “Misinformed Man”, as well, please?

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  7. It’s okay if you don’t like The Beatles but saying that they weren’t hardworking is just a misrepresentation of the facts. They put in over 11,000 hours on stage in Hamburg alone.And that was before the advent of Beatlemania.

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    • Wowwww… I said The Beatles were hardworking … I Know about the 10000 hours Hamburg thing ….. I meant The Beatles Got on to be So Good because they had the right conditions to succeed along with them being hardworking . And The Hendrix comment about the Beach Boys – It is hard to know what was in Hendrix’s mind. All That can be assumed Was that Hendrix who himself was a studio producer was a fan of Brian Wilson ‘s 60s Studio production techniques.

      I Really love the beatles discography , no band can beat them ….. But What i meant by clever marketing strategies includes Hiding the level of involvement of George Martin , And a lot of other stuff – You know George Martin himself said The Beatles Will record a Bare-Bones Track And leave The production duties or to add new orchestral arrangements to George Martin… Whereas Brian WIlson Was the studio head …… What kind of a band could be called That great If they didnt have the sincerity To work till the end of their songs. And a lot of times iT was George martin who raised the level of the song . ….

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  8. Why the Beatles became so popular Is they Had the right conditions To flourish Other Than being hard-working
    I said The Beatles were hardworking .>>>

    When you said “other than being hardworking” that seems to imply that you feel they weren’t hardworking. I think that George Martin was a brilliant producer. The music would not have been the same without him. But The Beatles certainly had an ever-increasing hand in production and their contribution can not be diminished. It was a team effort. No one would ever argue that Brian Wilson is pure genius. I don’t think it’s a battle of the bands here; many people, myself included, love them both.

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  9. I need to get ‘The Smile Sessions’; it’s next on my wishlist 😉
    From the little I’ve heard of it, Love You sounds like an absolute banger as well. Need to get more into this band beyond just Pet Sounds 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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