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Author Topic: Why do The Beach Boys have anonymous bandmembers to the public at large?  (Read 8596 times)
filledeplage
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« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2013, 01:45:27 PM »

Evidence of how fungible the members of the Beach Boys were is that they had no problem issuing an album in 1965, Summer Days, in the midst of their hot streak, without Al on the cover. Yeah, I know about him stricken with the "flu bug." i find it interesting that they took photos during the cover sessions on the boat with Bruce. Can you imagine the Beatles putting out an album at the time without George on the cover? I think the anonymous nature of the group members was a function of Murry's light touch as manager. The emphasis was on the Wilson brothers, his kids. Also, the plain truth is that, unlike the four Beatles, the five Beach Boys were not each dynamic, likable personalities. Didnt make much of an impression on fans.
Fungible is probably not a term I'd assign to them. Fungible generally connotes some commodity such as grain, or money. One dollar bill is the same as the next.  They have pretty distinct personalities, and talents.  Who knows why the cover was released without Al? The Beatles didn't do the hands-on work that the BB's did.  Bands often wore "uniforms" to distinguish them from other bands, and even the Beatles had a "suit" phase, and they seemed to move away from that contemporaneously.  If I remember, one of the Beatles wore a white suit on Abbey Road, a while after the BB's had been wearing those suits, likely the influence of Carnaby St.  

And, I beg to differ. With the exception of Carl, who was really a kid, in the early days, in the shadow of the older guys by about six years, and they all had a personality, especially Mike and Dennis.  Al was a folkie, with that laid-back folkie personality.  And Brian didn't seem to have a hard time telling an emcee of a TV show, what they were working on and what inspired whatever song they were going to sing.  Some stuff is hard to find on YouTube, but there is enough to see differences among them.  They didn't get the "from without" press, as much as the Beatles, except they were around longer.  They had a "sound" that was cohesive, but that doesn't mean they had no personalities off-stage.   Wink
Well, we know that they had personalities. But why would the general public care? Did they care about the personalities of the members of the Dave Clark 5? Tommy James and the Shondells? The Four Tops?

It took until the late 60's/early 70's before there was enough of an active rock press to publicize the individual members of rock groups, and by then, for the Beach Boys, it was 9/10 Brian the genius, 1/10 Dennis and his Manson connection. And by the 80's the Beach Boys might have as well been the Andrews Sisters -- an overall name, and the music attached to that name. No one cared whether Mike was going through a divorce, or whether Al had an opinion about Walter Mondale.
The Carl of the early 60's was not the same guy when arrested for Draft Dodging.  He became known for his position and it was front page news.  And, similarly situated individuals wanted to hear news of his progress with the case.  My first BB concert was the same week Carl was arrested.  The press gave these band lots of press in the late 60's.  They were consumers, and on the cusp of voting.  The demographic was changing.

The competition in music was fierce, and survival was the name of the game.  Press was paying attention to the Vietnam War.  The music was the emerging vehicle for activism. But there were were a number of one hit wonders.

Dennis was the king of American drummers.  And, after 1965 or so, Brian wasn't on the road.  They weren't the Andrews Sisters.   Wink
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Cyncie
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« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2013, 02:44:15 PM »

I don't think, growing up as a regular music fan in the 60's and 70's , that I knew the names of all the band members of any band I liked. I listened to the radio, bought the records, but didn't necessarily "follow" the band. And yet, I knew all of the Beatles. It all comes down to what sells and awareness is a matter of publicity level and hype. You really couldn't escape the Beatles. I really think they were the exception rather than the rule for me and most of my friends.

Bands were generally whole entities. But, "Hard Days Night," "Help" and "Yellow Submarine" plus Tiger Beat and other teen mags fueled the Beatlemania engine and created sort of manufactured public personas for the individual Beatles: Paul was the cute one, Lennon was the rebel, George was the mystic and Ringo was the lovable dork. Most bands didn't get that kind of PR. Aside from some of the key members, you didn't get so many teen idols from most bands.

It's funny that Brian, the shyest of the boys, has emerged as the current media darling. I guess, in the long run, the public loves a comeback story.
They were hardly "anonymous." During that era, not unlike baseball cards, which were originally "cigarette cards" used to stiffen cigarette packs, post the Civil War era, when the cigarette roller machine was invented. This was as a result of no more slaves to pack tobacco products. (Just for background.)

Bubble gum replaced tobacco products for these collector cards, and there were Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys and Dave Clark Five in bubble gum packs.  And the ladies knew who the band members were.  We swapped these cards. Tiger Beat magazine, and the rest, of these magazines targeted to  teeny bopper and pre-teen crowd were marketed heavily as these guys appeared on black and white TV on Ed Sullivan and other variety shows.  

Oh, we knew who the band members were.  They were never anonymous.  LOL

But, the premise of the thread is about why the "public at large" never came to know the individual members. Not big time fans. I was young when the Beatles and the Beach Boys were at their height. I wasn't a teen and wasn't in the position to follow them as a real fan. I knew the bands as whole entities because of airplay on the radio and appearances on TV, but the only band I could actually name individual members of was the Beatles.  That was down to the publicity blitz that surrounded Beatle mania.

I guess at some point I became a card carrying, swooning, Tiger Beat buying preteen, but by then the idols had changed to the Monkees, David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman. And, yeah. I knew who they all were.  Not so much the bands. But, by then, I was no longer the "public at large" and was a tween/teen fan girl of the latest crazes. I'm guessing the "public at large" weren't as aware of these guys as I and my friends were.

I guess a modern equivalent would be One Direction. I know who they are. I know they're a band and that they are hot right now with the kiddos. I have no idea who the individual guys are.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 02:50:36 PM by Cyncie » Logged
filledeplage
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« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2013, 04:00:50 PM »

I don't think, growing up as a regular music fan in the 60's and 70's , that I knew the names of all the band members of any band I liked. I listened to the radio, bought the records, but didn't necessarily "follow" the band. And yet, I knew all of the Beatles. It all comes down to what sells and awareness is a matter of publicity level and hype. You really couldn't escape the Beatles. I really think they were the exception rather than the rule for me and most of my friends.

Bands were generally whole entities. But, "Hard Days Night," "Help" and "Yellow Submarine" plus Tiger Beat and other teen mags fueled the Beatlemania engine and created sort of manufactured public personas for the individual Beatles: Paul was the cute one, Lennon was the rebel, George was the mystic and Ringo was the lovable dork. Most bands didn't get that kind of PR. Aside from some of the key members, you didn't get so many teen idols from most bands.

It's funny that Brian, the shyest of the boys, has emerged as the current media darling. I guess, in the long run, the public loves a comeback story.
They were hardly "anonymous." During that era, not unlike baseball cards, which were originally "cigarette cards" used to stiffen cigarette packs, post the Civil War era, when the cigarette roller machine was invented. This was as a result of no more slaves to pack tobacco products. (Just for background.)

Bubble gum replaced tobacco products for these collector cards, and there were Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys and Dave Clark Five in bubble gum packs.  And the ladies knew who the band members were.  We swapped these cards. Tiger Beat magazine, and the rest, of these magazines targeted to  teeny bopper and pre-teen crowd were marketed heavily as these guys appeared on black and white TV on Ed Sullivan and other variety shows.  
Oh, we knew who the band members were.  They were never anonymous.  LOL
But, the premise of the thread is about why the "public at large" never came to know the individual members. Not big time fans. I was young when the Beatles and the Beach Boys were at their height. I wasn't a teen and wasn't in the position to follow them as a real fan. I knew the bands as whole entities because of airplay on the radio and appearances on TV, but the only band I could actually name individual members of was the Beatles.  That was down to the publicity blitz that surrounded Beatle mania.

I guess at some point I became a card carrying, swooning, Tiger Beat buying preteen, but by then the idols had changed to the Monkees, David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman. And, yeah. I knew who they all were.  Not so much the bands. But, by then, I was no longer the "public at large" and was a tween/teen fan girl of the latest crazes. I'm guessing the "public at large" weren't as aware of these guys as I and my friends were.

I guess a modern equivalent would be One Direction. I know who they are. I know they're a band and that they are hot right now with the kiddos. I have no idea who the individual guys are.
Exactly for the reasons you just enumerated.  The Monkees, and the bands became entities. People knew the Monkees. Weekly show, big promos.  It was too late for me, a second-generation fan.  We discussed the music in high school and weren't reading Tiger Beat any longer.  And, looking in music for a "message" such as with Buffalo Springfield who toured with the BB's.   We knew who those guys were. If people liked the albums well enough they looked on the back of the LP to figure it out. I think it went from "amusement" to a "work-in-progress" for protest and picked up where the folk singers who cultivated enormous power with PBS, left off or who were leading the way with music activism. Another exception was the Cowsill band.  People knew who they were.  Not many escaped the "entity" anonymity.

What I think is that generally, the public knew who Dennis Wilson, Brian, and Mike were, and from there, read about Carl in the media, and later Bruce with a Grammy, while on his sabbatical.  And, Al from Rhonda.  I have no idea about One Direction.  My kids are older, and have figured out what they like.  As preteens, I guess that I would know what they were buying as CD's.  And bringing one of my sons to a Smashing Pumpkins concert, about an hour away, killing time, shopping, and telling that one (and his friend) to stay away from the "mosh pit." Ya, right.   LOL

NKOTB became like the Beatles, again.  The kids knew who they were, by name and promo stuff. 
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clack
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« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2013, 07:08:03 PM »

The Beach Boys did get their portion of Tiger Beat features, and Dennis I guess did flutter his share of 12 year old hearts, but he was no Peter Noone.

Carl's draft problems did make the news, but it didn't make him a media personality. DJs playing Beach Boy songs on the radio would occasionally mention Brian's name. Brian was the "star".

Why are fairground and seaworld audiences willing to accept Mike and Bruce as "the Beach Boys"? Same reason they accept "the Grass Roots" or "Herman's Hermits". Those audiences are hicks.
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« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2013, 10:10:32 PM »

The only bands where all the members personas mattered much was the Beatles and to a lesser extent, the Who.

Kiss
the Monkees
the Bee Gees
Led Zeppelin (with John Paul Jones as the other guy)
Abba
the Eagles (almost)
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Kiss I'll grant, and the Bee Gees too. CSNY by design is that sort of band. Abba, I know none of their names, just the blonde and the brunette, although I like their music for what it is. The Eagles...sorta. The Monkees I'll also grant.

Led Zep you are right about but their massive amounts of plagiarism has tainted them to me, even though I think Jimmy Page is a really funky guitar player and a good produicer. I was one of those Zep kids when I was a teenager, but I've lost some respect for them as I've gotten older.

Really the only band where every member was vital and they couldn't exist without the full original lineup was the Beatles.
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« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2013, 10:23:36 PM »

The only bands where all the members personas mattered much was the Beatles and to a lesser extent, the Who.

Kiss
the Monkees
the Bee Gees
Led Zeppelin (with John Paul Jones as the other guy)
Abba
the Eagles (almost)
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Kiss I'll grant, and the Bee Gees too. CSNY by design is that sort of band. Abba, I know none of their names, just the blonde and the brunette, although I like their music for what it is. The Eagles...sorta. The Monkees I'll also grant.

Led Zep you are right about but their massive amounts of plagiarism has tainted them to me, even though I think Jimmy Page is a really funky guitar player and a good produicer. I was one of those Zep kids when I was a teenager, but I've lost some respect for them as I've gotten older.
Agreed about Led Zeppelin. The plagiarism has ruined their reputation for me, and those arrogant hardcore Zeppelin fans piss me off to an extent where I just can't listen to Zeppelin anymore.
With Kiss, the drummer is forgetful.
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« Reply #31 on: November 16, 2013, 10:33:46 PM »

The only bands where all the members personas mattered much was the Beatles and to a lesser extent, the Who.

Kiss
the Monkees
the Bee Gees
Led Zeppelin (with John Paul Jones as the other guy)
Abba
the Eagles (almost)
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
With Kiss I think the drummer is the other guy. I'm not a Kiss fan, but I know just Gene, Paul and Ace.
With ABBA I seriously don't think so. Other than that, I think you're right

At the height of their career, Peter Criss was more popular than Ace.  He not only had the easiest identity to figure out (a cat compared to a "demon", "star child", and "space ace") but he also sang two of their biggest hits ("Beth" and "Hard Luck Woman"). 

As for Abba, being from the U.S. and considering how big they are overseas, I thought they might be household names there.  I guess it's not the case. 

And Zeppelin is what it is.  I'm not a fan but that doesn't matter in terms of this discussion.

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Alan Smith
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« Reply #32 on: November 16, 2013, 11:04:11 PM »


But, the premise of the thread is about why the "public at large" never came to know the individual members...

The premise of the thread is about why the "public at large" never came to know the individual members from the bands inception onwards - and, I don't think that's an established/establishabe fact, it's an opinion that can be countered by ancedotal and hard evidence.

I think knowledge of the BB's membership, and many bands, was diluted the longer they stuck around, especially as the BB's split into a distinctly recording versus distinctly touring entities, and as members.  Especially when they all went mega-beard during the '70s, how the hell could you tell anyone from anyone?

I would also suggest the definition of what constitues a big time BB fan has shifted (and will continue to shift) a fair bit through the BB's career; in the eyes of the band and the fan community at large.

Personally, I was a bit taken aback by how many of my fellow Australians attended the C50 gig to seemingly hear Kokomo - but the same crowd were enthusiastic in greeting the lesser known members and were reverently aware of who Carl and Denny were during the tribute videos.

And, Bill F - I didn't notice George Harrison on the cover of the White Album  LOL.  Having said that, Bruce Johnston has noted (several times) that Paul Macca told the BB's to take more care with their album covers; an indicator of the long-term contribution of product-packagin to maintaining a band identity.
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bluesno1fann
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« Reply #33 on: November 16, 2013, 11:40:19 PM »

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Micha
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« Reply #34 on: November 20, 2013, 05:09:46 AM »

The emphasis was on the Wilson brothers

On Brian Wilson alone, I'd say. Here in Germany you could even take ten strangers from the street, ask them if they knew who Brian Wilson was, and none of them would.
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« Reply #35 on: November 20, 2013, 05:56:09 AM »

The Beach Boys did get their portion of Tiger Beat features, and Dennis I guess did flutter his share of 12 year old hearts, but he was no Peter Noone.

Carl's draft problems did make the news, but it didn't make him a media personality. DJs playing Beach Boy songs on the radio would occasionally mention Brian's name. Brian was the "star".

Why are fairground and seaworld audiences willing to accept Mike and Bruce as "the Beach Boys"? Same reason they accept "the Grass Roots" or "Herman's Hermits". Those audiences are hicks.

"Hicks" as you say, is a pejorative term represent a "Midwest Farmer's daughter" (son) demographic that was envisioned by the band from the "inclusiveness" of fanbase lyrically.   There was a focused intended purpose in them.  The car thing targeted a non-coastline dynamic and the girl-boy theme appears universal.  They are not a one-trick pony.  I highly doubt that even songs such as "Back Home" envision a solely and wholly urban connotation.  It seems so intolerant and I'm a dyed-in-the-wool city girl.  I just saw my first country fair show a couple of months back, and have seen some of the big bands in Disney. (not the BB's unfortunately)  Even Carl and Brian have said they wanted to appeal to fans, from all walks of life.  Mike put that philosophy to work, lyrically.

Brian was not the star.  That is revisionist.  As I've said earlier, I'm a "second generation" fan.  I never saw Brian for twenty years, not once, between 1967-1987, when I think he was with good old Doc Landy, and came onstage for a few songs, then for the encore. Then, not until Brian toured solo, after Carl died.   

The BB's were an entity, but, by that time people got to know the members as a result of activism, with Carl, and the usual Tiger Beat drivel, but they never got the constant attention of a Peter Noone because there was this seemingly endless industry compulsion to market the "latest flavor" of musical heartthrob.  Davy Jones, Peter Noone, etc. 

The BB's had an "endurance" factor that over-swept them all.  They definitely were in the top three bands with the Beatles and the Stones, but as each new "star" was created, those guys got the press, with the "dolls/action figures"  LOL and the whole soup-to-nuts menu.  The Pet Sounds factor weighed in large, even then, because of its' sustainability.  Many of those other bands, I consider those guys "oldies bands" (Monkees, Herman's Hermits, etc.) but never the Beach Boys, in any configuration.  Brian's band, Al's band, or the Touring Band.  JMHO  Wink

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« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2013, 08:07:40 AM »

Brian was not the star.  That is revisionist.

I don't think it's revisionist. Look at the Today! cover and read closely, listen to Mike's introduction of the live Graduation Day...
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« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2013, 08:30:42 AM »

Brian wasn't there when the band opened for the Grateful Dead and the Beach Boys got a good reception. Do people think Grateful Dead fans are hicks? Granted, that Beach Boys didn't play Kokomo, but the point it, they did okay for decades without his presence in their live act. I don't think people gave it a lot of thought, if they even knew who Brian was.
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« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2013, 08:57:33 AM »

'Caroline No' was released as a Brian solo record.

 Radio DJs occasionally introduced a Beach Boy record as being "Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys", just like they did Frankie Valli with the 4 Seasons, Eric Burden with the Animals, Diana Ross with the Supremes, before those groups changed their names officially.

Brian was the "star" 1963-67, and especially after Pet Sounds. People who listened to top 40 radio knew his name, and they probably didn't know the name of Al Jardine or Mike Love. Even in the 70's, when they were opening up for the Grateful Dead and Brian wasn't onstage, the cult of Brian the genius figured highly in the musical press. It was Brian that Rolling Stone put on the cover.
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« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2013, 08:58:56 AM »

Brian was not the star.  That is revisionist.

I don't think it's revisionist. Look at the Today! cover and read closely, listen to Mike's introduction of the live Graduation Day...
Just for some context of this thread, on Roku, I watched a Time-Life (promo video) channel with Mickey Donlenz hosting,  video, of a lot of these groups, who wore "uniforms" as part of their performances, and most of them had a similar suit, or shirt which sort of identified them to an "entity" not exactly rendering them anonymous, but, still to remove confusion about identity.  It does serve a purpose.  They didn't need that thing after a while, after they all became famous.  Even the Beatles had a suit that looked identical.  

Brian, became "conspicuous by his absence" and, myths evolved as to the reasons for his absence from the road, SMiLE becoming an evolving question, as to "when" was it being released.  (I had some fun with one of my kids, the youngest who was a sophomore in high school, while driving him to school, and I told him that I waited since I was a "sophomore in high school" for SMiLE to be released. )  He used to do the Mrs. O'Leary's Cow imitation all the time and found it hilarious.
That said, the Brian mystique I think was a function of "absence making the heart grow fonder" and the concept of Brian holding back the release.  

And, I think the real explosion of super star status came forth when the public saw him emerge after Carl's death, almost like a man who had walked though fire and was still standing.  I mentioned that I didn't see him from 1967-1987 and then not until around the Pet Sounds tour.  It worked for him.  Now, you mention Mike's intro, and of course the guys in the band, knew that his work was cutting edge.  But, it seemed to take a really long time for the public to get beyond not seeing him.  I just accepted that he was writing.  And the touring band were "out there" competing for audiences among the music explosion.

And the Boys' concerts were just extraordinary, so if Brian was writing for them to perform this stuff, fine by us.  Once Brian was solo, there was press coverage, and people got "to know" the composer who was in "the shadows" emerge in triumph.  Then, he was a superstar, with an interesting story to tell, from a new perspective. The real "solo" Brian was on the Leonard Bernstein special from 1967, when he did Surf's Up.  Before the VCR!  LOL

But I think it is sustainability factor, that his and their work has achieved "classic" status.  Not every band enjoyed that status.  In a sense they made each other successful. The live touring kept Brian's name out there, when they didn't have him on the road.  And, he was there for them, working on new music.  But, if you check out that Time Life promo, you can see how fierce the competition and the talent was on the scene at the time.   Wink
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« Reply #40 on: November 21, 2013, 10:39:53 AM »

There's a difference between stars with the public at large and people who get written about. "Pet Sounds" wasn't a big hit album, and at that point in history, it was mostly the Beatles that dominated the album market. Album oriented rock was a couple of years or so away.  Rolling Stone magazine wasn't around yet when "Pet Sounds" was released, either. Some fans read magazines, most do not. Or they would read something like "Hit Parader," which was about Top 40 singles hits and had the song lyrics of same printed in there, along with a few softball articles. Brian Wilson had and still has a cult, but he doesn't have the mainstream recognition of the public at large that bought millions of Beach Boys' singles early in their career, or bought "Endless Summer" later. Or they know who he is and what he did, but it didn't matter that he wasn't in the live band. Whereas I would think the public at large would have had a problem if even Ringo was missing from a Beatles' line-up.
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« Reply #41 on: November 25, 2013, 05:58:31 AM »

Do people think Grateful Dead fans are hicks?

From my experience, yes. A lot of mystical romantics who live in rural areas seem to be their biggest fans (ie: Madeline Island Wisconsin or Grand Marais Minnesota). Second to those folks seems to be white corporate sales reps acting like they are loose and free (but really are controlling sociopaths). Last, they seemed to attract swingers and perverts hoping to get some action (under the guise of really liking GD concerts). Yes, these are my experiences with GD fans. I apologize if this offends any GD fans in advance.  angel
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« Reply #42 on: November 25, 2013, 09:48:37 AM »

'Caroline No' was released as a Brian solo record.

 Radio DJs occasionally introduced a Beach Boy record as being "Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys", just like they did Frankie Valli with the 4 Seasons, Eric Burden with the Animals, Diana Ross with the Supremes, before those groups changed their names officially.

Brian was the "star" 1963-67, and especially after Pet Sounds. People who listened to top 40 radio knew his name, and they probably didn't know the name of Al Jardine or Mike Love. Even in the 70's, when they were opening up for the Grateful Dead and Brian wasn't onstage, the cult of Brian the genius figured highly in the musical press. It was Brian that Rolling Stone put on the cover.
I think saying he was the "star" is revisionist. He was the acknowledged "leader" and that's a whole different thing. Anytime a "leader' was mentioned it was Brian for sure. But in the rise to fame and Beach Boys "mania" days of 63 - 65 Dennis was the closest thing they had to a star. Just read the concert reviews and press accounts from those days and it's mentioned over and over again that Dennis was the most popular with the audiences (yes a majority of them were teen girls, who were also the majority who bought the records and made them hits). I was around back then and I remember the BB's everybody knew were Dennis, Brian and Mike...in that order. I've been told by multiple family, label and management sources, and you can also find mention of this in the early to mid '60's press... that Dennis received as much fan mail as the rest of the group combined. Brian himself recounts being knocked aside by fans trying to storm the stage to get to Dennis. watch the TAMI show or Xmas '64 Shindig footage...the camera lingers on Dennis the most  and it's not an accident, its a direction by the director. Because back then the star was Dennis. Not the leader, that was Brian. Not the front man, that was Mike. But in '64, if you polled BB's fans...whether hardcore or casual...Dennis would have been the Beach Boy with the highest name recognition.
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« Reply #43 on: November 25, 2013, 10:07:11 AM »

As one of those teen girls "back in the day," I agree 100% with Jon's assessment. DW was indeed the man we screamed for.

However, I learned early on who all the BBs were and knew that Brian was the principal songwriter and producer for the band. It wasn't until the mid-'60s that the media focus shifted to Brian. That was at least partly due to Derek Taylor's p.r. Taylor's hype-heavy style of writing backfired on me (independently of content), and it worked, unfairly, to the detriment of the other band members, imho.


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« Reply #44 on: November 25, 2013, 11:34:44 AM »

This topic brings up something I'd often wondered: On a few occasions I've read things where Brian says he was driving around with VDP, or someone, and this thing I read said they'd go to a drive-through to get a burger, or something. Whenever I read that I wondered, did anyone at these drive-throughs ever recognize him?

In a way it must have been kinda nice to be so wealthy and "well-known" but still have lots of anonymity. The Beatles went through hell because they couldn't go anywhere without half the population recognizing them and screaming/running after them. On the other hand, being a BB, if you wanted to you could still lead something kinda-sorta resembling a 'normal' life.
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ben plumbrook
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« Reply #45 on: November 25, 2013, 12:04:55 PM »

The Stones don't matter to most people past Mick and Keith
Correction: Mick and Brian

I'd say Keith is the most recognisable member.
Back at their height in the 60's, it was Mick and Brian. Only now it's Mick and Keith, and that's because Brian's dead. Still, Brian is quite popular to fans, albeit not so much the casual fans
Brian was great.
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ben plumbrook
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« Reply #46 on: November 25, 2013, 12:07:17 PM »

'Caroline No' was released as a Brian solo record.

 Radio DJs occasionally introduced a Beach Boy record as being "Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys", just like they did Frankie Valli with the 4 Seasons, Eric Burden with the Animals, Diana Ross with the Supremes, before those groups changed their names officially.

Brian was the "star" 1963-67, and especially after Pet Sounds. People who listened to top 40 radio knew his name, and they probably didn't know the name of Al Jardine or Mike Love. Even in the 70's, when they were opening up for the Grateful Dead and Brian wasn't onstage, the cult of Brian the genius figured highly in the musical press. It was Brian that Rolling Stone put on the cover.
I think saying he was the "star" is revisionist. He was the acknowledged "leader" and that's a whole different thing. Anytime a "leader' was mentioned it was Brian for sure. But in the rise to fame and Beach Boys "mania" days of 63 - 65 Dennis was the closest thing they had to a star. Just read the concert reviews and press accounts from those days and it's mentioned over and over again that Dennis was the most popular with the audiences (yes a majority of them were teen girls, who were also the majority who bought the records and made them hits). I was around back then and I remember the BB's everybody knew were Dennis, Brian and Mike...in that order. I've been told by multiple family, label and management sources, and you can also find mention of this in the early to mid '60's press... that Dennis received as much fan mail as the rest of the group combined. Brian himself recounts being knocked aside by fans trying to storm the stage to get to Dennis. watch the TAMI show or Xmas '64 Shindig footage...the camera lingers on Dennis the most  and it's not an accident, its a direction by the director. Because back then the star was Dennis. Not the leader, that was Brian. Not the front man, that was Mike. But in '64, if you polled BB's fans...whether hardcore or casual...Dennis would have been the Beach Boy with the highest name recognition.
Great post, too bad the Dennis 1964 image stuck. By 1968 he was doing so much more.
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #47 on: November 25, 2013, 01:09:29 PM »

This topic brings up something I'd often wondered: On a few occasions I've read things where Brian says he was driving around with VDP, or someone, and this thing I read said they'd go to a drive-through to get a burger, or something. Whenever I read that I wondered, did anyone at these drive-throughs ever recognize him?

In a way it must have been kinda nice to be so wealthy and "well-known" but still have lots of anonymity. The Beatles went through hell because they couldn't go anywhere without half the population recognizing them and screaming/running after them. On the other hand, being a BB, if you wanted to you could still lead something kinda-sorta resembling a 'normal' life.

Agreed 100%.

Partly due to this seeming "anonymity" issue that the bandmembers had/continue to have, I have experienced an unintended positive result (as a current-day fan), since I can have the pleasure of seeing someone like Al Jardine (or even BW) play solo shows at The Roxy without it being too much of a circus/hassle or costing too much, relative to if it were one of their '60s contemporaries like The Stones or The Beatles.  Even going to see Brian sign autographs at record releases (I went for Imagination in '98 and GIOMH in '04) was not too big of a deal to get into. Part of me wonders if Murry hadn't sold the catalog (and Brian had much deeper pockets), would he be this accessible in 2013?

Obviously, even though the BBs were once considered by many to be as popular, or in similar leagues to those bands, they sunk back from the stratosphere that they reached at their height, and this being the case has made it much more of a pleasure to be a fan. Compare to the utter circus that happens when 2013 Paul McCartney plays an outdoor set on Jimmy Fallon (I think that's what show he recently played on?)... I consider seeing BBs members performing to be as magical (or even more magical) an experience to see when compared to seeing a Stone or a Beatle play live, so this seems to work out well as a fan.
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« Reply #48 on: November 25, 2013, 01:14:30 PM »

Don't forget Larry King's great question on his show to Brian if at one time the Beach Boys went by "Glen Campbell and The Beach Boys".
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« Reply #49 on: November 25, 2013, 01:41:07 PM »

I think a good "anonymous" supergroup comparison to the Beach Boys is Pink Floyd. How many regular people know who Roger Waters or David Gilmour are, never mind Nick Mason or Rick Wright? And Floyd has had two of the biggest selling albums of all time in Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. Despite this, they were able to tour in the 1980s and 1990s to stadium size crowds without Roger Waters, their principal songwriter,
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