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Author Topic: What are the top books/resources ever written/produced about the Beach Boys?  (Read 1604 times)
Smile4ever
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« on: July 30, 2017, 08:19:38 PM »

If someone wanted to get their hands on the best books ever written about the Beach Boys, what would you recommend? Are there any documentaries, films, or other resources that are considered essential?

I realized that I never recall a thread of this nature on this board (I'm sure there has been at some point). Thought I would get people's top picks.
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JK
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2017, 01:38:02 AM »

My three top books, on reflection, are Peter Ames Carlin's Catch a Wave, Kingsley Abbott's Back to the Beach and Doe & Tobler's Complete Guide.
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KDS
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2017, 05:24:19 AM »

If someone wanted to get their hands on the best books ever written about the Beach Boys, what would you recommend? Are there any documentaries, films, or other resources that are considered essential?

I realized that I never recall a thread of this nature on this board (I'm sure there has been at some point). Thought I would get people's top picks.

I'd recommend the Endless Harmony documentary. 

As far as films, Love and Mercy is very good. 

Carlin's book was mentioned, but I'd also recommend Jon Stebbins' Beach Boys FAQ book, as well as both Mike's and Brian's autobiographies that were released late last year (with Brian, make sure to get I Am Brian Wilson, not Wouldn't It Be Nice). 
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Ang Jones
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2017, 06:41:10 AM »

There are quite a few. The Beach Boys and the California Myth by David Leaf.  Inside the Music of Brian Wilson by Philip Lambert. The next one is fiction but so obviously based on Brian and so insightful - Paul Quarrington's Whale Music.

These are all particularly about Brian Wilson of course....
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 06:42:19 AM by Ang Jones » Logged
1-1-wonderful
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2017, 07:21:18 AM »

Where would one be able to see session sheets?
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Ang Jones
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2017, 08:02:33 AM »

Where would one be able to see session sheets?

I believe there are some in Look Listen Vibrate SMiLE by Domenic Priore...
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JK
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2017, 09:14:45 AM »

Where would one be able to see session sheets?

I believe there are some in Look Listen Vibrate SMiLE by Domenic Priore...

Yes, seven between pp. 146 and 162.

Abbott's The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds has four, on pp. 56, 58, 60 and 62.

And Mr. Badman has quite a bunch, between pp. 21 and 206.

Nothing like a little research with a glass or two of white wine... Grin    
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 02:57:16 PM by JK » Logged

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Gerry
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2017, 06:58:01 PM »

I really love David Leaf's book. It was the first serious book about Brian and the Beach Boys. It was like Christmas when it came in the mail. I read it in a day(unfortunately), but I have gone back through it quite a bit over the years.
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myonlysunshine
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« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2017, 05:20:24 PM »

As noted by others above, Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson by Peter Ames Carlin is fantastic. To me it's the best starting point for anyone who is interested in reading a chronological overview of Brian's life.

Becoming The Beach Boys 1961-1963 by James B. Murphy is one of the most incredible books on the band I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The amount of details crammed into it, especially given its relatively limited temporal focus, is absolutely insane.

Speaking of incredible books, The Beach Boys In Concert: The Ultimate History Of America's Band On Tour And Onstage, by Ian Rusten and Jon Stebbins is another amazing resource for anyone interested in the touring history of the band. It's more of a reference book/textbook than a book book, but it's really something else.

Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile! is another amazing work. Similar to the In Concert book, it's more of a scrapbook than a book book, but it's extremely enlightening if you're interested in learning more about how the band was viewed/what was being written about the band in the press leading up to, during, and after The Smile Sessions.

The Lost Beach Boy: The True Story of David Marks by Jon Stebbins is another one worth reading. It contains a lot of stories you won't find anywhere else, and the amount of details David provides about the period of time that he was in the band, and what he was up to before the band was formed and after he left it, makes it an extremely worthy entry into the Beach Boys literary canon.

Wouldn't It Be Nice: Brian Wilson and the Making of Pet Sounds by Charles Granta is a solid book/resource. My only issue with it is that I never felt like the book really explored what Brian was aiming to accomplish by making Pet Sounds, (aside from what is already well known) nor did it add to my appreciation of the album itself, but it does have a lot of really good insider information about how the album was composed and produced. Tony Asher provided his own recollections of what the composing process with Brian was like.

I haven't yet had the pleasure of reading Philip Lambert's Inside the Music of Brian Wilson, but I own the book and actually plan to start reading the book later tonight. From everything I've ever heard about it though, it's highly recommended.

I own The Beach Boys and the California Myth, but never got around to reading it beyond the first couple of chapters. One of these days I will finish it.

There are plenty of other great books worth reading too The Beach Boys FAQ: All That's Left To Know About America's Band by Jon Stebbins, Brian's recent autobiography/memoir, and from what I hear, The Real Beach Boy: Dennis Wilson by Jon Stebbins is great as well, although I haven't yet had the pleasure of reading it. But I feel like the books above are the cream of the crop when it comes to books written about the band.

Man... first post on this board in years, but I guess I'm back. I blame Sunshine Tomorrow. Grin
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GhostyTMRS
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« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 06:24:00 PM »


Becoming The Beach Boys 1961-1963 by James B. Murphy is one of the most incredible books on the band I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The amount of details crammed into it, especially given its relatively limited temporal focus, is absolutely insane.



I second that. This would be my #1 pick. Kind of like Lewisohn's Tune In for Beach Boys fans. 
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Smile4ever
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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 07:34:06 PM »


Becoming The Beach Boys 1961-1963 by James B. Murphy is one of the most incredible books on the band I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The amount of details crammed into it, especially given its relatively limited temporal focus, is absolutely insane.



I second that. This would be my #1 pick. Kind of like Lewisohn's Tune In for Beach Boys fans. 

Is it THAT good? Lewisohn's book is incredible.

I've considered that one, but wanted to hear what people thought about it.
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Love Thang
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« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2017, 08:12:35 PM »

Summer Dreams is an incredible movie. One of the best comedies of all time.

"Do I look like I'm going to hurt you brother?!"
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Joel Goldenberg
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« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2017, 11:33:14 AM »

Ah c'mon, the Murry Wilson performance in that movie is amazing!
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Joel Goldenberg
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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2017, 11:35:28 AM »

Summer Dreams is an incredible movie. One of the best comedies of all time.

"Do I look like I'm going to hurt you brother?!"
That may have actually been said.
http://www.historynet.com/encounter-when-dennis-met-charlie.htm
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HeyJude
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2017, 11:47:26 AM »

Summer Dreams is an incredible movie. One of the best comedies of all time.

"Do I look like I'm going to hurt you brother?!"
That may have actually been said.
http://www.historynet.com/encounter-when-dennis-met-charlie.htm

A quick Google search shows this back and forth is quoted in Bugliosi's "Helter Skelter" book, presumably based on Bugliosi's interview with Dennis.
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« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2017, 02:10:06 PM »

The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys, and the Southern California Experience by Timothy White is especially good for the Wilson family background.  It's easier to understand what made Murry Wilson do things that he did after reading this.  It also goes into detail about the surfing, car, and skateboarding cultures of Southern California.
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Dirtyfaz
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« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2017, 10:18:11 PM »

If you like "Becoming The Beach Boys 1961-1963" by James B. Murphy, then as an addition to that book which is equally as good and detailed is "INCEPTION AND CONCEPTION (FOURTH EDITION) 1961-1963 " By Stephen J McParland.
This fourth edition contain much new material and the detail within both of those books is a must for anyone wanting to know about the very early BBs. This fourth edition is part of Stephen's continuous upgrading since the first edition in 2011.

As an addition to Stephen's book comes INCEPTION AND CONCEPTION: THE (PHOTO) ALBUM

This 24 page PHOTO ALBUM is exactly that, pages and pages of photos, AFM contracts, record labels, picture sleeves and record album jackets; some of which can be found in THE BEACH BOYS 1961-1963: INCEPTION AND CONCEPTION - "From Hite Morgan To Nick Venet" and quite a few that can not.

This is simply an adjunct to the main book , supplying some extra images that I thought will add a little more information to those interested.

Both of Stephen's book are downloadable PDF file. The main book at $4.95 and the photo one at $1.

you can find them here   https://payhip.com/cmusicbooks

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Mr. Tiger
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« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2017, 01:49:30 PM »


Becoming The Beach Boys 1961-1963 by James B. Murphy is one of the most incredible books on the band I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The amount of details crammed into it, especially given its relatively limited temporal focus, is absolutely insane.



I second that. This would be my #1 pick. Kind of like Lewisohn's Tune In for Beach Boys fans. 

Interesting... like Lewisohn, does Mr. Murphy plan to tackle additional volumes?
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HeyJude
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« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2017, 02:35:16 PM »


Becoming The Beach Boys 1961-1963 by James B. Murphy is one of the most incredible books on the band I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The amount of details crammed into it, especially given its relatively limited temporal focus, is absolutely insane.



I second that. This would be my #1 pick. Kind of like Lewisohn's Tune In for Beach Boys fans. 

Is it THAT good? Lewisohn's book is incredible.

I've considered that one, but wanted to hear what people thought about it.

I'm sure one could nitpick whose writing style is better or smoother or whatnot, but essentially "Becoming the Beach Boys" is the closest we have to a Lewisohn-style tome on the Beach Boys, unfortunately one that ends in 1963.

For better or worse, I've never found the formative years of the BBs to be the *most* interesting era of the group, but Murphy's book makes it interesting (as some other books have, particularly of course the Marks/Stebbins biography) even for people who haven't been intensely into that early era.

Like Lewisohn, Murphy tackled his subject from the ground on up, not assuming previously-published sources to be infallible.

Also like Lewisohn's book, the only fault with Murphy's book is the pang of frustration you feel when it's over and you want it to continue. 
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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2017, 02:40:29 PM »


Becoming The Beach Boys 1961-1963 by James B. Murphy is one of the most incredible books on the band I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The amount of details crammed into it, especially given its relatively limited temporal focus, is absolutely insane.



I second that. This would be my #1 pick. Kind of like Lewisohn's Tune In for Beach Boys fans. 

Interesting... like Lewisohn, does Mr. Murphy plan to tackle additional volumes?

I'm not aware of any plans for Murphy to continue with additional volumes. That's not to say he doesn't have plans for another book on the group of some sort. But I got the sense the book started with his intense interest in the formative era of the group.

I think there would be a lot of challenges to writing about later eras of the group as opposed to the formative era. Interview subjects might not be as forthcoming about the dark years in the late 70s and early 80s, for instance.
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« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2017, 03:15:14 PM »

Even if he only took it to 1977, 1971, hell, even 1966-1967, that would still be great.
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petsoundsnola
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« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2017, 09:33:15 AM »

The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys, and the Southern California Experience by Timothy White is especially good for the Wilson family background.  It's easier to understand what made Murry Wilson do things that he did after reading this.  It also goes into detail about the surfing, car, and skateboarding cultures of Southern California.

I am currently reading this book for the first time.  It is extremely well done. 

Honestly, I must admit that I have been skipping sections when the author veers into history on a certain topic or person which doesn't hold my attention.  Clearly this book is well-researched and well-written.  However, I don't really need to know the family history of Dick Dale or Hite Morgan. 

I am still in the 1961 timeframe at the moment and well past 100 pages in.
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southbay
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« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2017, 11:17:56 AM »

I really love David Leaf's book. It was the first serious book about Brian and the Beach Boys. It was like Christmas when it came in the mail. I read it in a day(unfortunately), but I have gone back through it quite a bit over the years.

The Leaf book was re-issued with some updates in 1985.  The 85 version was the first book I ever read about the Beach Boys as I had just become a fan that summer with the Getcha Back single.  I remember reading it in one sitting.
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« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2017, 12:30:28 AM »

I really love David Leaf's book. It was the first serious book about Brian and the Beach Boys. It was like Christmas when it came in the mail. I read it in a day(unfortunately), but I have gone back through it quite a bit over the years.

The Leaf book was re-issued with some updates in 1985.  The 85 version was the first book I ever read about the Beach Boys as I had just become a fan that summer with the Getcha Back single.  I remember reading it in one sitting.
I read the first edition in the summer of 1980, and kept re-reading it until the 85 version came out. Really wished he had updated it again.
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