Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Beach Boys More Than 50 Years Of Making Magical Music...


Preface

Beach Boys member, David Marks, once said that Beach Boys music is the kind of upbeat music you want to listen to when you are driving down the coast, on a beautiful sunny day, in a convertible with the top down. The Beach Boys classics really are an Endless Summer.

I was born in San Francisco, California, and ever since I was a small child, I remember enjoying listening to the Beach Boys. I was deeply influenced by their music, and when I was in my early to middle teens I was really into the whole California Surfing lifestyle, and I was also a pretty hardcore skateboarder on the streets of San Francisco, as well as skating at the Winchester Skate Park down in San Jose, and I also spent time hanging out in Santa Cruz, and Malibu. 

So much of my personal identity is based in this California Surfer lifestyle. Wearing Vans, Surf Trunks, Hang Ten T-Shirts, Flip Flops, cut off jeans, boogie boarding, surfing, skating, were all a part of my idyllic California childhood.


Throughout my life, I recall making observations about the Beach Boys, and in particular, more than anything, enjoying their music, kind of like the Beatles, or the Rolling Stones.

The strange thing, is that if you asked me before I wrote this article, if I could name all the Beatles, it would have been a piece of cake: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Star, and George Harrsion. The Rolling Stones? Sure, I can name all the band members of the top of my head: Mick Jagger, Ron Wood, Kieth (Keef) Richards, and, Charlie Watts.





Now if you asked me before I wrote this article, how many Beach Boys I could name, my answer would be ZERO, which is bizarre because I know so many of their songs, just like I do with the Beatles and Stones.

So when I first began writing this article, it was because I noticed that when I watched the Beach Boys perform at the Grammy's in 2012, I noticed the lead singer (Mike love) was wearing a Rolex, even though I had no idea what his name was, and if I met him in person, I would have no idea who he was.




To make a long story short, and this is a really long and beautiful story I wrote, after I discovered that all the original Beach Boys wear Rolex watches, it really engaged and inspired me to learn and share much, much more, not so much because they wore Rolex watches, but when I started discovering and sharing music videos of their early performances, I became enamored, and in my typical OCD style, I wanted to learn and share everything I could about them, particularly because the deeper I dug, the more fascinated I became.




Even figuring out and trying to remember who the original band members were was challenging and confusing at first, which you can see be comparing the photo above with the photo below, and this was due to the fact they changed their looks so much, and The Beatles and Stones did not have that much turn over in their history, but the Beach Boys certainly did, which only added to the confusion. 




As I studied the Beach Boys history, I learned so many wonderful things about them, and I also learned a great deal about the many tragedies they experienced. Now that I feel like I got a grip on the Beach Boys, I am inspired to dig even deeper, so I have a feeling I will be updating this story many times in the future, and yes, now I can name all the 5 original Beach Boys off the top of my head: Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, as well as Bruce Johnston who joined the band in 1965, and David Marks who was an early member and left the band after he recorded the first five albums with the Beach Boys. 

I also learned that much of the Beach Boys band originality stemmed not so much from the band, but from what the public wanted them to be, and even the Beach Boys themselves bought into perpetuating this myth.


...Rolex Super-Coolness...


The Beach Boys
More Than 50 Years Of Making Magical Music
With Rolex Keeping Their Time

What do the Beach Boys and Rolex have in common? The are both highly iconic and timeless.  The Beach Boys are one of the most incredibly successful bands in history, with their unmistakably unique and iconic California Surf Rock Sound, comprised of fast-moving surf guitar, and amazing close vocal harmonies have become an indelible piece of American culture. 

The Beach Boys hold the record today for delivering more Top-40 American hits, than any other band in history, which has resulted in them having sold over 100 Million "Endless Summer" records during the past half-century. Some people refer to the Beach Boys as the American equivalent of the Beatles, or The Rolling Stones, but maybe it is the other way around. Maybe, the Beatles were the British equivalent of the Beach Boys?




The Beach Boys Band was formed in Southern California in 1961, and their amazing song harmonies are famous around the world with music listeners of all ages, from young children to people in their eighties. Today, at least four of the Beach Boys wear Rolex watches, which are every bit as timeless and classic as the amazing music they have shared with the world ever the past half-century!

This photo above and below show Beach Boys Founder, Brain Wilson in recent photos wearing his Rolex Submariner. Brian Wilson also wears a yellow gold Rolex Daytona (not pictured).


Brian Wilson is and extremely talented singer, songwriter, producer and musician. Chazz Palminteri once referred to Brian Wilson as being The Mozart of Pop, the Orsen Wells of Rock, and The Geroge Gershwin of his generation. This story, as you will learn, much later, is in many ways about Brian's amazing life journey, which recently and finally brought him back to where he began, in a Get Back To Where You Once Belonged, kind of way.


The Beach Boys were founded in 1961 in Hawthorne, California, and consisted of five original group members. Three of the original band members were brothers named, Brian (pictured above and below), Dennis, and Carl Wilson. The fourth Beach Boys member was a cousin of the Wilson brothers and his name was Mike Love. The fifth member of the band was named Al Jardine. 

There have been many changes to the membership of the Beach Boys over the last 52 years, but three of the original members are still in the band. This includes Brian Wilson (pictured above), Al Jardine (pictured below) and Mike Love (three photos down this page), and as you see in the photos in this story, all three founding members of the Beach Boys wear Rolex watches. Original Beach Boys drummer, Dennis Wilson died in a drowning accident in 1983, and his brother Carl Wilson passed away in 1998.

In this next photo below, we see original Beach Boys guitarist, Al Jardine also rockin' a yellow-gold Rolex Day-Date. 



In this next recent photo below we see Beach Boys, Bruce Johnston and Mike Love and and Bruce is wearing his yellow gold Rolex Day-Date. Bruce Johnston joined the beach boys on April 9, 1965, and he replaced Glen Campbell, who had been playing bass and singing Brian Wilson's vocals, while the Beach Boys traveled on the road. The first Beach Boys song Bruce sang on was "California Girls". So Bruce has been with the Beach Boys for 47 years. Bruce is also a famous songwriter, and wrote the megabit song performed by Barry Manilow, entitled "I Write The Songs".


In this next photo we see original Beach Boys founding member Mike Love, wearing his yellow gold Rolex Daytona. 


In this next photo taken at the 2012 Grammy Awards, we see Beach Boys lead singer, Mike Love sporting his yellow gold Rolex Daytona.





Beach Boys Grammy Tribute
2012 Grammy Awards Performance

The Beach Boy reunited for the first time with all the remaining original band members in over 20 years and played their first gig at the 2012 Grammy Awards, which ironically was the first time the ever played the Grammys in their 50 years history. 


The 2012 Grammy Awards featured an AMAZING Tribute To The Beach Boys, which began with Adam Levine and Maroon 5, then went to Foster The People, then the Beach Boys joined in. Adam Levine, the lead singer for Maroon 5 is pictured below as he opens up the Beach Boys tribute set, and notice he is sporting a vintage, 1970s stainless steel Rolex Daytona with the exotic white Paul Newman Dial, which is super cool!



The Beach Boys Mike Love came-in with the Beach Boys in the third song, and in the three following photos you can see Mike Love and Adam Levine sporting their Rolex Daytona sport watches. The irony, of course, is that Mike Love, who is much older than Adam Levine, is wearing a modern Rolex Daytona, and Adam Levine is wearing an old-school vintage Rolex Daytona.







The Video below showcases the whole Beach Boys Grammy 2012 Tribute, and I remember watching it live and it blew my mind!!! Just AMAZING!!! This event was seminal event in the history of the Beach Boys, since it was the first time they had all played together again in decades.





The Beach Boys
Live in 1964 & 1965

The following Beach Boys videos feature old-school Beach Boys from 1964 and 1965 and they are amazing! Just to make it easy to understand, the lead singer in the video below, is Mike Love, and in the video above, Mike is the one wearing the Beach Boys ballcap, standing next to Adam Levine. 

Brian Wilson is the tallest guy in the video below, and he is standing next to Mike Love. In the video above, he is the one sitting down at the keyboard. Al Jardine is the rhythm guitarist on the end opposite Mike Love, and in the video above, he is standing on the left of Brian Wilson.




Surfin USA was the Beach Boys first mega-hit, and it was more than just a song. It was an anthem for a new generation of American youth. This new anthem was rebellious, and filled with rugged individualism. Take for instance, the line that says "You tell the teacher were surfin. Surfin USA." 

It is also fascinating to consider that this song was written, recorded, and became a hit when JFK was still the president of the USA, which explains when it has all the idealism and enthusiasm of the early 1960s when anything seemed possible. Beach Boys leader, Brian Wilson wrote the words to Surfin USA, and added them on top of Chuck Berry's music to his song, "Sweet Sixteen."



If you think about it, the Beach Boys were really the first Boy Band. They were toping the charts before The Beatles, or The Rolling Stones, or The Who or The Bee Gees or The Kinks. When you each them in these videos, you see they really were still boys. 

Speaking of Boy bands, in the middle of the 1960, what was called The British Invasion began, which began with the Beatles, and included all the other Boy Bands, I mentioned above. Ironically, Beatlemania began, almost to the day, when U.S. President Kennedy was assassinated.


I argue that JFKs assassination had a devastating psychological effect on Americans, and American youth, in particular, became rebellious, and developed counter-culture behavior. British Invasion bands, like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones had been greatly inspired by earlier American Rock n' Roll and Blues legends. 

America's psychosis at the time rubbed off on British youth as well, and all of this culminated in the "Flower Power" movement of the late 1960s, in places like the San Francisco Haight Ashbury in 1968 during The Summer Of Love, and this movement really kind of peaked in 1969 at Woodstock.



The next video below is of a song recorded in 1964 by the Beach Boys, and it is one of my favorite Beach Boys songs. I couldn't find a live performance video of the original recording, so I am sharing this one. What a song!!!



Annette Funicello
1965

We can see the Beach Boys in the video below with, America's Sweetheart who was the Queen Of Surf Movies, Annette Funicello, as they play the opening set for the Walt Disney Movie, The Monkey's Uncle. Hey, Hey, we're the Monkees, and we don't Monkey around...Oops, right idea, wrong band ;-)




California Girls
1965

California Girls was originally released on the Beach Boys ninth album, entitled, Summer Days. It was written by Brian Wilson while he was tripping on LSD. Brian Wilson later said that California Girls was the Beach Boys Anthem, and in 1985 David Lee Roth made it another huge success when he covered it.



Good Vibrations
1966

Good Vibrations was released by the Beach Boys as a single in October of 1966. Good Vibrations was the first Beach Boys song to top the British charts. It was originally recorded as part of the Smile album sessions which were not released at the time.




Pet Sounds
1966

Pet Sounds was the name of an album released by the Beach Boys in mid 1966 which represented a radical departure from their classic California Surf sound. 



Pet Sounds was the Beach Boys eleventh studio album, and it is considered to be on of the most significant and influential records in the history of popular music. Fellow Beach Boy, Glenn Campbell sat in and played some of the guitar on Pet Sounds. 


The Beatles and The Beach Boys
Joint Inspiration

In a bizarre twist of fate, Brian Wilson was so inspired by the Beatles album, Rubber Soul, he said, "When I heard Rubber Soul, I was so blown away, I said to myself 'I want to make an album just like that.'" So Brian Wilson sat down and wrote "God Only Knows", almost as a response, which appeared on The Beach Boys album, Pet Sounds, and thus, the friendly rivalry between The Beach Boys and The Beatles began. Paul McCarntey, once said "The Beach Boys song, God Only Knows, is the greatest song ever written."

The Beatles heard Pet Sounds and were equally blown away, so John Lennon called up Brian Wilson on the phone and said, "Pet Sounds is the best thing I have ever heard!" The Beatles were so inspired by Pet Sounds, the Beatles incorporated many elements into their next album, Sergant Peppers, which was released in 1967. 

Beach Boys member Bruce Johnston, told a story about how when he was in London, hanging out with The Who's drummer, Keith Moon, Keith introduced Bruce to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and Bruce shared a recording of Pet Sounds with them, which was the first time Lennon and McCarney had ever heard it. 


Lennon and McCartney were so blown away with the Beach Boys song Wouldn't It Be Nice, they incorporated elements of it into their song Here, There And Everywhere into the Beatles Revolver Album which was released in 1966. Brain Wilson responded to Sergeant Pepper, by writing the Beach Boys album simply named, Smile, which was not released until close to 40 years later.

In this next two videos, we ironically see Rolling Stones, Ron Wood, interviewing the Beatles Paul McCartney, about the influence that Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys had on the him and The Beatles.










God Only Knows 
What I Would Be Without You
Brian Wilson & Paul McCartney

Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney first met in 1967 in Los Angeles, and ended up jamming all night together on guitars with some friends, and have been pals ever since. When they speak about each other, they always speak with absolute reverence for one another, and both of them are top singer/songwriter/musicians that collectively defined the same generation of Rock n' Roll.





Beach Boys Endless Summer
Greatest Hits from 1962 to 1966

When I was a kid, growing up in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Beach Boy Compilation Album, named Endless Summer was all the rage. It was basically a greatest hits album of all their pre-Pet Sounds songs recorded between 1962 and 1966. Looking at this album cover brings back some serious deja vu memories for me.



Do It Again
1967

The Beach Boys came out with a big hit in 1967 called Do It Again, which you can see below. It is a great upbeat song. Do It Again is an interesting song and in may ways it represents one side of the divided camp that divided the Beach Boys a the time. Specifically, there were two camps at the time, heading opposite directions. 

In the first camp, are the three Wilson brother, who according to Beach Boys singer and saxophone player, Mike Love, were really into drinking and drugs, and the Wilson brothers wanted to get away from the traditional upbeat "Endless Summer" California surf music lyrics, and wanted to experiment with lyrics, which Mike though made no sense, and would have a bad effect on record sales. Ironically, Brian Wilson had been working on his masterpiece album named, Smile at the time, and it was not released because their record company thought it would no be commercially successful. 

The video below represents, the other camp in the Beach Boys which consisted of Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Bruce Johnston, who were not into drugs, and thought the sound of the Beach Boys should remain consistent with their early hits.


When you watch the video above, from a fashion perspective, it is really amazing how much different the Beach Boys clothing and haircuts changed from only two years earlier in 1965, where they were still clean cut. In particular, it is incredible how much different Mike Love looks from only two years ago. He looks almost like a completely different person. The mid to late 1960s were a time of great change for American youth, both in terms of fashion and drugs. 


Spiritual High
1968

Beach Boys singer, Mike Love was not into drugs and drinking like the Wilson Brothers. In February, 1968 Mike Love went with the Beatles to join the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to study Transcendental Meditation on his idyllic mountain retreat in Rishekesh, India. Picture below we see Paul McCartney, with Donovan, Mia Farrow, George Harrison, Maharishi, Mike Love, and John Lennon.


While in India, The Beatles wrote, Dear Prudence, Back In The USSR, Blackbird, Rocky Raccoon, and Honey Pie. George Harrison wrote "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" at the same time.

Back In The USSR was a homage to the Beach Boys song, California Girls, and supposedly Mike Love worked on the Back In The USSR lyrics with The Beatles. The title Back In The USSR pays homage to Chuck Berry's Back In The U.S.A, and the chorus while the background vocals are a tribute to to the Beach Boys California Girls song. Mike Love said that in order to make Back In The USSR sound more like California Girls, he suggested to Paul McCartney to "talk about the girls all around Russia, the Ukraine, and Georgia" in the song lyrics. Mike Love continued "I was at the breakfast table when Paul McCartney came down with his acoustic guitar playing Back In The USSR. I said 'You ought to put something in about all the girls around Russia', and he did."


In 1984, in a Playboy interview, Paul McCartney talked about his inspiration for Back In The USSR and  said, "I wrote that as a kind of Beach Boys parody. And "Back in the USA" was a Chuck Berry song, so it kinda took off from there. I just liked the idea of Georgia girls and talking about places like the Ukraine as if they were California, you know? It was also hands across the water, which I'm still conscious of. 'Cause they like us out there, even though the bosses in the Kremlin may not. The kids from there do. And that to me is very important for the future of the race."


Beach Boys lead singer, Mike Love is pictured above and below in India with John Lennon.



Beach Boys lead singer, Mike Love is pictured  pictured below in India with George Harrison of the Beatles. Mike Love is still an avid practitioner of Transcendental Meditation (TM) today.


Below is another photo of Beach Boys singer, Mike Love is hanging out with George Harrison of the Beatles.


This next recent photo shows Mike Love with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. 




I Can Hear Music
1969

The Beach Boys covered the Ronettes 1966 song, I Can Hear Music, in 1969, and recorded the following music video performance. I Can Hear Music was released on the Beach Boys 20/20 Album which was released in 1969. After Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson seemed to lose interest in writing and producing music for the Beach Boys, so his younger brother, Carl Wilson took over as the lead singer and producer for the Beach Boys.



Beach Boys Jamming with Chicago
1974

This next video features the Beach Boys in 1974 singing backup harmony for Chicago in their famous song named Wishing You Were Here. This song is so hauntingly beautiful, and it is so unusual since it has the distinct Beach Boy harmony style, put forth in a unique way. Think about it, this would be like the Rolling Stones collaborating with the Beatles on a song. This song is just amazing!!! 

The Three Beach Boys featured with Chicago in this video are all original Beach Boy members; Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Carl Wilson, seemingly disguised behind their thick beards. (They almost look like ZZ Top!?!? ;-) 

It is also fascinating to note how absolutely almost unrecognizable the three Beach Boys look with their heavy beards and matching nautical outfits. In other words, when I think about the Beach Boys, I typically think of a bung of clean-cut young guys without any visible facial hair. If I saw this video, and didn't know any better, I would think the Beach Boys were just some funky member of the Chicago band.


The song Wishing You Were Here begins with Chicago band member Terry Kath beginning the song with lead vocals with Peter Cetera playing lead guitar. Peter Cetera then begins singing the song's bridge in the model of the song, and his entry and guitar are amazing!!!

Wishing You Were Here was written by Peter Cetera, and it appeared on their album named Chicago VII, which as recorded in 1974. The Beach Boy were recording at Caribou Ranch, where they ran into Peter Cetera, who asked them to join Chicago in the song. The video above was recorded on Dick Clarks New Years Eve show in 1974. I remember this song from my childhood, so when I listen to it, it totally deja vu's me out, but I must ad that when I watch this video today, it completely blows my mind, with how amazing it is. Just mind-boggling great!!!


Let's Go Surfing
With the Blues Brother in 1976

The Beach Boys history is one of the highest highs and the lowest lows. Brian Wilson, who was the head of the band in the early years grew reclusive in the late 1960 and got really into drugs, and for over a year lived in his bed in Bel Air, California. This next video from 1976, shows the Blues Brothers coming to get Brian Wilson out of bed, and at the end of the video, you see the Beach Boys singing Surfing USA, during the height of the funkadelic 1970s. The Blues Brothers are always hilarious! Brian Wilson, ironically, was kind of the anti-Beach Boy, in the sense he was never into surfing.


The next two videos are an interview with Brian Wilson, which was taped in 1976, and it is pretty fascinating. If you close your eyes, and listen to Brain Wilson speak, he sound exactly like Bill Murray of Saturday Night Live fame.



Knebworth, England
1980

This next video is the last video I am aware of that feature all of the original Beach Boys playing together. On stage we see all three of the Wilson brothers, Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, as well as Mike Love, and Al Jardine. We also see Bruce Johnston on stage.




...Vintage Rolex Super-Coolness...



Single-Red Submariner Surf Ad
Rolex Submariner [Reference 1680]

Speaking of the Beach Boys and California Surfing, the following vintage Rolex ad his has got to be one of the coolest vintage Rolex Submariner magazine ads I have ever seen!!! 

Rolex mentions in the ad how they sponsored the International Professional Surfing organization and would award the winner of the IPS tournament with a Rolex Submariner Date model. The ISP was the original world governing entity that oversaw professional surfing from 1976 to 1982. It later merged into the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), which is the governing body today. What is cooler than Rolex and Surfing!?!?!


Let's go surfing now
Everybody's learning how
Come on and safari with me!


For some reason, whenever I think about beaches and surfing, I think of the Rolex Submariner. Last year, I was surfing on Waikiki beach, which is the home of the original Beach Boys, and I was wearing my LV Submariner when I was surfing.


Ronald Reagan
1983


This Beach Boys are pictured below hanging out with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and First Lady, Nancy Reagan in 1983. 


The Reagan's were huge Beach Boys fans, as you can see in the introduction to the video below.


This Beach Boys were also big fans of President Reagan, and his wife Nancy, as we witness in the Ronald Reagan Love tribute sung a cappella by the Beach Boys in 1985.



Live Aid
1985

This next video shows Brian Wilson appearing again live with the Beach Boys, for the first time since the Pet Sounds days. This video was shot at Live Aid in 1985, and you will notice that Brian Wilson lost over a hundred pounds, and go in great shape.


Brian recorded and performed several more time after Live Aid, with the Beach Boys. The last time he Brian Wilson performed live with Beach Boys was around 30 years ago. As a matter of fact, he finally rejoined them for their 50 Anniversary, as you can witness in the Grammy Tribute Video located toward the top of this story, as well as in the videos near the end of this story. 


Kokomo
1988

This next video probably of the Beach Boys Song Kokomo, was probably their last major commercial hit, and it was recorded in 1988. Kokomo is an actual place, located in the Florida Keys on an island owned by Sandals Royal Caribbean vacation resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. 

Kokomo is an island resort on Islamorda, which is located around 25 miles south of Key Largo, Florida. The Song Kokomo was written by John Philipps from The Mamas and Pappas for the Beach Boys, and it was based upon a prior visit there.



SMILE
The Legendary Smile Sessions

In 2011 the Beach Boys finally completed their SMILE album, which they started in 1966 and 1967. Nobody ever expected the Beach Boys to ever complete this album, but then in 2011 The Beach Boys took the world by surprise and released the finished SMILE album.



The Beach Boys
50 The Anniversary Celebration & Concert 2012

It has been said, that good things endure, and the Beach Boys sound just as good today as they did in the early 1960s, and you can see them perform below in their 50th Anniversary Concert Video.


In the above photo we see (pictured from left to right) Bruce Johnston, who joined the Beach Boys in 1965, along with original Beach Boys, who started the band in 1961, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and David Marks. David Marks was a founding member of the Beach Boys and first played drums with the Beach Boys in 1962, and was a neighbor of the Wilson Family. He left the Beach Boys in 1963, and later returned. He was 13 when he joined the Beach Boys, and played rhythm guitar of the first four albums.

The 50th Anniversary Beach Boys Concert seen below is amazing and at least three of the Beach Boys are wearing yellow gold Rolex watches!







The Beach Boys Story
The Documentary

The Beach Boys story is absolutely fascinating. On the one hand it is a story of success, and of the other hand its a story of tragedy and decline. After I wrote this story, I discovered this amazing full-length documentary that tells their story. I high recommend watching it in, as it will give you a much better idea of their history.















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