My blog post this week will deal with the Beach Boys from their early days to the Pet Sounds album.
In the early 60’s the California Surf scene was taking the US like a storm, and this started with a group called The Beach Boys whose surfer songs represented the California youth culture of the time. The music was about the having fun in the sun and surf with Hotrods and beach loving teens riding the waves and dancing on the beach.
The Beach Boys lead the charge that started a trend across the US and the world; they consisted of three brothers – Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson – plus cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine whose intricate harmonies would propel them to one of this country’s greatest bands. They started singing as teenagers while attending Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, California. The first record they made in 1961 the title was “Surfin,” which had some local success and went onto No. 75 on the Billboard charts, they performed that year on the bill at the Ritchie Valens Memorial Concert in Long Beach, California. In 1962 their demo tape caught the eye of Capitol Records and they were signed to a recording contract, and with the imaginative composing and songwriting skills of the oldest Wilson brother Brian the Beach Boys would go on to become one of the hottest and most successful groups of the 1960s.
Brian Wilson had a rough upbringing, being abused by his father and having what he called an alcoholic mother. He also inherited their gift for music and would become very dedicated to making music; he also played on his High School Varsity Baseball team. Brian was also obsessed with vocal harmonies, his favorite group was the “Four Freshmen” and he combined the vocal harmonies with the rock n roll of Chuck Berry to structure his musical style, Brian co-wrote, arranged, produced and performed with The Beach Boys and was the inspiration behind the many such hits as “Surfer Girl,” “In My Room,” “I Get Around,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Help Me Rhonda” and “California Girls”. Some early influences were George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" as well as the “Four Freshmen” and “Chuck Berry” they gave Brian his place on the musical landscape.
Brian Wilson’s defined two major characteristics of The Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds” one being his emotional state and the rewriting all the rules of what he felt a record could be, Brian Wilson looked inward to find his lyrical content which gave his songs great meaning and his vision with his production skills gave the album its popularity. This album made a big impact on the music industry and the youth of the 60’s and still has an impact in today’s music.
This album has his great production mixed with tight vocal harmonies, for me as a music listener and professional musician I was moved by the production and especially the tight vocal harmonies, I found the songs to have a soothing and mellow mood to them and the music to be very relaxing.