Beach Boys book covers 60 years of sun, surf and Good Vibrations

By Thomson Reuters May 10, 2024 | 10:05 AM

By Sarah Mills

LONDON (Reuters) – The Beach Boys share their story in a new book chronicling their rise from a small garage band formed in a Los Angeles suburb in the early 1960s to one of the world’s greatest groups.

“The Beach Boys by The Beach Boys” is described as their only official book and features previously unseen photographs from recording sessions and pages of concert shots.

“It’s high time we had a really good book… there’s a lot of stuff from yesteryear, us growing up and different phases of our career,” band member Mike Love told Reuters at the London launch on Thursday evening.

“We actually wrote this… this is a book from The Beach Boys,” his band mate Bruce Johnston said.

The book is described as “told through the words of” Love, Johnston, Brian Wilson, his late brothers Dennis and Carl, who died in 1983 and 1998 respectively, and Al Jardine.

The group was formed in 1961 by the three brothers, their cousin Love and friend Jardine. Johnston joined in 1965.

“It’s positivity and harmony and the love of making that music and it translates to the audience,” Love said of the group’s lasting success. “(Our music) is all about positivity and harmony and people just love to feel that.”

Their hits range from pop classics celebrating Southern California’s sunny youth culture, including “Surfin’ U.S.A.”, to the complex musical masterpieces of “Surf’s Up”, “Heroes and Villains” and “Good Vibrations”.

Their story took a tragic turn as their renowned composer Brian Wilson – hailed as a genius by Paul McCartney – struggled with his mental health, even as he recorded some of his era’s most compelling harmonies.

In February, two longtime associates of Wilson petitioned a court, at his family’s behest, to place him under a conservatorship, saying he could not care for himself following his wife’s death in January.

The petition, approved by a judge on Thursday, asked that Wilson’s publicist-manager, Jean Sievers, and his business manager, LeeAnn Hard, be appointed “co-conservators of his person”.

Speaking before Thursday’s hearing took place, Johnston said of Wilson: “I think Brian’s doing better than people think … Brian’s such a mystery but Brian’s still Brian.”

Love said band members, including Wilson, met up last year in Paradise Cove, where The Beach Boys shot their first album cover.

“(Wilson) brought up things that I’d forgotten about in the past and we actually sang a few things a cappella,” he said. Some of the scenes feature in new documentary, “The Beach Boys”, released on Disney+ on May 24, he added.

(Editing by Andrew Heavens)