The Beach Boys
Part 1: Wouldn't It Be Nice.
It’s summer and the warm sun streams through the windows from a clear blue sky. What better time to put one of The Beach Boys’ classic albums on the turntable and reflect on those glorious days in the early 1960s? Those far-off times when the group and their acclaimed leader, the sure-footed and decisive musical prodigy, Brian Wilson, ruled the waves and the airwaves. Together the group had created a never-ending stream of radio-friendly hits. Timeless songs like ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’, ‘I Get Around’, ‘Help Me, Rhonda’, ‘California Girls’, and the beautiful ‘God Only Knows’ had poured from Brian’s pen.
The late, great British ‘one man Beach Boys’, Chris Rainbow, had sung in his lovely 1977 homage to Wilson, ‘Dear Brian’*****, of those precious music tapes already now becoming ‘old and torn’. But once upon a time, not much more than a decade before that, things had been so very different……
Brian Wilson sat at his familiar old grand piano in his lounge, feet nestled in the comfort of his large sandbox, trying to make sense of the new world of music that he himself had helped create. This brave new world now threatened to make him and his cherished group, the group which depended upon him for its success, redundant. Unless…. Unless he could come up with something newer, bigger, greater than the latest superlative album from The Beatles. Because by now they were his most deadly rivals for the affections of the youth of America, and of the world.
It was the early autumn of 1966 – and the stakes could not have been higher. Brian was at the pinnacle of his fame, with a long and illustrious career already behind him. But a career increasingly under threat from his contemporaries and the restless, shifting waves of fashion. He was 24 years old.