Fun, fun, fun. That’s what this summer has been about if you’re a Beach Boys fan. Their best album in forty years, That’s Why God Made The Radio, peaked at number three on the Billboard charts. Their 50th Anniversary reunion tour has been a critical and commercial success, while the key players – Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks – all appear to be getting along amazingly well. Adding to all the good vibrations is a new book, Fifty Sides Of The Beach Boys, published by ECW Press and written by Mark Dillon. It’s a unique release that tells the history of the Boys in the words of their friends, colleagues and themselves.
Read on and find out why Fifty Sides Of The Beach Boys is worth reading after the jump!
There have been a ton of books about the Beach Boys over the years, some reputable, others not. The ones that have resonated the most with me are Dominic Priore’s Smile: The History Of Brian Wilson’s Lost Masterpiece and Peter Carlin’s Catch A Wave. Both have offered great insight into The Beach Boys and the creative and personal hurdles band mastermind Brian Wilson has had to face over his lifetime. Mark Dillon’s Fifty Sides Of The Beach Boys takes a different approach rather than straight biography, and it’s all the better for it.
Dillon approaches the story of The Beach Boys from their songs, the reason for the longevity. Each chapter features an interview with a band insider, friend, fan or member, talking about a specific song from a specific era of the band’s career, beginning with founding member David Marks talking about Surfin’ Safari and ending forty-nine chapters later with Brian Wilson talking about Gerswin’s Rhapsody In Blue from the Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin album. Along the way we also hear from luminaries including Daniel Lanois, Cameron Crowe, Roger McGuinn, Alice Cooper and many others. Each talks about the way The Beach Boys and their music affected them throughout their lives and the importance of their work.
Dillon’s approach is a very cool way of looking at the work of The Beach Boys, and one that begs for its own playlist. All the songs that are discussed are essential tracks, even if they aren’t all obvious picks or the biggest of hits (I know I’m Bugged At My Ol’ Man didn’t chart anywhere). Really, what you should do is hop into your iTunes, check out the songs that Mark Dillon covers in Fifty Sides Of The Beach Boys and make a playlist to listen along to while you read. A history lesson in words and music.
It will be fun, fun, fun.