The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are an American rock band that was formed in Hawthorne, California, in 1961. The group's original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Distinguished by their vocal harmonies, adolescent-oriented lyrics, and musical ingenuity, they are one of the most influential acts of the rock era. They drew on the music of older pop vocal groups, 1950s rock and roll, and black R&B to create their unique sound. Under Brian's direction, they often incorporated classical or jazz elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways.
The Beach Boys formed as a garage band centered on Brian's songwriting and managed by the Wilsons' father, Murry. In 1963, the band enjoyed their first national hit with "Surfin' U.S.A.", beginning a string of top-ten singles that reflected a southern California youth culture of surfing, cars, and romance, dubbed the "California sound". They were one of the few American rock bands to sustain their commercial standing during the British Invasion. Starting with 1965's The Beach Boys Today!, they abandoned beachgoing themes for more personal lyrics and ambitious orchestrations. In 1966, the Pet Sounds album and "Good Vibrations" single raised the group's prestige as rock innovators. After scrapping the Smile album in 1967, Brian gradually ceded control of the group to his bandmates.
In the late 1960s, the group's commercial momentum faltered in the U.S., and they were widely dismissed by the early rock music press before rebranding themselves in the early 1970s. Carl took over as de facto leader until the mid 1970s, when the band responded to the growing success of their live shows and greatest hits compilations by transitioning into an oldies act. Dennis drowned in 1983 and Brian soon became estranged from the group. Following Carl's death from lung cancer in 1998, the band granted Love legal rights to tour under the group's name. In the early 2010s, the original members briefly reunited for the band's 50th anniversary. As of 2023, Brian and Jardine do not perform with Love's edition of the Beach Boys, but remain official members of the band.
The Beach Boys are one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful bands of all time, selling over 100 million records worldwide. They helped legitimize popular music as a recognized art form and influenced the development of music genres and movements such as psychedelia, power pop, progressive rock, punk, alternative, and lo-fi. Between the 1960s and 2020s, the group had 37 songs reach the US Top 40 (the most by an American band), with four topping the Billboard Hot 100. In 2004, they were ranked number 12 on Rolling Stone's list of the greatest artists of all time. Many critics' polls have ranked Today!, Pet Sounds, Smiley Smile (1967), Sunflower (1970), and Surf's Up (1971) among the finest albums in history. The founding members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. Other members during the band's history have been David Marks, Bruce Johnston, Blondie Chaplin, and Ricky Fataar.
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