“THE BEACH BOYS” Copyright 2018 00individual TLL
Growing Up With The Beach Boys
People like to joke about the ’50s and ’60s “Leave It To Beaver” lifestyle, but in reality, growing up in the 1950s was a very special gift. It allowed 00individual to experience a childhood that was innocent and pure during a time when life unfolded slowly to meet each maturation level naturally. He was fortunate to personally experience the evolution of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, – the absolute best decades in history – and he is eternally greatful.
Just a few miles from 00individual’s hometown of Westchester, the Beach Boys grew up in Hawthorne, and although the Beach Boys were five to ten years older than 00individual he still had a “general proximity” shared vibe of them in regard to nearness in area and age.
Living and growing up on L. A.’s west side near the beaches and L. A. International Airport, 00individual was prime for the sunny Southern California Beach Culture. As a young tan teen with a bushy, bushy blonde hairdo, 00individual dug the beach, so much so that in the Summer of ’68 with the exclusion of seven random days he was at the beach every day for three months.
The beach had a strong ulterior motive, back then it was the ultimate way to meet cool chicks. When a guy is nude except for shorts and girls nude except for a bikini, inhibitions are already stripped away by half which made it easy for both sexes to engage in talk, laughter, playful surf splashing, flirting, and walking along the beach, and maybe more.
At fifteen, 00individual met his first long-term (two or three months of the summer) tan blonde Swedish girlfriend at the beach. He would thumb (hitch-hike) to her house in Inglewood (one town closer than Hawthorne) and they would sit on an outside canopied swing/couch, hold hands, and make-out. There was magick in the air.
But none of this would have come about if not for The Beach Boys.
Although surfing had been a central part of ancient Polynesian culture for hundreds of years, it was the Beach Boys who popularized the sport in song, and in turn, popularized the entire Southern California Surf / Beach Culture / Lifestyle.
Their November 1961 Candix label debut single “Surfin'” was one of the first 45 RPM singles 00individual bought at ten years old. As simple as that song was it opened up a world for him, somehow the genius of Brian Wilson, along with Mike Love, Al Jardine, Carl Wilson, David Marks, and Dennis Wilson, created a magickal spell right from the start of this one song. It conjured up visions of fun, sun, beach, parties, girls, cars, freedom – and surfing – all things that were right in 00individual’s own backyard to enjoy as he entered his teens.
“Surfin” was the gateway drug to the allure of the “California Sound”, the Beach Boys golden harmonies graced all of their songs from rockers to ballads to love songs. Whenever a Beach Boys song came over the radio smiles and sing-alongs were irresistable.
Prior to the late ’60’s rebellion and Drug-Culture, the innocence of the Beach Boys ruled. They sang of a lifetsyle that was embraced by the Baby Boomers whose influence was on the rise in the form of this new entity called the American Teenager.
On October 1, 1962 the Beach Boys released their first album,“Surfin’ Safari” . The album featured the tracks Surfin’, Surfin’ Safari, and the seminal Car-Culture anthem 409. 409 celebrated the So. Cal. love of everything cars and triggered yet another genre; Rod Rock. There was already a strong Car-Cult that was an integral part of the ’50s and the ’60s, and the Beach Boys sang its praises with future hits Little Deuce Coupe, Shut Down, I Get Around, and Fun, Fun, Fun.
“Surfin’ U.S.A.”, their second album, released in early 1963, contained the smash hit album title track which reflected the ubiquiteous nature that “surf music” had become: a Nation-wide phenomenon. The attraction of the “surfer lifestyle” went beyond the surf scene and was enjoyed and embraced by free-spirited people everywhere.
The California Sound included instrumental bands like The Ventures, The Challengers, and the King of the Surf Guitar, Dick Dale. The singing duo, Jan and Dean, compatriots and friends of the Beach Boys, rose to the top with their hits Surf City, Dead Man’s Curve, Ride The Wild Surf, and The Little Old Lady from Pasadena, as well as their Beach Boys collaboration and monster hit Barbara Ann.
Since it was cheaper for a kid on a limited allowance to buy 59 cent singles than to purchase a 2 or 3 dollar album, 00individual’s 45 RPM collection grew. It wasn’t until “Beach Boys Concert” album that 00individual splurged and bought the album.
On October 19, 1964 the Beach Boys released the live album “Beach Boys Concert”; it was their first and only No. 1 album in the US, and the first live album to top pop music record charts, staying at #1 for four weeks during a sixty-two-week chart stay, and becoming another gold seller.
Earlier that year The Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan show – which basically launched / exposed Beatlemania to the masses. With the Beatles and the oncoming British Invasion, Teens, Rockers, and Music Lovers everywhere were blessed with great new songs from great new bands.
This influx created competition for airplay and popularity; the field widened and somewhat marginalized the Beach Boys dominance of the Pop Rock genre. The Beach Boys were aware of the changing zeitgeist and Brian Wilson met the competition by excelling in record production techniques and arrangements.
On March 8, 1965, the Beach Boys released “The Beach Boys Today!” – this was 00individual’s second Beach Boys album and was purchased with money from his fourteenth birthday a month earlier.
This album is historic within the Beach Boys legacy as it was their first album that did not have surf or car themed songs. Resigned from touring with the group, Brian focused solely on writing and producing. He began using Marijuana and LSD, which he says had profound effects on the way he perceived and composed music.
Therefore, when seen structurally as a near concept album with side one up-tempo and side two ballads, there is a sophisticated, orchestral approach with instrumentation that includes accordions, harpsichords, French horn, tack pianos, mandolins, and sleigh bells. The distinct arrangements with multi-layered “Wall of Sound” productions proved the Beach Boys to be true artists beyond a singles band. This was prescient timing on Brian’s part because many bands were exploring every avenue of creative instrumentation, composition, and arrangements, but the one thing all of those other bands didn’t have was the golden harmonies of the Beach Boys and the leadership of Brian Wilson.
The Beach Boys deserve all the credit that history provides as they single-handedly created a cultural and musical genre tidal wave. A wave that broke through the harbors of the original Rock of the ’50s, a wave that burst the dams for the British Invasion of the ’60s, and then a wave that morphed into a psychedelic pipeline with Brian Wilson’s epic “Good Vibrations“.
On October 10, 1966, the Beach Boys released thee perfect song, Good Vibrations. 00individual was just four months away from getting high for the first time (Marijuana), five months away from his sixteenth birthday (legal driving age), and seven months from getting his own car (good lovin’) – he was experiencing Good Vibrations in his life and the song stands as an important and meaningful personal era imprint.
00individual is very thankful to have been able to experience and enjoy his youth-to-teen years in an innocent natural progression in large part courtesy of “growing up with” The Beach Boys music and spirit.
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