The Beach Boys

  • Formation

    The Beach Boys were formed as a garage band by three brothers: Brian Wilson, the frontman and bass guitarist; Dennis Wilson, the drummer; and Carl Wilson, the lead guitarist; their cousin Mike Love, the lead vocalist; and their friend Al Jardine, the rhythm guitarist. Their first manager was the Wilson brothers' father, jazz composer Murry Wilson, who had minor success on his track "Two Step, Side Step."
  • Radio Competition

    Radio Competition
    The boys auditioned with a record company and recorded their first original song "Surfin'." They entered their song into a local radio competition where the song with the most votes won. They each called in approximately 15 times with different voices to vote for their song. They ended up winning.
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  • Signing with Capitol Records

    Signing with Capitol Records
    Murry got the boys signed with Capitol Records after much local success.
  • The Honeys

    The Honeys
    The world's first girl band in the surf genre was inspired by the Beach Boys. They were called "The Honeys." They were also a family group, made up of two sisters and their cousin: Diane and Marilyn Rovell and Ginger Blake. They met the Beach Boys in Vegas and Marilyn (middle) began dating Brian, and would eventually marry him in December of 1964.
  • Surfin' Safari

    Surfin' Safari
    They released "Surfin Safari" just after they signed with Capitol Records. This song did well locally, but they wanted better.
  • Surfin USA

    Surfin USA
    The Boys have been quoted many times stating that they used Chuck Berry's song "Sweet Little Sixteen" as a template for their song "Surfin' USA." With Berry's chords and Brian's harmonies inspired by "The Four Freshmen," "Surfin' USA" shot to #4 on the national charts. The argument over who actually wrote the lyrics to this song is still outstanding, even in 2022.
  • Car Routine

    Car Routine
    Upon the arrival and massive success of The Beatles in early 1964, The Beach Boys put the pedal to the metal and released four albums in that year alone, creating what they called the "car routine." This put them back on top of the Beatles' success, for a little while anyway.
  • Bye Murry!

    Bye Murry!
    After years of abuse, Brian finally fired his father Murry as their manager. Many of their arguments were accidentally recorded in the studio. On one such occasion, Brian was heard telling Murry "I got one ear left and your big mouth voice is killin' it," referring to the deafness in his right ear. Brian was also quoted as saying "I loved my dad's songwriting. I didn't love him. He used to beat us up."
  • Brian Says No to Touring

    Brian Says No to Touring
    In the later part of 1964, Brian began having severe anxiety issues, as well as some other mental health concerns and decided to stop touring and just write music.
  • California Girls

    California Girls
    Brian began working with Phil Spector while on hiatus from touring. They released "California Girls" in collaboration with Spector, and it was the brainchild of Brian's first acid trip.
  • London

    The Boys went on a tour in London in 1966, but Brian still refused to tour, so he sent their friend Bruce Johnston in his place, who would end up remaining a big part of the band. While in London, the Boys were laughed at for their "square," "old-fashioned," and "preppy" image.
  • Dance With the Devil

    Dance With the Devil
    At a time when the boys were in a funk due to Brian's mental health issues, Dennis made a new friend named Charlie. Charlie wanted to start a music career and pitched a song to Dennis called "Cease to Exist." Dennis changed the words to "Cease to Resist," and recorded it with the band. Charlie then broke into Dennis's house, stating "If you change the words my shadows are running fast, man. I've just come from the moon."
  • Dance With the Devil Pt.2

    Dance With the Devil Pt.2
    Charlie then pulls a pistol out of his coat and points it at Dennis's head, asking "What would you do if I pulled this trigger?" He also threatened to kidnap Dennis's son. Dennis was able to talk him down and he left without following through on his threats. Later that year though, Dennis saw his friend Charlie and his family on the news being charged for the largest mass murder of the decade. "Charlie" was none other than Charles Manson.
  • Pet Sounds

    Pet Sounds
    In response to the heavily successful Beatles album "Rubber Soul," the Beach Boys were presented with the idea of the concept album "Pet Sounds." The idea was presented by frontman Brian, but the rest of the boys did not like the idea. They recorded it anyway, and it was mildly successful, hitting #10 on the album charts. Brian considered this a failure on his part, but in reality, he had just made history.
  • Pet Sounds Pt. 2

    Pet Sounds Pt. 2
    This album saw the first use of the bass harmonica (sometimes called the silver watermelon) as a solo instrument. It also saw the use of the piano strings being plucked rather than played. Finally, it saw the use of the theremin, which had never before been used in popular music. It also saw new lyrics topics for the Beach Boys thanks to hired on lyricist Tony Asher.
  • Good Vibrations

    Good Vibrations
    "Good Vibrations" was released after "Pet Sounds," but continued the use of the theremin in the Beach Boys sound. The theremin was used as the audio representation of the vibrations felt between two lovers, and every time the term "good vibrations" is repeated in the chorus, the theremin plays higher, signifying the increase of vibes between the singer and his lover. This song reached #4 on the World Charts.
  • Fire Tapes

    Fire Tapes
    While working on a second concept album to be called "Smile," Wilson brought fire helmets into the studio for the guys to wear, as well as a bucket of burning wood to really make it feel like they were in a fire. Just down the street, a real fire broke out, and when Wilson found out later, he called what they did "musical witchcraft." He ended up legitimately losing his mind while recording this album, so the whole thing was scrapped.
  • Drugs

    Around the same time as the sandbox installation, Wilson also had a teepee-like tent installed in his den. This was where he did his drugs. It was known as his "LSD tent." Wilson has admitted to using marijuana, LSD, and amphetamines, both together and separately, leading to a drug-induced mental breakdown.
  • Sandbox

    Sometime between 1965 and 1968, Brian Wilson had replaced his dining room with a 10ft by 10ft sandbox filled with eight tons of sand. His grand piano sat in the middle of it, and he would sit in the sandbox and write music.
  • Sales Tanked

    Sales Tanked
    After his initial drug-induced mental breakdown, Brian decided to step down from the group. The rest of the Boys carried on, but record and ticket sales plummeted. They were only able to land gigs like this one, a nursing home in the UK, performing with Jimmy Saville 😳
  • Evil Voices

    Evil Voices
    Sometime in the year 1970, Brian started hearing evil voices in his head that said things like "We're gonna kill you," "You're going to be murdered," "You have two years to live," "We're gonna sabotage your music," "We're gonna kill your wife," "We're gonna shoot your daughters," and many other things of that nature. Brian described it as "a very evil sort of thing, a very evil trip."
  • Surf's Up

    Surf's Up
    "Surf's Up was written in the style of 1800's America as a form of protest against the government of the '60s and '70s. The US had just become affiliated with the Vietnam War, and many people were not happy about it, including Brian. "Surf's Up" was his response.
  • Live-in Help

    Live-in Help
    In October 1975, Brian's wife, Marilyn, hired a live-in therapist, Eugene Landy. Landy was brought in to help Brian out of his years-long stint of paranoia-based seclusion. Brian was afraid that if he left his room he would die because the voices said so.
  • Affair Scandal

    Affair Scandal
    Dennis was married several times, but his last marriage started as an affair with an 18-year-old mistress, Shawn Marie Love. She claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of his first cousin and bandmate Mike Love. Mike denies this to this day. The arguments over this spun out of control until Dennis kicked a drumset over ontop of Mike, then got kicked out of the band for about a year. They brought him back after he nearly became homeless, and had become an alcoholic father to Love's child.
  • R.I.P. Dennis Wilson

    R.I.P. Dennis Wilson
    In 1983, at age 39, Dennis Wilson passed away in a diving accident. The band took a short break, but Brian believed that Dennis would want them to continue, so they replaced him on drums and continues making music.
  • Beach Boys Rap!?!?

    Beach Boys Rap!?!?
    In 1987, The Beach Boys shocked fans everywhere when they collaborated with the hip-hop trio The Fat Boys. Together they released a rap song called "Wipeout."
  • Greedy Shrink

    Greedy Shrink
    Brian was still living under the imprisonment of Eugene Landy's practices and was told he would not be safe if he worked with the group on Kokomo. Shortly after however, Landy suggested they make music together. Landy was investigated for taking advantage of his patient's illness and had his license revoked by the state of California. He also had a restraining order put in place against him by the Wilson family.
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
    Later that year, The Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Kokomo

    Just one year later, the Beach Boys released their biggest hit ever, Kokomo. One member was notably absent from the single though. Brian Wilson.
  • R.I.P Carl Wilson

    R.I.P Carl Wilson
    After another 10 years of success, Carl Wilson passed away at the age of 51 from lung cancer.
  • Legal Battles

    Legal Battles
    The next decade after Carl's passing was full of legal battles, but the biggest was over who would maintain the right to the name "The Beach Boys." Mike Love and Bruce Johnston won that battle sometime after Carl died, around the year 2000.
  • Brian After The Beach Boys

    Brian After The Beach Boys
    Brian met a group called "The Wondermints" and began touring with them, playing his "Pet Sounds" album. He then rerecorded his album "Smile," which had originally made him legitimately lose his mind. The new version was released in 2004.
  • Today

    Today, all of the remaining original members of the group are in their early 80s. They do not see each other or work together often, especially Brian and his cousin Mike. They do not get along and Brian refuses to see him. Brian was officially diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and still suffers from auditory hallucinations. He firmly believes lives with demons in his head.