Thursday, June 20, 2024
Home Culture ‘The Beach Boys, the documentary’: The Beach Boys were two bands and they were unique | Culture

‘The Beach Boys, the documentary’: The Beach Boys were two bands and they were unique | Culture

by News Room
0 comment

Just start The Beach Boys, el documental, Brian Wilson, already in his eighties, appears on screen. That’s news, because the man who was the leader of the angelic voices band has not been seen in public for a couple of years. He barely says a couple of sentences and in the end he reunites with the other survivors. He assures that he remembers well the music, the lyrics and how much fun they had. He doesn’t say it, but there is also bitterness in the story of the Beach Boys, despite the festive image of those blonde boys in striped shirts. Cruel fate has wanted the premiere of the documentary on Disney + to coincide with the news that Brian Wilson, a fragile genius in his mental health, has been placed under the guardianship of his manager and his financial manager due to dementia. The documents provided to the court by his seven children prove that since the death of his wife, Melinda, he does not know how to take care of himself or “maintain decorum.”

At their most successful, the mid-1960s, the Beach Boys were actually two bands. One, without Brian Wilson, went on tour and showed her face to the public. The other, with Brian in charge, stayed in the Los Angeles studio with the professional musicians of The Wrecking Crew (much older than him), to advance with the albums, which were only pending for the other four to provide their vocal parts. when they came back from their bowling. When Brian started working at Pet Sounds, their best album, from 1966, the others were in Japan. Because he could do almost everything alone: ​​composing, arranging, producing and playing different instruments. But he was missing the other voices, which were assembled into the magical harmonies that made them unique.

It was the very particular way in which the band worked that put the Californian dream in the collective imagination, that image of sunny beaches, muscular boys with surfboards, girls in bikinis, convertible cars. But, as the sixties progressed, they wanted to move away from the cliché and evolved into a much more complex pop, with artistic ambition. Brian did not feel comfortable on stage, he was already using LSD and had suffered some anxiety attacks; However, his talent could not be stopped in the studio. The one who had been chosen as his replacement for a series of concerts, Glen Campbell, got a big surprise the first time he traveled with them: the fans tore off his shirt and strands of his hair. There were more substitutes, but the founding core remained.

The Beach Boys, el documental It is a journey through the ups and downs of the most emblematic group of vocal pop in the United States, “America’s band” they called them, and about their personal complications, which were many and not all of them are told in detail. It all started in the family, but the story is nothing exemplary. The three brothers (Brian, Dennis and Carl) used to sing in the back seat of their parents’ car. These, Murry and Audree, had a love for music: there was a piano at home and a tape recorder on which Brian began to record his rehearsals in the garage. The three brothers, their cousin Mike Love and their friend Al Jardine formed the first quintet. Murry saw his potential and was a great supporter of him, but he had a very dark side: he was a violent man towards his people, whom he terrorized and beat. As a producer, in 1964 he was ousted by Brian, who had long proven his worth. As a manager he made a disastrous operation: in 1969 he sold all the songs to a publisher for the ridiculous figure of 700,000 dollars. We begin to understand the traumas that are accumulating for Brian and his brothers.

Brian Wilson, during the ‘Pet Sounds’ sessions, in Los Angeles in 1966. Michael Ochs Archives (Disney+ Spain)

The Beach Boys managed to start playing on the radio in 1961 with their first song, of many, about surfing. It was a timely topic because record companies demanded it: there was already a musical genre associated with that sport, but it was instrumental. They, with their tremendous voices, make it a national phenomenon. Brian, although the absolute protagonist of the documentary, was not the only talent present there. Mike participated a lot in the compositions and Dennis, the most handsome, the only real surfer, had the charisma on stage, he was the one the fans screamed the most.

When they were at their highest point, 1964, the beatlemaniafrom his performance in the Ed Sullivan Show, and takes away their prominence. The documentary abounds in the relationship between Beatles and Beach Boys, a very healthy rivalry. They admired and influenced each other, and they were stung. They met when the Boys went on tour to the United Kingdom and let themselves be guided in London by Keith Moon, the drummer of the Who. The connection was fast.

When Brian heard Rubber Soul, at the end of 1965, was dazzled by how much the Beatles were evolving and wanted his band to take steps forward as well. He got to work on Pet Sounds, which was tremendously innovative musically, which today is considered his masterpiece, but which took a while to be understood in the United States. His record company did not promote him much: they disliked that they had strayed from the surfer cliché. However, Paul McCartney was in turn shocked: he said it was “the best album ever made”, and those from Liverpool faced their powerful influence with that Sgt. Pepper’s (in the middle they had taken out Revolver, another waste of creativity, what good years those were). Although the press was determined to confront the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the former preferred to compare themselves with the Beach Boys, an eminently vocal band like them. with his single Good Vibrationsfrom 1966, the Californians regain the number one that the English had denied them for a couple of years.

In the following years, the explosion of culture hippy catches the Boys offside. Heavier and psychedelic rock is beginning to take hold, in the style of Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa or Led Zeppelin, and the sweet voices of the Wilsons do not fit there. To make matters worse, the next project to Pet Soundswhich was going to be called Smile (Do not confuse with Smiley Smile), It was abandoned by Brian, who was unable to finish it and was showing wear and tear. That album was not released until 2004.

They were in decline, but that trend turned around in 1974, when a compilation of the beach and festive songs from their first albums was released. (Endless Summer) and it turns out to be a huge success. There was nostalgia for its innocent and simple melodies: many more compilations would follow. They then return to the stage, filling huge stadiums like never before, and even Brian agrees to participate in the performances again, although his gesture (seen in a 1976 concert) is quite serious. From then on, Brian had comings and goings: on some albums he barely participated; They bring back Bruce Johnson to act as producer and the task of composing is more distributed among everyone.

The documentary chooses not to continue the story: the decline worsened in the eighties and nineties, but the brand continued to make records and concerts. There were disputes between its members over the distribution of rights and authorship of the songs. In 2012, for the 50th anniversary, the band reunited with Brian at the helm (and without Carl or Dennis, deceased) for one last album and a new tour that would not be the last, because some of them (led by Mike) resisted even today to hang up the microphone. This film does not shy away from dark moments, but it tends to skim over them: for example, the link between Dennis and the Family, Charles Manson’s sect that committed the terrible crime of Sharon Tate, is mentioned very briefly. One more of the many blows that Dennis suffered: after that he tried to go solo, but he couldn’t get his head back, he fell into addictions, became bankrupt and drowned on the beach in 1983 at the age of 39. Carl also died prematurely, at age 51, from cancer, in 1998. But the Beach Boys will not be remembered for his misfortunes, which were many, but for his work. A music that has been sculpted in the popular imagination around the world.

You can follow EL PAÍS Television on X or click here to receive our weekly newsletter.

Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits


Leave a Comment