The Beach Boys are an iconic American rock band, frequently cited as one of the most influential and commercially successful groups of all time. They are recognized for their intricate vocal harmonies, studio innovations, and musical impact that is still felt today. After rising to stardom with a string of hits that defined the '60s California Sound, they delved into progressive pop, experimenting with songs inspired by classical music and the avant-garde. Following their most esteemed work, Pet Sounds (1966), the group became symbols of psychedelic counterculture.
With the release of 1974's Endless Summer they became a more popular touring act, playing their greatest hits. They have recorded 36 Billboard Top 40 hits (including four number-one singles), have had over 100 million sales, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
Formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961, the original group comprised singer-musician-composer Brian Wilson, his brothers Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friends Al Jardine and David Marks. South African musicians Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar played and sang with the band on three key albums during the early 1970s. Many changes in both musical style and personnel have occurred in their sometimes-stormy career: Brian Wilson's mental illness, drug addiction and eventual withdrawal from the group; the deaths of Dennis Wilson in 1983 and Carl Wilson in 1998; and continuing legal battles among surviving members of the group.
In December 2011, five of the group's surviving members - Brian, Mike, Al, Bruce and David (But not Blondie or Ricky) - reformed in celebration of their 50th anniversary, announcing a new album and a 50-date international tour for 2012. The reunion ended immediately after the tour.
The group was formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California under the leadership of Brian Wilson, and included his brothers Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love and school friend Al Jardine.
The early inspirations of the group were the Wilsons' musician father, Murry, and the close vocal harmonies of groups such as The Four Freshmen. The group performed initially as The Pendletones, after the Pendleton woolen shirts popular then. Although surfing motifs were very prominent in their early songs, Dennis was the sole actual surfer in the group. He suggested to his brothers that they do some songs celebrating his hobby and the lifestyle which had developed around it in Southern California.
At first Murry Wilson, by many accounts a hard-driving man, steered The Beach Boys' career, engineering their signing with Capitol Records in 1962. In 1964 Brian Wilson fired his father after a violent confrontation in the studio. Over the next few years they became increasingly estranged; when Murry died some years later, Brian and Dennis did not attend the funeral.
The Beach Boys' early material focused on the California youth lifestyle (e.g., "All Summer Long", "Fun, Fun, Fun"), cars ("Little Deuce Coupe") and of course surfing ("Surfin' U.S.A.", "Surfin' Safari" and many others). Although their music was bright and accessible, these early works contained remarkably sophisticated musical ideas. During this period, Brian Wilson rapidly progressed to become a melodist, arranger, and producer of world-renowned stature. Their early hits made them major pop stars in America and other countries, although their status as America's top pop group was challenged in 1964 by the emergence of The Beatles, who became The Beach Boys' major creative rival.
Like The Beatles, the Beach Boys showed very fast development during the mid-'60s, drawing upon the innovations of songwriters and producers such as Burt Bacharach and especially Phil Spector. They produced the enduring classic "California Girls" in 1965, a banner year for popular music which also saw similarly advanced singles by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, and James Brown. But it was the Beach Boys' r