Celebrating 60 years of The Beach Boys
2021 marks the 60th anniversary of The Beach Boys– one of the greatest bands of all time, and arguably, The Beatles’ forgotten older brother. I only say this because of the recognition that often feels lacking when it comes to The Beach Boys’ legacy. Despite them being a group of California natives from the 1960s, their potential goes beyond surf music.
“Surfin’ USA,” for example, is undoubtedly a fun, catchy melody that most people recognize. Though, the hits from albums like Pet Sounds or Smiley Smile tend to go unnoticed. When you compare the group to The Beatles, you see just how big of a gap exists between the credit given to each band. To be fair, anyone would appear to be underappreciated when compared to The Beatles; but when you have Paul McCartney quoting Pet Sounds as the main inspiration for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely-Hearts Club, it raises a few questions. Why is Pet Sounds not treated with the same level greatness as say, Abbey Road? It is a phenomenal, captivating album that blows me away with every listen. As someone who is picky with my music taste, you can take my words for it.
I ponder as to why The Beatles exploded the way they did. Many have said that the band was an anomaly in that they grabbed the attention of the media like no other, and were able to provide music that influenced the eras to come. As a massive fan of the band, I can conquer this statement and stand by it– they truly are a remarkable band that I have never once gotten sick of. But I often feel like The Beatles are treated like the Gods of the music revolution, and although that statement may be partially true, I would hope that we'd pay due diligence to other bands, especially ones that have influenced The Beatles.
Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys suffered a tougher time in the media as he had to endure drug addiction and issues with the band. Mike Love of The Beach Boys was also unliked by many and is said to have ruined the image of the band. Dennis Wilson, on the other hand, suffered a terrible fate when he drowned in the 1980s. This is all to say that the band has not had it easy. But more than anything, one must not forget that The Beatles were four geniuses, whereas The Beach Boys had one genius who was often dragged down and discouraged by his bandmates or by the media. Despite everything, I hope more young people get into this band– not just the surf-pop songs, but the orchestral, well-arranged compositions by Brian Wilson that leave your mind blown at just how innovative they were being.