The Beach Boys Visit The GRAMMY Museum

Legendary pop group discuss early musical influences and writing Beach Boys' classics, and perform acoustic set
  • Photo: Rebecca Sapp/
    Brian Wilson
  • Photo: Rebecca Sapp/
    The Beach Boys
November 08, 2012 -- 5:17 pm PST

Legendary pop group the Beach Boys recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, group members Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, Mike Love, David Marks, and Brian Wilson discussed their early musical influences, the stories behind Beach Boys classics such as "Surfin' Safari" and their 50th anniversary and latest album, That's Why God Made The Radio, among other topics. The Beach Boys also performed a brief acoustic set, including hits such as "Surfer Girl" and "California Girls."

"My mom took me to a record shop in 1958 and I listened to … Four Freshmen And 5 Trombones," said Brian Wilson. "And it just took my mind away. We bought the record, I went home and I learned verbatim all the harmonies. [It was] unbelievable."

The Beach Boys have reigned as one of music's preeminent pop groups for more than five decades. The group was formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, Calif., by brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson along with cousin Love and friend Jardine. Throughout the '60s, the Beach Boys scored several Top 10 hits, including "Surfin' U.S.A.," "Surfer Girl," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "California Girls," "Dance, Dance, Dance," "Help Me, Rhonda," "I Get Around," and the GRAMMY-nominated "Good Vibrations." The latter three songs reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Considered a milestone in pop music, their 1966 album Pet Sounds ranked No. 2 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. The album was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1998, one of four Beach Boys recordings inducted to date. The group was honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.

Dennis and Carl Wilson departed the Beach Boys in the early '80s, though the latter would return in 1982, the same year Brian Wilson left the group. Dennis Wilson died in 1983 in a drowning incident. In 1985 Brian Wilson returned for 1985's The Beach Boys, an album that featured the Top 40 hit "Getcha Back." Brian Wilson subsequently released his self-titled debut solo album in 1988. Led by Love, the Beach Boys continued releasing albums and touring. Carl Wilson died of cancer in 1998.

Released in June, That's Why God Made The Radio marked the first Beach Boys studio album in 16 years. Jardine, Love and Brian Wilson were joined by longtime group members Johnston and Marks. The album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 while the title track reached No. 30 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. In 2012 the group toured in commemoration of their 50th anniversary, kicking off the celebration with a performance at the 54th GRAMMY Awards in February. In September the GRAMMY Museum unveiled Good Vibrations: 50 Years Of The Beach Boys, an exhibit honoring the group's iconic career.

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