The Beach Boys are an American rock band formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961. The group’s original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Distinguished by their vocal harmonies, adolescent themes, and musical ingenuity, they are one of the most influential acts of the rock era. They drew on the music of older pop vocal groups, 1950s rock and roll, and black R&B to create their unique sound, and under Brian’s direction, often incorporated classical or jazz elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways.
One of the first self-contained rock groups, the Beach Boys began as a garage band, managed by the Wilsons’ father Murry, and with Brian as composer, arranger, producer, and de facto leader. In 1963, they had their first national hit with “Surfin’ U.S.A.“, beginning a string of top-ten singles that reflected a southern California youth culture of surfing, cars, and romance, dubbed the “California sound“. They were one of the few American rock bands to sustain their commercial standing during the British Invasion. Starting with 1965’s The Beach Boys Today!, they abandoned beachgoing themes for more personal lyrics and ambitious orchestrations. In 1966, the Pet Sounds album and “Good Vibrations” single raised the group’s prestige as rock innovators; they also formed Brother Records, Inc., a corporation that continues to oversee affairs related to the band’s legacy. After scrapping the Smile album in 1967, Brian’s contributions diminished due to his mental health issues.
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