Curiously, only one of the original Beach Boys knew how to surf. But that didn’t stop the group from becoming one of the ‘60s’ most successful acts. While their early recordings were mostly about navigating teen problems like parents and school, it didn’t take long for the Beach Boys – led by main songwriter Brian Wilson – to start fretting about more adult concerns. Influenced by Chuck Berry, Phil Spector and the Beatles, Wilson’s songs grew increasingly more complex, peaking with 1966’s ‘Pet Sounds,’ one of the most gorgeous and influential albums ever made. Wilson soon tried to top himself, but suffered a breakdown trying to shape ‘Smile’ into the masterpiece he was hearing in his head (it was finally completed in 2011). The group has had its ups and downs over the past 40 years, but its 2012 50th-anniversary reunion album and tour with Wilson was a triumph.
- Selected Discography: ‘The Beach Boys Today!’ (1965), ‘Pet Sounds’ (1966), ‘Smile’ (2011)
- Related Artists: Brian Wilson
- Further Reading: Top 10 Beach Boys Songs, ‘Smile Sessions’ Album Review