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How They Changed Rock ‘n’ Roll


The Beach Boys are one of the most influential bands in rock history. To celebrate a new film about Brian Wilson, titled Long Promised Road, we take a look at how they changed the musical landscape for generations to come.

The Beach Boys have sold over 100 million records in their 60-year career, and the the main quintet of the three Wilsons, Love and Jardine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

Their official UK map history is very Impressive. Their 1966 compilation Best Of The Beach Boys Vol.1 spent 55 weeks in the Top Ten.

Although none of their studio albums reached the top, their 1976 number 1 compilation, 20 Golden Greats, was the second best-selling album of 1976, spending 85 weeks on the chart. Their 40 albums have accumulated 593 weeks in total. They enjoyed 28 Top 40 hit singles, including two No. 1s (Good Vibrations and Do It Again) and spent 281 weeks on the chart.

Check out the Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road trailer here:

MORE: The Official Beach Boys Rankings Story

The Beach Boys were formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California. The band’s original line-up consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine, who were originally called Carl and passions in high school.

Their vocal harmonies and musical genius made them one of rock’s most influential bands, initially scoring a string of massive hits in the US that reflected their main interests in girls, cars and surfing, such as Surfin’ USA, I Get Around. and Help Me, Rhonda and albums such as Surfin’ Safari, Surfin’ USA and Surfer Girl and Little Deuce Coupe. Lots of surfing, basically.

In 1966, the band released Pet Sounds, probably their best-known record. Filled with tracks, it was engineered almost solely by Wilson and included more ambitious production and lyrical work. Containing the singles God Only Knows and Wouldn’t It Be Nice, and became one of the most influential albums of all time, consistently appearing on top albums of all time lists by publications such as NME and Pitchfork. .

Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson have admitted in the past that they were inspired by each other’s music and so people started pitting them against each other. It was healthy competition that inspired each other, and Macca also said that God Only Knows is “the greatest song ever written”, adding that “I played Pet Sounds many times and cried”.

Brian took the time to tour with the band, as he became obsessed with writing the perfect pop song. This stalled work on the Pet Sounds follow-up; Smile is now considered the most famous unfinished album in music history. Never released in its original form, the making of the album pushed Wilson to breaking point, although a “scaled down” version called Smiley Smile was released in 1967.

The closest we’ll likely ever get to a final release is a 2011 compilation titled The Smile Sessions. Brian presented his own version of Smile – Brian Wilson Presents Smile – as a solo recording, but he has repeatedly said that it differs from his original vision.

MORE: Brian Wilson’s Official Chart History

Towards the end of the decade, Brian began creating increasingly complex songs such as Good Vibrations and Heroes and Villains, often spending days in the studio recording the music he heard in his head.

Although many of the Beach Boys’ albums from the turn of the 70s didn’t sell very well at the time, titles such as Wild Honey, 20/20, Surf’s Up, Sunflower and Holland became increasingly influential with fans. a whole new audience.

The Beach Boys have endlessly inspired artists such as Teenage Fanclub, Elton John, Saint Etienne, Philip Glass, Led Zeppelin, Weezer, Bee Gees, Foo Fighters, Earth Wind & Fire, Bruce Springsteen, Jesus and Mary Chain and have also seen their songs covered by David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Status Quo, Ronnie Spector, Paul Simon, Sonic Youth, Neil Diamond, The Ramones and Willie Nelson.