Murphy, James B. Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963. McFarland. 2015. 422p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780786473656. pap. $39.95; ebk. ISBN 9781476618531. MUSIC
On the heels of the Brian Wilson biopic film Love and Mercy, this meticulously researched and presented title gives readers a “boots-on-the-ground” look at how the Beach Boys, one of the most influential groups in the history of popular music, got its start and is the definitive book on the humble beginnings of the band. Describing from their first moments as the Pendletones up till the end of their “surf” years in 1963, the book details how the band formed and offers original interviews and primary source documents, creating a history that flows through the pages, making the title an easy read for those interested in these little tidbits. It’s almost as if those beautiful Beach Boys harmonies-intricately arranged, soaring, and pleasing to the listener-are invoked in the book’s layout. VERDICT A must-read for Beach Boys fans and popular music historians. These readers will love the depth of research, but casual fans may get bogged down in the details. Recommended for libraries with strong music collections.
–Justin Hoenke, -Benson -Memorial Lib., Titusville, PA