Month: November 2015

Brian Wilson, Roger Christian, and Ice Cream Sundaes — A Research Challenge

One of the legendary stories of Brian Wilson’s early songwriting career is how he met occasionally with disc jockey Roger Christian after Christian’s shift on KFWB ended at midnight.  Huddled over ice cream sundaes, they talked about music, girls, cars, and songwriting.  The twenty-eight-year-old Christian, a hot rod enthusiast later known as the “Poet of the Strip,” kept a notebook of original poems about cars he had been writing since high school.  The Beach Boys recorded at least ten songs written by Brian and Christian, including “Shut Down,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Ballad of Ole’ Betsy,” “Car Crazy Cutie, “Cherry, Cherry Coupe,” “Spirit of America,” “No Go Showboat,” “I Do,” “In the Parking Lot,” and “Don’t Worry Baby.”  Brian found a wealth of inspiration in Christian’s notebook.  Together, they would solidify the Beach Boys’ reputation as America’s premier hot rod vocal group. It has never been entirely clear when Brian first met Christian, when they began meeting over ice cream sundaes, and, to some extent, where these late night songwriting sessions took place.  So, let’s examine …

beachboys.com Book Review

Review by beachboys.com Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963 By James B. Murphy McFarland Publishing, 436p. Published June 8, 2015 REVIEW:  Author James B. Murphy has done a brave, and difficult thing in writing what, is essentially a densely-packed microcosmic look at the formative forces that created “The Beach Boys”.  Echoing Timothy White’s similarly dense, but wider-ranging The Nearest Faraway Place, which traced The Beach Boys within the scope of California history and mythos, Becoming The Beach Boys 1961-1963 takes a much narrower view, examining social, economic, cultural and familial tidal forces which helped shape the band’s work ethic, musical approach, and ambition.  What’s truly impressive about this book is how much detail Dr. Murphy has included – everything from interviews and newly-discovered documents trace how an essentially untrained group of musicians, raw and undeveloped, wrote, played and sang their way from a local hit single on an independent label, into a nationally-recognized phenomenon, all within the space of just a few months.  He delves into recording label practices of the time, which allowed for young …

Veterinarian Alumnus and Lifelong Beach Boys Fan Hears Pet Sounds

  Article written by Manhattan College News staff Jim Murphy ’79 not only used his liberal arts education to attend and graduate from veterinary school many years after college, but his fascination with the Beach Boys enticed him to write a book on the true story of how the band formed and went on to become one of America’s most popular rock groups. Jim Murphy’s love of the Beach Boys began at the age of 10, when he accompanied his brother on a quest to locate the newly released Good Vibrations single. The Bronx resident was hooked after hearing the song, which was released in October 1966. Earlier that year, the Beach Boys released their landmark album, “Pet Sounds,” of which Murphy is still fond, particularly in his work life. Today Murphy is a veterinarian in Washington, D.C., and hears pet sounds daily in the exam room. His science degree from Manhattan College and the lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian enticed Murphy to make a career change and graduate from veterinary school 17 years after college.Another …

Catch a Wave: a Chat with Beach Boys Author James B. Murphy

Written by Ken Sharp November 6, 2015 From performing in school cafeterias to tearing it up on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl, James B. Murphy’s new book, Becoming the Beach Boys 1961-1963 chronicles the back story behind how it all happened in exhaustive detail. Culling original and archival interviews, newly discovered documents and illustrated with scores of previously unseen photographs and ephemera, the book is a marvel of research teeming with revelatory information about the group’s formative years, puncturing myths and setting the record straight about this seminal period in the group’s history. Essential reading for Beach Boys fans or rock music aficionados, Becoming the Beach Boys 1961-1963 is the definitive portrait of their launch demonstrating in detail how a bunch of kids from Hawthorne, California caught a musical wave and were soon sitting on top of the world. Highly recommended. Rock Cellar Magazine: What prompted you to write Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963? Jim Murphy: I was introduced to the music of the Beach Boys when my older brother, Rich, first heard Good …