Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, published June 9, 2015, by McFarland Books.  Eight years in the making, writing Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963 (BBB) was a labor of love about the music that has accompanied me throughout most of my life.  Born out of frustration in reading narratives about the band’s early years that often were contradictory or did not fit together, this book attempts to bring understanding to their origin story and to prompt discussion among the vibrant community of Beach Boys fans and historians.

I look forward to hearing from those who have read the book and have comments and questions.

In writing BBB, publisher constraints and the need to rein in a first-time author meant sticking to the spine of the story which meant omitting many conversations, events, and facts, some of which detail the era in which the boys grew up.  How many great scenes are deleted from movies that make us wonder why they didn’t make the final cut.  This website exists to share the stories that didn’t make the cut, but deserve telling, or further expand on stories in the book. I hope they are enjoyable and further add to the narrative.

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Jim Murphy


  1. Robert Campbell says

    Rockford, IL 4/26/63: Minor detail but, the appendix lists the venue as the YWCA Teen Canteen located at 4990 East St. Street. This is the current address of the YWCA. In 1963 The YWCA was located at 220 S. Madison, St., Rockford IL. The YWCA did not move to their current address until sometime in the 90s. The old Y was a classic Y facility with a residence hall, gym, pool and activity rooms. One of these rooms was where the show was held. For a brief period I actually worked in that room while I was in college. As I was only 13 at the time of the show we did not find out about it until around 1964 – 65. At that time there was a rumor circulating that The Beach Boys were coming back for another show in Rockford. As there was a huge snowstorm we shoveled walks and drives for 2 days to earn money for the show. Unfortunately it was just a rumor. I enjoyed the detailed research on the rare 45s referenced in the book.


  2. I absolutely love this book, and I’m about halfway through reading it so far. One little thing – the book says that Pacific Ocean Park where The Beach Boys performed was on the “Santa Monica pier” – but that might be confused with the official “Santa Monica Pier” which currently contains a recently built amusement park, and is north of where the POP pier was. POP was actually built on a pier at Pier Avenue in the Ocean Park section of Santa Monica, which was halfway between the official Santa Monica Pier and the Venice Beach pier. When POP closed in 1967, you could see the dilapidated buildings, including the tall Roller Coaster of the closed pier from the other beaches until it was demolished in 1974. During the 1960s, the Santa Monica Pier was only for fishing, and I used to fish from the end of the pier, or rent rowboats to fish from.


    • Hi Bob,

      Thank you so much for your support of the book. I am glad you are enjoying it! Thanks also for the clarification about the pier. I’m keeping track of “things to add or fix” for a second edition, and your feedback is extremely helpful.

      All the best,



  3. Kevin Barr says

    Loved the book. Several questions: When did Brian Wilson fully lose his falsetto? What was the cause? Are their examples where he uses it in later years as a solo artist?


    • Hi Kevin,

      As with many singers, Brian’s falsetto became a bit rougher with age, smoking, and other general health issues. While he never recaptured its 1960s beauty, there are glimpses of it throughout the band’s later output (think “She’s Got Rhythm” on MIU in 1978) and his solo career.

      I am very glad you enjoyed the book. Thanks for checking it out!

      All the best



  4. Hi Jim,

    I came across mentions of your book both in JAVMA and Veterinary Practice News (Oct 2016). I’m a vet and writer in central Maryland with a monthly blog called VetWrite which features veterinarians who explore their creative outlets, whether via writing, painting, singing, etc. I am reaching out to see if you’d be interested in an interview for my blog.

    Thanks for your time and consideration,
    Anna O’Brien


  5. Hi Jim–

    I reviewed your book for my website, The Recoup. Recently, I was saddened to learn about the murder of Betty Willis, and I wrote an entry sharing the two sides from that fine, rare single. But upon posting it, I received a few messages stating that Betty Willis was NOT the vocalist for the sessions that produced Rachel & The Revolvers. Considering her relationship with Leon Russell and the work she did at Gold Star, it certainly doesn’t seem unreasonable that she crossed path with Wilson–or that she used said connections later on to get an entree with Russell and a record deal. Plus, the voice on the R&R single sounds like a dead ringer to the woman on the solo Betty Willis recordings.

    Here is my piece, and in the comment section is one of the refutations that it was not her. I know your work was quite diligent, so I’d like some input into the matter, if at all possible?



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