All posts filed under: Articles

Herman Melville

Herman Melville’s Pet Sounds

What does Herman Melville have in common with Brian Wilson you ask?  Both were quirky, burly men who, at one time or another, sported a bushy beard, but the similarity goes deeper than that. Born more than a century apart, both men were in their twenties when their first creations received such overwhelming success that thwarted a fuller appreciation of the works now considered the pinnacle of their creativity. Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, sold one-fourth of his first book, a title many would be hard pressed to name (read on for the answer).  Upon its release in May 1966, executives at Capitol Records were so anxious about the sales of Pet Sounds they rushed out a greatest hits compilation to assuage the corporate bean counters.   Now, both works are considered masterpieces. Sadly, when he died at 72 in 1891, Melville had been largely forgotten and did not see his masterpiece revered as one of the greatest books ever written.  Fortunately, Wilson, now 77, has enjoyed the accolades heaped on Pet Sounds and his creative …

Chronicling the Beach Boys

Posted by the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association on April 13, 2016 As with veterinary medicine, Dr. Jim Murphy approached a new venture in his life, chronicling the early days of  one of America’s enduring bands, as both an art and a science. The lifelong fan wrote “Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963” because other books gave conflicting facts and short shrift to the band’s early days. He also created a companion website. Dr. Murphy spent eight years researching, doing interviews, and writing his book, weathering rejections until it was published in summer 2015, three days after a new movie about the band was released and a month before the group headlined at the AVMA Annual Convention in Boston. “It is an academic look at the band’s origin and not always a light read for a day at the beach,” he says of the 436-page book with its 12 appendices, 1,100 end notes, bibliography, and index. Fifty of the photos had never before been published, except some in yearbooks. His scientific approach also drew on his right brain. As an undergrad, he …

Capitol Hill Veterinarian Pens Book on Beach Boys

Review by Sean Meehan — August 14, 2015 at 5:15 pm A Capitol Hill veterinarian is now the published author of a book about the formation and early years of the Beach Boys. James Murphy, an associate veterinarian at Capitol Hill Animal Clinic at 1240 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, said he wrote his first book, “Becoming the Beach Boys,” to give a deeper look at the rock band’s origins. “Origin stories have always kind of fascinated me,” he said. “I wasn’t interested in the career-spanning books, those things have been done. I wanted to zero in on what had been lacking. Nobody had written a cohesive, common-sense account of how they started out.” The book grew out of a lifelong passion for the Beach Boys that started when he first heard the band’s hit, “Good Vibrations,” as a 10-year-old boy in 1966. For the past 50 years, Murphy’s interest in the Beach Boys never waned, leading him to start collecting their records and memorabilia and reading everything that he could find about them. “I read every book about …