All posts filed under: Becoming the Beach Boys

Posts involving the book

Endless Summer Quarterly Book Review

Review by Ian Rusten Fall 2015 Edition, Issue 111, Volume 28, Number Four Let me just start by saying that this is a fantastic book and a must read for any true fans of the Beach Boys!  James Murphy, a veterinarian by trade and a lifelong Beach Boys fan, decided to investigate the crucial early years of the Beach Boys and has uncovered a wealth of detail that escaped past chroniclers of their career, including myself. Murphy has interviewed a wide range of important people from the Beach Boys’ past that, as far as I can recall, have never been interviewed before.  He managed to track down Brian’s first serious girlfriend Judy Bowles, Shindig host Jimmy O’Neill (who hired the Beach Boys to play at his club Pandora’s Box in 1962) and the president of the Beach Boys fan club Jodi Gable, just to name a few. Becoming the Beach Boys delves deeply into the family history of the group, revealing a ton of new (or seldom discussed) information.  Past authors have concentrated solely on …

The Recoup Book Review

REVIEW BY JOSEPH KYLE on SEPTEMBER 14, 2015 • ( 0 ) The Recoup Becoming The Beach Boys, 1961-1963 James B. Murphy McFarland The Beach Boys had finished playing a concert. Though the splash they made on the West Coast was just starting to ripple through to the rest of America, the boys were busily playing every show they could get. Back at their hotel room, they awaited their post-show per diem, expecting their usual fifty dollars. To their amazement, their promoter brought in a large trash bag and poured it out on the bed. It was nearly three thousand dollars in cash. The five young men stared wide-eyed and silently; had they really just earned all this money? Were they really popular enough to have made all that cash? Yes, indeed they were. This story is but one of the many interesting, compelling, and, frankly, unknown stories from the nascent days of “America’s Band” that can be found in the in-depth and quite essential biography, Becoming The Beach Boys. Though the band’s earliest music has …

Seattle’s Spanish Castle and Party Line — A Research Challenge

This is the first in a series of articles in which I will discuss researching Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963. The topics will include locating and interviewing people connected to the story; searching for newspaper articles, advertisements, handbills, posters, programs, telegrams, tickets, records, and rare memorabilia; finding photographs that had not been published in other books about the band; unearthing heretofore unknown personal appearances and attempting to place dates on appearances for which dates were unknown. First, a little bit about the mystery of human memory. When I interviewed people for the book we discussed events that happened nearly half a century ago. I knew it would be difficult, if not impossible, for them to recall exact dates. I tried to gently jog their memories by asking if they could associate the event with something specific—the season, the weather, a national holiday, songs on the radio, national or world news, events in their own lives—anything that might spark an additional clue. I found with many people the simple act of strolling down memory lane and …

Library Journal Book Review

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 …

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 …

AXS Entertainment Book Review

Review by James L. Neibaur August 23, 2015 There are many groups who have achieved classic status in the history of rock and roll, but only a few are truly iconic. The Beach Boys are one of those few. In James B. Murphy’s new book, the group’s early trajectory is traced and examined, pointing out how their ideas, essentially the ideas of Brian Wilson, evolved into what eventually defined them as a unit. There are several books that try to understand the creative process of The Beach Boys once they achieved hit status with their first record. But Murphy’s book offers the most in-depth look at what transpired beforehand. Three brothers, a cousin, and a friend, with passion and spirit, but no musical training, managed to learn to play rented instruments, learn to sing, cut a record for an indie label, watch it climb the charts, and then sign with a major company. Their initial songs helped create the fun loving sunshine, surfing, and fast car mythology of California life in the post-Elvis, pre-Beatles 1960s. …

Bowie Veterinarian Is Fond of Pet Sounds

Article By John McNamara July 21, 2015 In Jim Murphy’s work as a Capitol Hill veterinarian, pet sounds are an occupational hazard. At home, they’re a welcome retreat. “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys is one of the Bowie resident’s favorite albums. Since the age of 10, Murphy has been a Beach Boys fan. He remembers the fall day in 1966 when his big brother burst into the family’s Bronx apartment, announced that he’d just heard a song called “Good Vibrations.” They had to go out and buy the 45-rpm record right away. They practically wore it out, playing it over and over and over again on the family’s Zenith turntable. Murphy guesses he’s seen the group perform about two dozen times and he has tried to read everything he can about the group. Yet, he never located a definitive account of the band’s formative years. So he wrote one himself. “Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963” was released by McFarland Press earlier this year. Murphy initially thought of the project as a simple essay, perhaps …

Psychobabble Book Review, June 29, 2015

Review: ‘Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963’ by Mike Segretto Composing the book you’ve always wanted to read is probably one of the better reasons to start a writing project, but not everyone has the ability to do the job right. I’m ashamed to admit I chuckled when I saw that the sole credit in James B Murphy’s author bio on the back of Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963 was “veterinarian.” I shut up when I started reading his book. Murphy is a very good writer, and the book he always wanted to read was definitely worth writing. The main goal of Becoming the Beach Boys is to examine the band’s earliest years to clear up the multitudinous misconceptions about that era. Murphy’s research is almost absurdly thorough. He lets no detail go un-checked. Brian Wilson claimed it was raining when The Beach Boys recorded “Surfer Girl”, so Murphy checked the local weather records to confirm that memory. The author goes to tremendous lengths to find out how the group’s long-lost first recordings were found and …