All posts filed under: Latest News

The Beach Boys’ Personal Appearances, 1961-1963

Jump to Appearances When the Beach Boys formed in late summer 1961, they were neither accomplished musicians nor a cohesive musical group.  Brian Wilson, 19, had been playing piano and organ at home for many years, mastering the intricate vocal jazz harmonies of his musical idols the Four Freshmen after three years of intense home study of their albums.  His brother Carl, not quite 15, had received an electric acoustic guitar for Christmas 1958 and, along with his friend and neighbor, David Marks, 13, had taken a few lessons from John Maus, later of the Walker Brothers fame.  Carl and David were enamored with the first wave of Rock ‘n’ Roll with Elvis, Little Richard, Fats Domino, and enjoyed learning the guitar stylings of Chuck Berry and Duane Eddy.  Brian’s Hawthorne High School classmate, Al Jardine, 19, had been playing acoustic guitar for many years and in late 1958 formed a trio at school which emulated the folk sensibilities of the Kingston Trio.  The other two members of the band, Dennis, the middle Wilson brother, …

Do You Love Me, Do You Surfer Girl?

One of the most enjoyable experiences in researching and writing Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, was speaking with Judy Bowles, Brian Wilson’s first serious romantic relationship, to whom Brian became engaged to be married Christmas 1962.  Judy was engaging, funny, down-to-earth, and full of affection for Brian.  Here’s her story. As Brian finished his first year of classes at El Camino Community College in early May 1961, baseball season in Hawthorne got underway.  Cities throughout the South Bay sponsored baseball leagues tailored to specific age groups.  Hawthorne’s Middle League, for boys thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen, consisted of the American League and its cross-town rival National League.  Brian volunteered as the assistant coach for the American League Pirates, whose manager and head coach was his Hawthorne High buddy Steve Andersen.  As the former starting quarterback and student body president, Andersen excelled at leadership.  He would later attain the rank of captain in the Army, become an attorney, serve on the Hawthorne City Council, and be elected Hawthorne mayor in the early 1990s.  Although Brian was well-liked …

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 …

The Beach Boys Beginnings Examined Through Book

Goldmine Magazine Interview by Ken Sharp All images courtesy of James B. Murphy From performing in school cafeterias to tearing it up on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl, James B. Murphy’s 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. Goldmine: Hite and Dorinda Morgan are key movers and shakers in the band’s early career. Tell us about them and their importance to the group’s career arc. James B. Murphy: Hite and Dorinda Morgan, a husband and wife songwriting team in their late 40s, were friends of Audree and Murry Wilson for a decade before the Wilson brothers decided they wanted to make a record. The Morgans recorded aspiring artists in a make-shift recording studio in …

The Beach Boys at Rainbow Gardens in 1962 – A Research Challenge

In the 1991 film JFK, Joe Pesci portrayed David Ferrie who famously describes President Kennedy’s assassination as “a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma.” The quote was borrowed from a radio address Winston Churchill delivered over the British Broadcasting Company October 1, 1939, to bolster Britons’ concerns about an impending war with Germany. In that stirring address, Churchill described Russia as “a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” But what does Churchill, JFK, or Joe Pesci have to do with researching Beach Boys concerts in 1962? Well, that quote aptly describes what it felt like trying to document the band’s appearances at Rainbow Gardens—a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma. Only there was no key. Until now. Maybe. Rainbow Gardens was a nightclub and dance hall located at 150 East Monterey in Pomona, California, thirty miles east of Los Angeles. It held about 800 people. By early 1962, it was owned by LA record promoter Eddie Davis …

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 …

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 …

Presenting the Book to the Beach Boys

On August 20, 2015, my wife, Bernadette, and I saw the Beach Boys at Maryland Live Casino in Hanover, Maryland, and presented a copy of Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, to Mike Love and Bruce Johnston.  Not realizing he would be there, I offered to send a copy to David Marks.  They thumbed through it, commenting on some of the photos and the early days.  They could not have been more gracious.  It was a bit surreal when Mike asked me to autograph his copy of the book.  Mike, Bruce, and David also signed the cover of my personal copy of the book. On August 30, on the Beach Boys Britain message board, Bruce commented, “Until now, the only book about the Beach Boys I thought was worth reading was The Nearest Faraway Place by Timothy White.  I am finding Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, looks like it will be a great worthwhile read, too!  Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, is a must read and I could not put it down.  There are a lot …

CANDIX Enterprises Discography

CANDIX Enterprises, Incorporated, was formed August 26, 1960, by the four Dix Brothers—twins Richard and Robert, Sherman, and Albert, of Fresno, California. A fifth brother, Theodore, and a sister, Sarita, were not involved in the record company. The name CANDIX, which they insisted be capitalized, was an amalgam of their surname Dix and that of William Silva, who preferred his stepfather’s surname Canaday, the man they hired as president of the company and to manage its day-to-day operation. They soon hired Joseph F. Saraceno as Artist & Repertoire director, and John Blore and John Fisher as record promoters. CANDIX Enterprises was distributed in Southern California by Dorothy Freeman’s Buckeye Record Distributors on West Pico Boulevard and its account was handled by record promoter Russ Regan.   CANDIX Enterprises released forty-one singles (two additional records were released on its Storm subsidiary, one record on its X Records subsidiary, and CANDIX distributed the sole release on Castil).  CANDIX ceased operating by September 1963. Contrary to some reports, Bob Dix did not file bankruptcy. He simply let the label’s …