All posts filed under: Published

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 …

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 …

ARSC Journal Book Review

Reviewed by Robert Iannapollo Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal, p. 307-309, Vol. 46, No. 2 Fall 2015 Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963. By James B, Murphy. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015. 422pp, including multiple appendices, extensive footnotes, photos, bibliography and index. ISBN= 978-0-7864-7365-69  Knowing I was quite the Beach Boys maven, my editor presented me with Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963 by James B. Murphy for review. He wondered what a veterinarian could add to the vast Beach Boys bibliography, as did I. Quite a bit, as it turns out. The years from the band’s formation in 1961 until the initial banner year of 1963 (the year of three top 10 hits, with their “B” sides also scoring well), has been covered in most bios in a cursory manner at best. Yet it was a very important time for the group in getting their act together (so to speak). The story is a confusing jumble of memories, facts, recording session credits, and concerts. Having occurred over 50 years ago, it gets murkier with every passing …

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 …

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 …

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 …