By Howie Edelson

Vintage television performance by The Beach Boys

The sun shone on Hollywood Boulevard this past month as The Beach Boys gathered at TLC Chinese Theatre for the premiere of their eagerly awaited new documentary titled, The Beach Boys. On hand were the group’s co-founders Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and David Marks – along with bandmates Bruce Johnston and Blondie Chaplin. The extended “BB’s clan” – family, friends, collaborators, and musicians – all joined forces to celebrate the new Frank Marshall / Thom Zimny-directed feature now streaming on Disney+.

Earlier in the month, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and the film’s production team kicked off the festivities across the Atlantic where they sat for a Q&A and screening of the documentary in perhaps rock’s most iconic and historic building – London’s famed Abbey Road Studios.

The Beach Boys offers a little something for everybody. In addition to charting the basic story for a legion of new converts, die-hard fans and scholars are treated to newly-unearthed family photos, classic Super 8 footage of Brian Wilson and Mike Love writing in 1962, the band -- with Brian Wilson -- rocking The Hollywood Bowl in ’65, the group on tour in Japan in ’66, as well as incredible outtakes from Vic Kettle’s 1968 European tour doc, Brian goofing around at home on Bellagio Drive in 1969 – not to mention Ed Roach’s jaw-dropping footage of The Beach Boys on and offstage back in 1972 and ’73. For many, a highlight will be previously unseen clips from Brian Wilson’s first full-length show with the band in nearly six years, filmed on July 3rd, 1976 at Southern California’s massive Anaheim Stadium.

The new doc, created with the full-fledged support of the group, chronicles key moments in the career spotlighting their early-familial connections, the band’s formation in the beginning of the 1960’s in suburban Hawthorne, California, the growth of Brian Wilson and Mike Love’s songwriting partnership, and Wilson’s absolute era-defining studio productions that have kept The Beach Boys’ music part of popular culture for over six decades. Fittingly, the documentary closes with an on-screen reunion by the band’s classic lineup. 

The Beach Boys: Music From The Documentary, the official soundtrack to the film, features such band masterpieces as “California Girls,” “In My Room,” “I Get Around,” “Help Me, Rhonda,” – along with such rarities as an A Cappella rendition of the Surf’s Up opener “Don’t Go Near The Water,” an early studio demo version of The Four Freshman chestnut, Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring,” along with incendiary live takes of such classics as “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Wild Honey,” “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” and “Fun, Fun, Fun” – among others.

Added as a special bonus is a Beach Boys-inspired new track by pop artist Stephen Sanchez, called “Baby Blue Bathing Suit.”

The new soundtrack serves as yet another sampler to one of the most profound and intoxicating catalogues in popular music. Included are a pair of Pet Sounds evergreens -- “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and the exquisite “God Only Knows.” Al Jardine has always held a soft spot for The Beach Boys’ 1966 watershed album, recalling, “We came home from (tour in) Japan and there it was, there was this masterpiece sitting there, kind of an uncut gem. And we're going, ‘Wow, hmm. What's up, Brian (laughs)???’ And we dove headlong into it and it was quite an evolutionary leap for us as singers.”

The Beach Boys in the recording studio

Brian Wilson, whose visionary talents are rediscovered and revered by each new generation, touched upon his role as The Beach Boys’ primary songwriter and producer, explaining, “I consider myself a pop music maker. . . I was just experimenting. I didn't know what I was doing, so I was just into what I was doing.”

The tracklisting to The Beach Boys: Music From The Documentary:

Don’t Go Near The Water (A Cappella) (2:36)
Fun, Fun, Fun (Live/Remastered 2000) (3:13)
Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring (Demo / Mono / Remastered 2013) (2:37)
Surfin’ (With Session Intro/Mono/Remastered 2013) (2:26)
Surfin’ Safari (Original Long Version / Mono / Remastered 2013) (2:17)
Surfin’ U.S.A. (2021 Stereo Mix) (2:27)
Little Deuce Coupe (1:40)
Surfer Girl (2021 Stereo Mix) (2:28)
In My Room (2021 Stereo Mix) (2:17)
Please Let Me Wonder (2007 Stereo Mix/Remastered 2012) (2:48)
Don’t Worry Baby (2021 Stereo Mix) (2:51)
Girl Don’t Tell Me (Stereo/Remastered 2012) (2:20)
Do You Wanna Dance? (2021 Stereo Mix) (2:34)
I Get Around (2021 Stereo Mix) (2:13)
Help Me, Rhonda (2021 Stereo Mix) (2:48)
California Girls (Stereo/Remastered 2012) (2:46)
Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Remastered 2012) (2:33)
God Only Knows (Remastered 1996) (2:55)
Good Vibrations (2021 Stereo Mix) (3:43)
You’re Welcome (2011 Smile Version) (1:07)
Vegetables (Remastered 2012) (2:10)
I Can Hear Music (2:36)
Forever (2:44)
Long Promised Road (3:32)
Don’t Go Near The Water (Remastered 2009) (2:40)
Here She Comes (2022 Mix) (5:10)
Wild Honey (Live at Carnegie Hall) (5:38)
California Saga (Big Sur) (Remastered 2000) (2:56)
Surfin’ U.S.A. (Live) (2:48)
Don’t Worry Baby (Live) (3:12)
Good Vibrations (Live) (4:48)
Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Live) (2:43)
A Day In The Life Of A Tree (Track & Backing Vocals) (2:56)
Darlin’ (2021 Stereo Mix) (2:14)
Baby Blue Bathing Suit (Bonus Track) – Stephen Sanchez (3:15)

The Beach Boys performing in front of a full stadium


While unveiling the new documentary in Britain, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston helped publicize Genesis Publications’ new book, The Beach Boys By The Beach Boys. The pair appeared on the nationwide Good Morning Britain program and went on to press the flesh with their die-hard fans at Waterstones Piccadilly as they purchased their copies of the new critically acclaimed band history -- told for the first time ever in The Beach Boys' own words.

vintage photo of The Beach Boys standing outside of a car

It seemed fitting for “America’s Band” to launch their new film and biography in Europe – a place, like many non-U.S. territories, that has always treated them as their very own. As Mike Love recalled in The Beach Boys By The Beach Boys: “I always thought it was incredible how the German audience would respond to us. And even in Paris. . .  they go crazy for The Beach Boys music (laughs). . . I would look at Billboard and Cashbox and see we had Top 10 records in Israel and South Africa and Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Finland (laughs) – we’ve played some incredible shows in Finland, for instance. And Holland at the Concertgebouw, where all these classical pianists and orchestras performed. I’ve just marveled at the fact that our music has been performed all over the world.”

Picture of Beach Boys scrap book
For a deep look into the making of Genesis Publications’ The Beach Boys By The Beach Boys, click here.
As spring slowly fades away there’s no better body of work – including a new book and movie -- to help celebrate the upcoming summer days (and summer nights!!) than by “America’s Band”: THE BEACH BOYS.

See ya next month.
Happy listening/watching/reading!!!
(Don’t forget to make way for “The Surfer Moon”. . .)

The Beach Boys signing together