Photograph by George Jerman

By Howie Edelson  

As we slowly make our way into 2024, The Beach Boys continue to celebrate an astonishing legacy with their legion of fans. There’s no stopping the group’s landmark moments from creeping up every year – with March 2024 marking the 60th anniversary of the band’s fifth long player in 17 months, 1964’s unforgettable, Shut Down Volume 2. The album, which was released on March 2nd, 1964, peaked at Number 13 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The band was forced to adopt the awkward Volume 2 title as its moniker after their label Capitol Records beat them to the punch by releasing Shut Down -- a 1963 compilation featuring assorted automotive and hot rod songs. Despite the title – the collection only included a pair of Beach Boys tunes – the previously-released title track and 1962’s instant classic, “409.”

The group’s REAL Shut Down album (albeit relegated to “Volume 2” status), not only built on the strength of the band’s then-six Top 40 hits and three straight Top 10 albums, but ushered in a new phase of Beach Boys music for their first release following the arrival of the British labelmates, The Beatles, arriving in America and ushering in the famed “British Invasion.”  

Photograph by George Jerman

Despite the bedlam created by “Beatlemania,” America’s top act proved they were more than up for the challenge with the excellent Shut Down Volume 2. Kicking off the set was the band’s Top Five smash “Fun, Fun, Fun” – a Brian Wilson / Mike Love song for the ages that more often than not has served as the closing song of The Beach Boys’ legendary live shows. A tune passed down through the generations, “Fun, Fun, Fun” remains without a doubt one of the cousins’ greatest collaborations, an ultimate calling card for youth, and one of the most instantly memorable and beloved rock singles of all time.  

The album also featured the breathtaking “Don’t Worry Baby” co-written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian. Although seemingly about a driver’s doubts prior to a drag race, it mirrored Brian’s concerns with the state of his creative life and career – along with the pain, fear, and indecision that came from it.   

One of the most poignant moments on the Shut Down Volume 2 album is “The Warmth Of The Sun.” Written around the time of President Kennedy’s assassination, it took the anguish of the tragedy and transformed the emotion into one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking love songs of all time. 

1964 was to be a massive year of growth and change for The Beach Boys – and this was but a taste of what was to come and was arguably the greatest marriage between Mike Love's lyrics to his cousin Brian Wilson's music.  

Mike Love explained to us how the song combined the despair of a broken heart with the first national tragedy of the 1960's: “‘The Warmth Of The Sun,’ which is one of the more beautiful songs I think we've ever done. . . Well, I wrote the lyrics to that, Brian did the music. And we wrote it one night in 1963 (after) we were awakened with the news that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. And so obviously, that song has a melancholy sadness. And we didn't change the lyrics at that point, I had written them down. But it was about losing someone you love, but at least you had had the feeling of having been in love.” 

Photograph by George Jerman

Brian Wilson recalled the collaboration with affection, remembering, “In my opinion ‘The Warmth Of The Sun’ lyrics are probably the most beautiful Mike has ever written and it’s one of the prettiest songs I ever made. We dedicated it to President Kennedy and I tried to sing it sweetly, attempting to capture the sound of an angel.” 

The late-Dennis Wilson was often overwhelmed by the power of his brother’s musicality and genius while imparting pure emotion into sound: “We would be in the studio and Brian would play us a song that was so beautiful that we would start crying. It was like, ‘How could this be happening?’ There wasn't one person in the group that could come close to Brian's talent.” 


Looking Forward To April. . . 

Genesis Publications

Coming on April 2nd is the long-awaited market edition of Genesis Publications book, The Beach Boys By The Beach Boys. Following the sold-out 2023 deluxe edition, the new run is now available for pre-order at www.thebeachboysbook.com and follows on from the sellout success of the handbound, limited edition, signed by all four members of the band -- which proved to be one of the fastest-selling editions in Genesis Publications’ history. 

The Beach Boys By The Beach Boys is told through the words of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, and Bruce Johnston – marking the first time the band has collaborated in telling their collective story from their childhood through their years helping create the music business at large in the recording studios and touring the world. The Beach Boys By The Beach Boys is the ultimate chronicle of what life was like on the road to becoming “America’s Band.”   

Genesis Publications

Also contributing to the set are Beach Boys members David Marks, Blondie Chaplin, and Ricky Fataar – along with such high profile friends and fans as Bob Dylan, Pete Townshend, Lindsey Buckingham, Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Ray Davies, Jimmy Page, Carly Simon, Roger McGuinn, Graham Nash, David Lee Roth, Thom Yorke, and many more. 

According to the official announcement for The Beach Boys By The Beach Boys: 

The band members describe their story from the beginning: signing their first major recording contract with Capitol Records and creating some of the most flawless, sun-soaked singles of all time as well as sharing their memories of recording revered albums such as Pet Sounds, and fan-favorites Wild HoneyFriendsSunflower, and Holland. The story follows their journey from school fundraisers to global tours and landmark shows such as Prague when, in 1969, they were the first Western band to visit Czechoslovakia, as well as their historic appearances at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1972. Throughout, the band reflects on the creation of the songs that captured the hearts and imaginations of  now several generations. 

Genesis Publications

With unlimited access to the Capitol Records archive, The Beach Boys band archive and their personal archives, The Beach Boys By The Beach Boys has been carefully curated from these unique sources to create an exciting visual journey, combining never-before-seen negatives with iconic images. Outtakes from legendary album sessions are featured, such as Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) and Pet Sounds, as well as behind-the-scenes recording photographs from SMiLE20/20 and more. An abundance of live shots includes the band's first European tour and rehearsals for the first live performance of “Good Vibrations,” which Brian Wilson travelled over 2,000 miles to oversee.  

These photographs are accompanied by ephemera from across the years, including tape boxes, tour posters and programs, handwritten notes and lyrics, newspaper clippings, trade advertisements, chord sheets, and studio documents -- all of which assist in illustrating The Beach Boys’ remarkable story.     

Genesis Publications

Looking back on the unprecedented ride The Beach Boys signed on for while still in their teens, co-founder Al Jardine admitted: “We were just having fun and it developed into something else. It's funny. We were really an accident -- but a good accident. And our first record seemed to be enough for us. We sure didn't think we'd be recording into the next century.” 

When discussing The Beach Boys’ long and storied career, the late-Carl Wilson explained, To us, we were just us, and the music is the group. . . But when it gets down to it, people really like to see the goodness of our relationship endure. I think maybe the group is comforting to people.” 

Spring is here! 

“The sky grows brighter every minute of the sunrise!” 
So much more to come in ’24!!! 

The Beach Boys: Now and always. 

Genesis Publications