Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961–1963


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About the Book

They were almost The Pendletones—after the Pendleton wool shirts favored on chilly nights at the beach—then The Surfers, before being named The Beach Boys. But what separated them from every other teenage garage band with no musical training? They had raw talent, persistence and a wellspring of creativity that launched them on a legendary career now in its sixth decade.
Following the musical vision of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys blended ethereal vocal harmonies, searing electric guitars and lush arrangements into one of the most distinctive sounds in the history of popular music. Drawing on original interviews and newly uncovered documents, this book untangles the band’s convoluted early history and tells the story of how five boys from California formed America’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band.

About the Author(s)

James B. Murphy is a companion animal veterinarian in Washington, D.C. He lives in Bowie, Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

James B. Murphy
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 436
Bibliographic Info: 83 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7365-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1853-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 3
A Note About Record Charts 7
1. Hawthorne High and Graduation Day 9
2. Hawthorne, California 24
3. Headed for Hollywood: Dorinda and Hite Morgan 34
4. On Our Way to Sunny California: Virginia and Donald Jardine 46
5. A Musical Education 56
6. Life After High School (July 1960–July 1961) 68
7. Someone Should Write a Song About Surfing (August–October 1961) 81
8. Pendletones Become Surfers (November 1961) 100
9. CANDIX Enterprises, Inc. 111
10. “Call Them the Beach Boys”—Russ Regan 117
11. A Month of Firsts (December 1961) 124
12. Number 3 in LA (January–February 1962) 137
13. One Hit Wonders (March 1962) 156
14. Making Tracks … to the Tower (April 1962) 168
15. A Capitol Contract (May–June 1962) 185
16. Safari, California Style (July 1962) 201
17. Pandora’s Box and Azusa Teen Club (August 1962) 212
18. Beyond the Boys (September 1962) 226
19. An Album Debut and the Pressure’s On (October–December 1962) 239
20. A Sonic Tidal Wave (January–March 1963) 259
21. Making Waves in the Midwest (April–June 1963) 281
22. 36 Cities in 45 days (July–August 1963) 297
23. The Greatest Second Chance in Rock ’n’ Roll (September–October 1963) 309
24. “The Warmth of the Sun” (November–December 1963) 319
Coda: The Hite Morgan Tapes—Discovery, Illumination, and Litigation 324
Appendix 1: The Beach Boys’ Personal Appearances, 1961–1963 343
Appendix 2: Timeline of “Surfin’” Releases 368
Appendix 3: “Surfin’” Chart Position History 369
Appendix 4: “Surfin’” Revenue and Expense Stream, and Production Flow 370
Appendix 5: Standard Songwriter’s Contract for “Surfin’” Dated September 15, 1961 371
Appendix 6: Floor Plan of Hite and Dorinda Morgan’s Home, 2511 Mayberry Street 372
Appendix 7: Floor Plan of CANDIX Enterprises, 6425 Hollywood Boulevard 373
Appendix 8: American Federation of Musicians Contract Dated February 8, 1962 374
Appendix 9: Letter of Intent and Agreement from Murry Wilson to Hite B. Morgan Dated March 29, 1962 375
Appendix 10: Floor Plan of Stereo Masters, 5534–5538 Melrose Avenue 376
Appendix 11: The Beach Boys’ Midwest Tour, April 24–May 5, 1963 377
Appendix 12: “Dennis” by Dorinda Morgan 378
Chapter Notes 379
Bibliography 400
Index 405

Book Reviews & Awards

“This meticulously researched and presented title gives readers a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ look at how the Beach Boys got its start and is the definitive book on the humble beginnings of the band…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…a must-read for Beach Boys fans and popular music historians…readers will love the depth of research…recommended”—Library Journal; “no definitive rock history collection or Beach Boys fan should be without this reference, which packs in statistics, black and white photos, and insights not available elsewhere”—Midwest Book Review; “recommended…engaging and entertaining”—Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal; “the most in-depth look…fascinating details about the creation of each song…an absolute must”—Examiner; “fascinating…the research is astonishing…Murphy provides far more detail about those three years than has ever been available before…exhaustive detail”—American Songwriter; “Murphy is a very good writer, and the book he always wanted to read was definitely worth writing. He lets no detail go un-checked…an important historical document through and through. A top ten best retro Popculture book of 2015.”—Psychobabble.