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Beach Boys wink back at ‘62

June 1, 2012

Their new album comes out on Monday.

PARIS: Fifty years after their sun-soaked paeans to surfing first took a nation’s juke boxes by storm, the Beach Boys are back with a new album, “That’s Why God Made the Radio”, a wistful wink at 1962.

The album, which comes out this Monday, marks the first time in 20 years that Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, David Marks and Bruce Johnston have played together, after being rent apart by bitter legal disputes, personal and artistic feuds, and lead songwriter Wilson’s descent into mental illness.

Now in their 60s and 70s, the Beach Boys released their first album, “Surfin’ Safari”, in July 1962.

It spent 37 weeks on the US charts and introduced the world to a nascent surfing culture as seen through the harmonies of the Hawthorne, California band.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were also taking their first steps. It was the birth of a new musical era.

Formed in 1961, the Beach Boys’ founding members were Wilson and his brothers Carl and Dennis—now deceased—together with their cousin Love and high-school friend Jardine.

Marks, a neighbour, joined in 1962, and Johnston in 1965.

The band produced a string of hits tinged with surf, sand and summer love—“Surfin’ USA”, “Good Vibrations”, “California Girls”, to name a few—but infighting began to tear at the group in the mid-1960s.

“It’s actually a miracle, to tell you truth, that the five of us are together and liking each other’s company,” Marks told Newsweek in a recent interview.

“It brought back a lot of memories” being back in the studio, Brian Wilson told British website musicradar.com. “It brought back good memories and bad memories, but I didn’t let the bad memories bother me.”

Wilson, the creative force behind the band’s most famous work, wrote most of the songs on “That’s Why God Made the Radio”.

He said he structured the album as a tour through the group’s musical history.

The disc’s opening songs evoke the saccharine simplicity of the band’s early hits, while later tracks follow the more introspective turn of the group’s artistic breakthrough albums “Pet Sounds” and “Smile”, the latter originally recorded in 1967 but only released in 2004.

The songs turn back the clock to the summer of 1962 with titles like “Spring Vacation” and “Beaches in Mind”.

But the ageing band serves up its nostalgia with a bittersweet twist.

“Summer’s gone, the night grows cold, it’s time to go,” they sing in the album’s final track, “Summer’s Gone”.

The band is currently on a world tour to promote the new album and celebrate its 50th birthday.—AFP


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