Top critical review
PLEASE, JUST GIVE ME THE BEACH BOYS!
Reviewed in the United States on March 31, 2000
This extensively researched tome by Billboard's Editor-in-Chief Timothy White tells the story of The Beach Boys while integrating California history of the period. The book was extremely tedious in the beginning; too much minutiae about the Wilson's ancestors and their migration from Sweden to Kansas and finally to California. I don't mind background history, but this was a little bit more than I wanted to know. Ditto for other sections of the book regarding aqueducts, the evolution of the surfboard and surfing itself. I craved for Beach Boys information and would have preferred culling these parts out of the "California Saga". The actual story of The Beach Boys didn't start until page 85. However, the author provided new and interesting commentary on The Beach Boys, which made this book well worth the read. The thorough recounting of how the Wilson's father and manager Murry Wilson lost his eye in a work accident was riveting. Another section transcribed the dialogue that occurred during an infamous recording session that a drunk and unwelcome Murry Wilson crashed. This conversation illustrates Murry's frustration and jealousy towards Brian and his advancing record production skills. Also fascinating was a glimpse into a day circa 1976 with Brian Wilson at his home. Shattered mentally, he is being babysat by his cousin Stan Love (at a purported salary of $50,000 a year). Mr. White's mammoth research efforts shone with gems like these. Although I was occasionally frustrated with the peripheral California pap, I have to admit the invention of the hula-hoop by the Wham-O Manufacturing Company was a pleasant nostalgia trip. But to maintain my sanity I was forced to page through other non-Beach Boy sections of the book.