As a founding member of The Beach Boys, Mike Love has spent an extraordinary fifty-five years, and counting, as the group's lead singer and one of its principal lyricists. Read more...
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As a founding member of The Beach Boys, Mike Love has spent an extraordinary fifty-five years, and counting, as the group's lead singer and one of its principal lyricists. The Beach Boys, from their California roots to their international fame, are a unique American story -- one of overnight success and age-defying longevity; of musical genius and reckless self-destruction; of spirituality, betrayal, and forgiveness -- and Love is the only band member to be part of it each and every step. His own story has never been fully told, of how a sheet-metal apprentice became the quintessential front man for America's most successful rock band, singing in more than 5,600 concerts in 26 countries.
Love describes the stories behind his lyrics for pop classics such as "Good Vibrations," "California Girls," "Surfin' USA," and "Kokomo," while providing vivid portraits of the turbulent lives of his three gifted cousins, Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson. His partnership with Brian has few equals in American pop music, though Mike has carved out a legacy of his own -- he co-wrote the lyrics to eleven of the twelve original Beach Boy songs that were top 10 hits while providing the lead vocals on ten of them. The band's unprecedented durability also provides a glimpse into America's changing cultural mores over the past half century, while Love himself has experienced both the diabolical and the divine -- from Charles Manson's "family" threatening his life to Maharishi instilling it with peace. A husband, a father, and an avid environmentalist, Love has written a book that is as rich and layered as the Beach Boy harmonies themselves.
- ISBN-13: 9780399176418
- ISBN-10: 0399176411
- Publisher: Blue Rider Press
- Publish Date: September 2016
- Page Count: 448
- Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-11
- Reviewer: Staff
In the 1960s, Love, along with his cousins Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, rode high on a wave of the Beach Boys’ popularity until it eventually came crashing to the shore when a swell of infighting, as well as Brian’s deteriorating mental condition, washed over them. In this fiercely honest, sometimes arrogant, memoir, Love transfixes readers with his stories of the rise and fall of the band, his own work as a songwriter, and his deep engagement with spirituality and the ways that it has influenced his music. As a teenager, he was obsessed with Chuck Berry’s poetic lyrics and with R&B in general, while Brian was fascinated by the folk music of Ricky Nelson and the harmonies of the Four Freshman. By his 20s, Love recalls that he and his cousins recognized their tremendous musical gifts and that there was “magic in that gene pool” that needed to be set free. Before long, Love was writing lyrics for songs such as “I Get Around,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” “California Girls,” and “Good Vibrations.” In spite of Love’s lyrical contributions to the songs, he’s not given credit on the records: “I knew I was losing out on songwriter royalties.... I just wanted my own name on the label.” By the late ’70s, the band fractured, and in mind-numbing prose, Love describes his legal battles to win a settlement against Brian for lost royalties. Love’s sobering look at the ups and downs of a rock and roll band nevertheless ends on a note of hope that music can provide harmony in word and spirit for a struggling world. (Sept.)