This impressively-bound and modestly priced “coffee table book” duplicates the fastidious research of those diary-like histories of the Beatles and Stones, with British writer Keith Badman meticulously chronicling the day-to-day story of the Beach Boys from the early Sixties (as their performing career started) to about 1976.
(After that date, there’s a quick summing up of subsequent events, including the deaths of several original members and Brian’s return to the stage with the boxed-set re-release and concert versions of Pet Sounds.)
The problem is that Badman’s approach – and his terse, almost phlegmatic writing style - tends to be extremely long on minutia and detail but short on analysis or perspective.
The Beach Boys certainly have the kind of obsessive, hardcore followers who will want to know what day of the week the theremin parts on “Good Vibrations” were recorded, and the wealth of rare and often never-before-seen photos should delight even more casual fans.
The diary format and abundant appendices also let you track every Beach Boys recording session, concert, and television appearance.
But if you’re looking for explanations about Brian’s descent into mental illness, a critical appraisal of the group’s albums, or exactly how creepy ol’ Charlie Manson managed to insinuate himself into the band’s extended family, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. (Backbeat Books)