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Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson

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Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson Cover

ISBN13: 9781594863202
ISBN10: 1594863202
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Brian Wilson was the visionary behind America's most successful and influential rock band. And as the leader of the Beach Boys, he sold 100 million records, produced Pet Sounds, and built a catalog of songs that continues to define the sound and feel of American popular music. He also became one of the culture's most mysterious and tragic figures. But after spending years lost in a wilderness of despair, Wilson has fought his way back to productivity. And now with teh release of Smile — the masterwork that nearly undid him — he has returned to music's center stage.

Now Peter Ames Carlin, who conducted in-depth, exclusive interviews with dozens of sources and listened to hundreds of hours of unreleased studio recordings and live music, tells a uniquely American story of the band, the music, and the culture the Beach Boys both sang about and helped create. Carlin brings a fan's passion, a seasoned journalist's objectivity, and a cultural critic's insight to his subject, and the result is a magesterial and authoritative account of the Beach Boys' visionary figure, who has emerged into a new era of creativity.

Review:

"In this exhaustive tome, former People magazine writer Carlin chronicles the lives of the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson. By now the Wilson story is well-known, and Carlin doesn't stray much from the script: Wilson's abuse at the hands of his cantankerous father, Murry; his decline into depression; his drug use; and the band's slide from the top of the charts, singing about surfing and fast cars, to the depths of despair and, ultimately, Wilson's redemptive 2004 release of Smile. While the major beats of the story may not be news to fans, Carlin's comprehensive research adds an entirely welcome perspective. Based on numerous primary interviews, and parsing through hundreds of hours of unreleased studio tape, he succeeds in rendering an immediate and often heart-wrenching look at both the psychological abuse and the artistic muse that prodded Wilson to greatness and paralyzing depression. In one memorable passage drawn from the studio session tape, Carlin renders the torment endured by Wilson at the hands of his father during the recording of the hit 'Help Me, Rhonda.' It is moments like these, mixed in with Carlin's sober insights, that raise this effort a cut above the standard rock biography. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"A Beach Boys fan before he was a senior writer at People (he's since moved on), Carlin proves the ideal person to pen a highly readable and substantive book on this particular rock legend." Gordon Flagg, Booklist

Review:

"Great evocations of a great musician and the pop group he built, via great prose. Grade: A." Entertainment Weekly

Synopsis:

Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, along with Mike Love and Al Jardine - better known as the Beach Boys, rocketed out of a working-class Los Angeles suburb in the early sixties, and their sun-and-surf sound captured the imagination of kids across the world. In a few short years, they rode the wave all the way to the top, standing with the Beatles as one of the world's biggest bands. Despite their utopian visions, infectious hooks, and stunning harmonies, the Beach Boys were beset by drug abuse, jealousy, and terrifying mental illness. In "Catch a Wave", Peter Ames Carlin pulls back the curtain on Brian Wilson, one of popular music's most revered luminaries, as well as its biggest mystery. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and never-before heard studio recordings, Carlin follows the Beach Boys from their earliest days through Brian's deepening emotional problems to his triumphant re-emergence with the release of Smile, the legendarily unreleased album he had originally shelved.

Synopsis:

Carlin, who conducted in-depth, exclusive interviews with dozens of sources and listened to hundreds of hours of unreleased studio recordings and live music, tells a uniquely American story of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.

About the Author

Peter Ames Carlin's award-winning reportage on Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys has appeared in the New York Times, People, American Heritage, and the Portland Oregonian, where he is currently the newspaper's television critic.  Previously he was a senior writer for People in New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

William Kennedy, October 20, 2010 (view all comments by William Kennedy)
What makes this particular biography unique is the fact that it was written with the consent and participation of Brian Wilson. Trying, as it would seem, to set the record straight, or at least correct some of the falsehoods perpetuated by his physician/guru Eugene Landy, who purportedly had a very strong influence on "Wouldn't It Be Nice: My Own Story."

Peter Ames Carlin explores the history of the Beach Boys through their leader (at least for the first decade) and he writes as an obvious fan of the group and their music.

In writing of Brian's gradual coming apart, he give amples time and space to the other members of the group, who in Brian's absence, continued to write and record some of the Beach Boys best and most creative albums. Yes, "Pet Sounds" is a masterpiece, but what about "Sunflower," "Friends," "20/20?" These albums stand on their own as fantastic contributions to the world of music.

Mental illness is a grey area, and thankfully, Carlin doesn't put Brian on the couch and try to dissect why he is the way he is. Of course, Brian's relationship with his father, his wife, and the other band members is looked at, but Carlin doesn't attempt to explain away what is essentially a state of being, a creative mind that buckled under the weight of the world.

I haven't read any other Beach Boy or Brian Wilson biographies, so I can't compare or judge based on what isn't here. On it's own, this book provides an extremely insightful look at one musical genius and the history of the Beach Boys through that lens.

Obviously, for any fan of the group, for anyone who truly appreciates the Beach Boys legacy and not just their "fun in the sun" albums, this is a great book.
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bones31_2005, September 22, 2006 (view all comments by bones31_2005)
All I have to say is , if you're a Beach Boys Fan, you gotta get this book !
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(10 of 21 readers found this comment helpful)
Taskin, September 7, 2006 (view all comments by Taskin)
Carlin's book surpasses both the gossipy David Gaines biography and the somewhat disorganized Timothy White offering because he has done a thorough and balanced job. He assesses the musical output which from the M.I.U. album on is a difficult and formidable task because, well, the records just aren't very good. He also takes the history up to the present day including the death of Carl, the 'pro-Mike Love' documentary "Endless Harmony" and the made for tv movie that appeared in the past decade, and the continuous squabbling by Al, Mike, Brian and Bruce.
A painful story for sure, but Brian's resurrection with "Smile" gives a happy ending to an often contradictory and paradoxical California saga.

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(11 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594863202
Subtitle:
The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson
Publisher:
Rodale Books
Author:
Wilson, Brian
Author:
Carlin, Peter James
Author:
Carlin, Peter Ames
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Composers & Musicians - Rock
Subject:
Rock musicians
Subject:
Composers & Musicians
Subject:
History & Criticism - General
Subject:
Composers & Musicians - General
Subject:
Genres & Styles - Rock
Subject:
Rock musicians -- United States.
Subject:
Wilson, Brian
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20070626
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
A -</b> <i>Entertainment Weekly</i></div></div><di
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16-page black and white insert
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.26 x 6.24 x 1.27 in 1 lb

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Featured Titles
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Rock » Biographies

Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 368 pages Rodale Press - English 9781594863202 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this exhaustive tome, former People magazine writer Carlin chronicles the lives of the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson. By now the Wilson story is well-known, and Carlin doesn't stray much from the script: Wilson's abuse at the hands of his cantankerous father, Murry; his decline into depression; his drug use; and the band's slide from the top of the charts, singing about surfing and fast cars, to the depths of despair and, ultimately, Wilson's redemptive 2004 release of Smile. While the major beats of the story may not be news to fans, Carlin's comprehensive research adds an entirely welcome perspective. Based on numerous primary interviews, and parsing through hundreds of hours of unreleased studio tape, he succeeds in rendering an immediate and often heart-wrenching look at both the psychological abuse and the artistic muse that prodded Wilson to greatness and paralyzing depression. In one memorable passage drawn from the studio session tape, Carlin renders the torment endured by Wilson at the hands of his father during the recording of the hit 'Help Me, Rhonda.' It is moments like these, mixed in with Carlin's sober insights, that raise this effort a cut above the standard rock biography. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A Beach Boys fan before he was a senior writer at People (he's since moved on), Carlin proves the ideal person to pen a highly readable and substantive book on this particular rock legend."
"Review" by , "Great evocations of a great musician and the pop group he built, via great prose. Grade: A."
"Synopsis" by ,
Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, along with Mike Love and Al Jardine - better known as the Beach Boys, rocketed out of a working-class Los Angeles suburb in the early sixties, and their sun-and-surf sound captured the imagination of kids across the world. In a few short years, they rode the wave all the way to the top, standing with the Beatles as one of the world's biggest bands. Despite their utopian visions, infectious hooks, and stunning harmonies, the Beach Boys were beset by drug abuse, jealousy, and terrifying mental illness. In "Catch a Wave", Peter Ames Carlin pulls back the curtain on Brian Wilson, one of popular music's most revered luminaries, as well as its biggest mystery. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and never-before heard studio recordings, Carlin follows the Beach Boys from their earliest days through Brian's deepening emotional problems to his triumphant re-emergence with the release of Smile, the legendarily unreleased album he had originally shelved.
"Synopsis" by , Carlin, who conducted in-depth, exclusive interviews with dozens of sources and listened to hundreds of hours of unreleased studio recordings and live music, tells a uniquely American story of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.
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