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Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy
     

Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy

3.5 4
by Mike Love, James S. Hirsch
 

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The New York Times Bestseller

Mike Love tells the story of his legendary, raucous, and ultimately triumphant five-decade career as the front man of The Beach Boys, the most popular American band in history -- timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of "Good Vibrations."

As a founding member of The Beach Boys, Mike Love

Overview

The New York Times Bestseller

Mike Love tells the story of his legendary, raucous, and ultimately triumphant five-decade career as the front man of The Beach Boys, the most popular American band in history -- timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of "Good Vibrations."

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
07/11/2016
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.)
From the Publisher
“More than a half-century’s worth of inside information about the Beach Boys.” The New York Times
 
“[Good Vibrations] is rich with Beach Boys info . . . some meaty insights, new stories even the most diehard Beach Boys fan has never heard, and Love’s own take on much-told tales . . . a crucial addition to the library shelf.”—Bob Ruggerio, Houston Press

“Riveting...fascinating...how the music transcended the story and spread California sunshine around the globe.... Love is able to articulate the depth of his feelings for the music in a way that will send fans back to their stereos to crank up ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ and ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ and ‘The Warmth of the Sun’ whether they have an ocean handy or not.” —Sarah Rodman, Los Angeles Times

“If it’s the jumbo popcorn bag of Beach Boys lore you saltily crave, then Love’s Good Vibrations should hold you the length of the circus. In the battle of the Beach Boys memoirs, it’s the better read: lively, informative, thumbtacked with crazy specifics... It’s all here and then some.” —James Wolcott, Vanity Fair 

“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.... [a] sobering look at the ups and downs of a rock and roll band...ends on a note of hope that music can provide harmony in word and spirit for a struggling world.” —Publishers Weekly

Library Journal
04/01/2016
It's the 50th anniversary of "Good Vibrations," perfect timing for Love's memoir, though it certainly goes beyond that immortal Beach Boys hit. Love discusses his five-decade tenure with the group, recalls his various bandmates, and reveals the stories behind many of his famous lyrics.
Kirkus Reviews
2016-07-04
The Beach Boy everyone loves to hate speaks his piece—sometimes sweetly, often gruffly, but always candidly.As has been the case for half a century, Love has axes to grind: Uncle Murry Wilson cut him out of lots of cash. “My dad fucked us,” says cousin Brian, who cut him out of lots of credit. And fans have cut him out of the ardor reserved for the three Wilson brothers—and even Al Jardine. The author tends to the blustery in this memoir, but he’s got claim to bragging rights; after all, as he’s quick to insist, he gave Paul McCartney the idea for the Beach Boys–ish chorus in “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” and he sprinkled the song “Good Vibrations” and the rest of the catalog with special magic. One can certainly appreciate why he might feel bitter, since suits and countersuits have been flying like surfboards atop the cresting waves for decades, but Love is not inclined to make nice even as he drifts toward his ninth decade, and he’s taking no prisoners. When he revisits embarrassing moments such as his notorious Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction speech, he’s generally convinced of his righteousness (“I didn’t have time to meditate that day,” he says of that unproud moment, “so I was even more on edge”). A few more efforts to soothe ruffled feathers and forgive trespasses would have taken the aggrieved, resentful edge off this book, but still, it’s good to hear the much-repeated story of the Beach Boys’ implosion from the point of view of the canonical villain of the piece. And you’ve got to admire his stamina: he gets up and goes to it each day, he says, because “the music is now part of our country’s DNA,” and go to it he does, hitting stages all over the world hundreds of times a year. For Beach Boys completists, essential. For die-hard fans of Love & Mercy, probably one to miss.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399176418
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/13/2016
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
12,563
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.80(d)

Meet the Author

Mike Love is a founding member of The Beach Boys, considered to be the most popular American band in history, with 13 Gold Albums, 55 top-100 singles, and four #1 hits. Love has been the lead singer of the group one of its principal lyricists since its inception in 1961. His credits include such pop classics as "Good Vibrations," "California Girls," "I Get Around," "Fun Fun Fun," and "Kokomo." Love has received an Ella Award for his song writing, and, as part of The Beach Boys, he is a member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; the Vocal Group Hall of Fame; and has received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

James S. Hirsch is a journalist and New York Times bestselling author whose books include biographies of Willie Mays and Rubin "Hurricane" Carter and examinations of military issues, the health care system, and global philanthropy. Hirsch won the Christopher Award for Walk in Their Shoes: Can One Person Change the World.

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Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
2_Many_Movies 6 months ago
Excellent source of Beach Boy musical journey by an original member. I've read many books about the Beach Boys, about and by Brian Wilson, and I am glad Mike Love has presented the group's and his personal voyage through the years, times of success and tribulations. He is factual without being insulting regarding the legal problems between members. I've read a lot about music groups and it seems they all get cheated by record companies, and by agents, lawyers, friends, family, and other members of the group. Even the Beatles had such situations. Mike Love has gone through a lot, he works hard and has carried on with the touring. Of course he should get full credit and monetary gain for his part in the songwriting. His words were poetry, look at Warmth of the Sun. The songs would not have been as successful or as beloved without the beautiful and fitting lyrics. As for fans who blast Love, I have little regard for you. I've been in the music business all my life and know what is right. Sure, Brian Wilson is a musical genius; with melody, arrangements, and productions, but a weakness is not having the lyrical ability. So Roger Christian, Gary Usher, Mike Love, Tony Asher, et. all had to supply the missing link to Brian's incredible music. This book is a bit long in spots but I highly recommend for fans and non fans alike.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a total Whine-y WINDBAG! Someone sure does Loves himself. This guy comes off as a total JERK! I could not finish this book fast enough! Waste of money! Waste of time! Regret buying this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Mike Love tells the whole story and does it wonderfully. A wonderful history, very sad at times. A really good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago