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Heroes and Villains: The True Story of the Beach Boys

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Overview

The Beach Boys have been rolling, like the tide their great songs evoke, for more than thirty years, reaching professional peaks and tragic personal depths. In this electrifying account Steven Gaines reveals the gothic tale of violence, addiction, greed, genius, madness, and rock 'n' roll behind the wholesome, surf-and-sun image. Through candid interviews with close friends, family, and the Beach Boys themselves, Heroes and Villains portrays and evaluates all those who propelled the California myth, and the group...

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Overview

The Beach Boys have been rolling, like the tide their great songs evoke, for more than thirty years, reaching professional peaks and tragic personal depths. In this electrifying account Steven Gaines reveals the gothic tale of violence, addiction, greed, genius, madness, and rock 'n' roll behind the wholesome, surf-and-sun image. Through candid interviews with close friends, family, and the Beach Boys themselves, Heroes and Villains portrays and evaluates all those who propelled the California myth, and the group who sang about it, into worldwide prominence: Murry Wilson, the corrosive father who abused them as children and exploited them as adults; Dennis Wilson, who explored every avenue of excess (including welcoming the entire Manson family into his home) to his inevitable self-destruction; the Wilsons’ cousin, frontman Mike Love, whose devotion to eastern religion could not quell his violent temper; the wives (more than ten), mistresses, managers, and producers who consumed huge pieces of the ”musical pie”; and of course, the band’s artistic center, Brian Wilson, the mentally fragile musical genius who achieved so much and then so little. With dozens of photos, Heroes and Villains recounts the bitter saga of the American dream realized and distorted and the music that survived.

Through candid interviews with close friends, family, and the Beach Boys themselves, this biography portrays and evaluates all those who propelled the California myth, and the group who sang about it, into world-wide prominence. With dozens of photos, this book recounts the bitter saga of the American dream realized and distorted, and the music that survived. 66 photos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
 Winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for best Pop Music Book.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wallach ( Women's Work focuses on the staunch ferocity of maternal love and the ineffable terror experienced by a seven-year-old in this story of turmoil atan exclusive Manhattan school. Harried Cornelia Fuller is clumsily juggling many problemsa recent divorce from a narcissistic actor, unpaid billswhen she anxiously observes that her child, Livvie, can barely read. Unbeknownst to Cornelia, Livvie, who attends the elite Boston School, endures the derision of classmates, as well as repeated sexual molestations furtively inflicted on herby the institution's janitor. Suddenly, Dr. Billy Connor, the school's ruthlessly pragmatic new headmaster, plans to expel Livvie and other students with conspicuous learning difficulties. Cornelia joins a group of incensed mothers intent on ousting Connor, but her most indispensable ally is Dane Nillssen, a benevolent psychiatrist eager to heal both Fullers' anguish. With moving acuity, Wallach portrays the traumas weathered by mother and child, and carefully delineates the temperament of Billy Connor, for whom self-aggrandizement overrides judiciousness. This cogent, penetrating tale juxtaposes innocence and tyranny with uncommon subtlety. (October 17)
Library Journal
The 25-year history of the Beach Boys has been one of triumph and tragedy. Starting out in 1961 with music that rode the California surfing craze to national popularity, the band projected a cleancut, all-American image. Their sudden success and later fall from popularity resulted in personal and group problems. By the early 1980s the Boys were surviving on nostalgia concert tours. Author Gaines, relying mostly on primary sources, has anecdotally captured all the infighting while dealing deftly with complex business details and treating the songs to thoughtful analysis. Although much of his information is not new (see John Milward's The Beach Boys Silver Anniversary , LJ 8/85) this presentation is vivid and compelling. Photos not seen. Paul G. Feehan, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Cables, Fla.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306806476
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 420
  • Sales rank: 698,644
  • Product dimensions: 0.93 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Gaines has written many books, including Obsession: The Life and Times of Calvin Klein and, as coauthor, The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2001

    THE BEST READ OF ALL THE BEACH BOYS BOOKS

    THOUGH SOME OF HIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN DISPUTED BY OTHER BEACH BOYS SCHOLARS,GAINES'BOOK IS THE MOST INTERESTING VERSION I HAVE READ OF THIS STORY. HE GIVES MOST OF THEIR LATER MUSIC A SHORT SHIFT BUT THE BAND'S STORY IS TOLD HERE IN THE MOST LINEAR AND EASY TO UNDERSTAND WAY. ITS ALSO VERY EASY TO GO BACK AND RESEARCH THROUGH THE BOOK.OVERALL WELL WORTH YOUR TIME AND MONEY

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    A Must Read for Former Beach Boys Fans

    A good chronological description of their lives. Liked the way the author included other artists, songs, and events along the timeline. Found the book good reading and anything but boring. However, I have less respect for the Beach Boys now after learning their lives were so problem-ridden and their behavior incorrigible, all brought on by themselves. A good, true story about how some musicians are unable to handle fame.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2000

    This is a must read!!!!

    Even if you are not a Beach Boys fan (and I am not), you will absolutely enjoy this book. A true insight into the tragic, turbulent and tumultuous lives of this legendary 60's band and its tortured leader and creative genius, Brian Wilson. From the physical and mental abuse the Wilson brothers suffered at hands of their cruel and controlling father, Murry, to fame and success to drug abuse and just plain bad behavior. This book is a must read! I could not put it down --- and believe it or not, I've read it three times! Order it today!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2009

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    Posted July 14, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

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