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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars California Saga retold with added context, 22 Aug. 2006
This review is from: Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the "Beach Boys'" Brian Wilson (Hardcover)
The story of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys..their journey from teen idols, to outrunning The Beatles as the epitome of psychedelic cool....to utter drug-addled weirdness, financial,physical and mental collapse, mayhem, appalling business decisions, Hawaiian shirts and the nostalgia circuit (which they still occupy without Brian) and Brians own return to public life, is a fascinating story. Its also rather bleak, sometimes disturbing, sometimes very funny story and it is very well told by Peter Ames Carlin here.

He explores not just how, but *why* it all went so wrong so many times. He adds useful context about the history; and the driving forces, for better or worse, that influenced how the band conducted its affairs.

The Wilson brothers each deserve a Biog their own, here the author concentrates on the pivotal Brian, his story being the most extraordinary of all. This isn't an 'authorised' biog as such but appears to have the thumbs up from Brian's 'people'. Brian apparently has disowned his ghost-written "Autobiography" of a few years back, the author is sceptical of it to say the least, so perhaps this is as close as you'll get to the truth for now.

This is very measured, balanced, sober account of the rather less than sober individuals involved. He sticks to the facts, and hence this is a far cry from the sensational story in Stephen Gaines classic "Heroes and Villains" (which easily sits alongside Motley Crue's as one of the more hair-raising rock stories) but the writer doesn't shy from the more grim aspects of the story and is no less readable or entertaining.

Similarly, die hard fans may not learn much they don't know but will enjoy this approach and angle to the story. Ames-Carlin clearly loves the music and writes in depth about each of the Beach Boys and Brian Solo albums (something always lacking in other Biogs of the band). Its the kind of writing that should inspire fans to dig out those overlooked late 70s LPs again or hopefully encourage new listeners to seek out Surfs Up, Sunflower, Holland, So Tough et al, and discover the world beyond Pet Sounds and Smile.

An Excellent, well researched book, and a worthwhile purchase for both die hard fans and newcomers alike.
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