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YMMV: The Beach Boys
  • Archive Panic: Twenty-seven studio albums (nineteen if you don't count 15 Big Ones-onward), a massive supply of unreleased songs and outtakes, hours of studio sessions, a frankly absurd amount of Smile material, and an endless deluge of illuminating footage of concerts, interviews, promos, and other assorted segments. And people keep discovering new stuff all the time.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Pet Sounds and Smile.
    • "Good Vibrations", at the time it was produced, was already being hailed as one of the greatest pop singles ever recorded. More than 40 years later, its reputation hasn't faded one little bit.
    • For each individual member:
      • Brian Wilson: "Good Vibrations"
      • Carl Wilson: "The Trader"
      • Dennis Wilson: "River Song"
      • Mike Love: "Big Sur"
      • Al Jardine: "California"
      • Bruce Johnston: "Disney Girls (1957)"
    • The 1997 stereo remix of Pet Sounds deserves special mention. There's just so much more you can hear in the music compared to the original mono version. In particular, the descending trombone on the chorus of "Here Today" is much, much more prominent. And is just one of the greatest things ever.
  • Better Than Canon: Even with the release of both Brian and The Beach Boys' versions of Smile, there are still a good number of people who prefer various bootlegs/fanmixes, particularly those that combine the two.
  • Breakaway Pop Hit: "Kokomo" provided the band with a very unexpected #1 hit in 1988 upon being featured in the Tom Cruise movie Cocktail.
  • Broken Base: The albums the band recorded prior to 1967 are pretty much universally agreed to be great, and the ones after 1977 are agreed to pretty much suck. The quality of the ones in between, however, is widely and fiercely debated. Some fans regard them as feeble and tired attempts to stay relevant while other fans consider them to contain some of the best work the Beach Boys have ever done.
    • The pre-'67 era of the band can itself be divided between the earlier surfing/cars/girls hits and the more sonically and thematically ambitious (if still pop-oriented) Today!/Pet Sounds/Smile stuff. The former accounts for most of the group's airplay on oldies radio and attracts audiences to the Mike Love-led touring band, while the latter is the basis for most of the group's critical acclaim and the inspiration for indie-rock revivalists like the Elephant Collective bands.
  • Covered Up: The Beach Boys did not write "Barbara Ann"- it was a cover of a song by a band called The Regents. Nor did they write "Sloop John B", which was actually a reworked version of a West Indies folk song.
    • Nor did they write "I Can Hear Music". The song was originally performed by the Ronettes, and although the Phil Spector influences are unmistakable in the Beach Boys' cover, the song is still mainly associated with the Beach Boys.
    • In the other direction, the Beach Boys wrote and performed the original version of "Little Honda". However, it was the Hondells who had a Top Ten hit with the song.
  • Critical Dissonance: Pet Sounds was one of the first albums to have this happen, drawing critical raves but slow sales.
  • Dork Age: The band's recorded output from the ill-conceived Mike Love-led M.I.U. Album onward.
  • Ear Worm: "Wouldn't it be nice!"
    • Get around round round... I get around!
    • I've been in this town so long that back in the city I've been taken for a lost and gone...
      • A complex earworm? Absurd!
      • The "Heroes and Villains" harpsichord motif in and of itself. Rather fittingly, one of the songs incorporating it is "Do You Like Worms?".
    • "Ding! (Ding!) Dang! (Dang!) Ding and a ding dong! Ding! (Ding!) Dang! (Dang!)..." note 
    • Acually... about 60% of The Beach Boys' output was just made out of worms...
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Dennis Wilson, transitioning from pretty-boy drummer to highly sophisticated songwriter in nothing flat.
    • Murry Wilson got his own cartoon series.
    • Among the people who have written lyrics for the band, Roger Christian is gaining a following for writing the lyrics for "Little Deuce Coupe" and "Don't Worry Baby".
  • Face of the Band: Mostly averted. Brian and Mike were the most visible members, and the two most likely to be mentioned whenever the Beach Boys are discussed, but Carl and Dennis both had a lot of fans.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Most fans would like to forget that the Boys kept making albums after Endless Summer.
    • 1977's Love You is the last Beach Boys album which is generally respected amongst the fanbase. It's also the last album before Mike Love took over. Coincidence?
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The 1964 Album Filler track "Cassius Love vs. Sonny Wilson" features Mike and Brian playfully insulting each other and mocking each other's singing styles. Not so funny in light of the real life hostilities that would eventually develop between the two.
    • There's also Brian's "I'm Bugged at My Old Man". Given what we now know of Brian and Murry's relationship, the track is more than a little uncomfortable to listen to.
    • 1988's "Kokomo" contains a reference to "that Montserrat mystique" among its litany of tropical vacation-paradise islands. Most of the island of Montserrat was rendered uninhabitable by volcanism in the 90s, and its devastated economy is still struggling to recover.
    • Early pressings of the All Summer Long album mistitled the song "Don't Back Down" as "Don't Break Down".
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: During the mid-to-late 60's when the band was tanking in America, they found much greater success in England. For example, "Do It Again" peaked at #20 in the states, and #1 in the UK.
  • Growing the Beard: The Beach Boys Today! marked the point when they moved from simple surf songs to something more sophisticated, a transition that would reach its fullest flower with Pet Sounds.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Any of their ballads, especially "Don't Worry Baby" and "God Only Knows".
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Paul McCartney makes a guest appearance on the Smiley Smile song "Vegetables"... chomping on celery.
    • Ricky Fataar, otherwise known as Stig O'Hara, joined the band for a few years in the Seventies.
  • Magnum Opus: Pet Sounds
    • Recently, (as was Brian's intention) Smile has supplanted it so some extent for a good number of fans. Although it needs be said that many still view Pet Sounds as a truer Magnum Opus as it is actually a complete, cohesive work.
  • Memetic Mutation: AH-UUM-BOP-DIDDIT, AH-UUM-BOP-DIDDIT...
    • I'm a genius, too.
    • I'm pickin' up good vibrations/She's givin' me excitations (Ooh, bop bop, good vibrations/bop bop, excitations (Good, good good, good vibrations))
  • Misattributed Song: You have to feel sorry for Jan and Dean. Even though they preceded the Beach Boys, they were ultimately overshadowed by them, and even worse, many of their hits are often erroneously assumed to be Beach Boys songs.
    • This isn't helped by the fact that Brian Wilson co-wrote several of their songs, and even provided backing vocals for "Surf City". And the fact that the Beach Boys covered one Jan and Dean hit, "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena", on their first live album does nothing to clear up the confusion with regards to that song, and the fact that Dean does lead on their song Barbara Ann.
  • Mis-blamed: People blame Mike Love exclusively for the collapse of Smile, when in reality the cause was much more complicated, with factors including not just Mike Love, but also Van Dyke Parks, Capitol Records, the other Beach Boys, a royalties lawsuit, and Brian Wilson's own ailing psyche.
  • Moment Of Awesome: A good 38 years after Smile was aborted, Brian Wilson finished it.
  • Mondegreen: "Caroline, No" was originally called "Carol, I Know", but Brian misheard it as Caroline. They decided to go with the new title anyway.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: You'll never hear anything more angelic than Brian Wilson's voice in your life.
    • Carl's voice isn't far behind.
    • ALL of their voices, actually. All 5 (or 6) of them were very good lead singers, but it's the combination of their voices, blending perfectly in some of the best vocal harmonies in the history of music that makes the Beach Boys' music.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Mike Love and Al Jardine came so close to this on Holland; Mike penned "Big Sur", and Al penned "The Beaks of Eagles" and "California". All three of these songs are sublimely beautiful, melancholy, and poetic, but the two never wrote anything like them since.
    • Let's be fair: "The Beaks of Eagles" is an adaptation of a Robinson Jeffers poem.
  • The Scrappy: Mike Love is mostly remembered for either being the primary factor in the collapse of Smile, perpetuating The Beach Boys as a corny nostalgia act even to this day, or both.
    • If Love had his way, the Beach Boys wouldn't even have done Pet Sounds. Thankfully, Brian was still enough in control of his faculties at that point to ensure the project was completed.
    • The subreddit devoted to the band features a picture of Love as the downvote button, which gives an idea of how many fans dislike him.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: In spades. When most people think of The Beach Boys, they do not think "one of the greatest and most influential bands of the last 50 years" as much as they think "oldies group".
  • Signature Song: "Surfin' USA" and "Good Vibrations". "God Only Knows" is such a signature song for Carl Wilson that on their 2012 reunion tour, the Boys performed the song using a large video projector with old footage of Carl singing the lead vocals.
    • "California Girls" has become very popular recently due to a Katy Perry song with a very similar title.
  • Squick: The song "H.E.L.P. Is on the Way" provides a fair amount of this, as I'm sure no one wants to imagine Mike Love stark naked in front of a mirror. It only gets worse as the band begins to describe stomach pumps and enemas.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Mike Love hated Pet Sounds, saying it was "fucking with the formula." The album also confused the teeny-bopper fanbase, even if it's in hindsight one of the greatest albums of all time.
  • Too Cool to Live: Dennis.
  • Vindicated by History: Despite having a hit single with "Sloop John B", Pet Sounds was not a big seller initially. Years later it would be recognized as one of the greatest pop albums of all time.
  • The Woobie: Brian Wilson, in every possible way.
  • What The Hell, Costuming Department?:
    • Mike Love's a legend when it comes to clothing, particularly his many hats.
    • The group were still donning their trademark candy-striped shirts as late as 1967, which did absolutely nothing for their hipness quotient at the time.
  • Yoko Oh No: There seem to be multiple camps in the Beach Boys fandom over whether or not Brian's latest wife Melinda is a controlling she-devil, the only reason Brian's doing so well today, or both.


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