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The Beach Boys: A Biography in Words & Pictures (Ken Barnes)
Publishing Year: 1976
Published by: Sire Books-Chappell Music Company
Pages: 56

The Beach Boys: Southern California Pastoral (Bruce Golden)
Publishing Year: 1976
Published by: The Borgo Press
Pages: 59

The Beach Boys (John Tobler)
Publishing Year: 1978
Published by: Phoebus Publishing Company
Pages: 96

The Beach Boys and the California Myth (David Leaf)
Publishing Year: 1978 Revised: 1985
Published by: Courage Books
Pages: 208

The Beach Boys: The Authorized Biography of America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band (Byron Preiss)
Publishing Year: 1979
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 96

Surf's Up! The Beach Boys On Record 1961-1981 (Brad Elliott)
Publishing Year: 1984
Revised: 1991
Published by: Popular Culture, Inc.
Pages: 495

The Beach Boys Silver Anniversary (John Milward)
Publishing Year: 1985
Published by: Dolphin/Doubleday
Pages: 240

The Beach Boys (Dean Anthony)
Publishing Year: 1985
Published by: Crescent Books
Pages: 64

Heroes & Villains: The True Story of the Beach Boys (Steven Gaines)
Publishing Year: 1986
Published by: Dutton/Signet
Publishing Year: 1995
Published by: Da Capo Press
Pages: 374

Look! Listen! Vibrate! SMILE! (Domenic Priore)
Publishing Year: 1988
Revised: 1995
Published by: Small Press Distribution
Pages: 264

Wouldn't It Be Nice: My Own Story (Brian Wilson with Todd Gold)
Publishing Year: 1991
Published by: Harper Collins
Pages: 398

Denny Remembered: Dennis Wilson in Words and Pictures (Edward Wincentsen)
Publishing Year: 1991
Published by: Vergin Press
Pages: 197

The Wilson Project (Stephen J. McParland)
Publishing Year: 1991
Published by: PTB Productions
Pages: 142

The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience (Timothy White)
Publishing Year: 1994
Published by: Henry Holt and Company
Pages: 416

The Beach Boys: In Their Own Words (Nick Wise)
Publishing Year: 1994
Published by: Omnibus Press
Pages: 112

How Deep Is The Ocean? (Paul Williams)
Publishing Year: 1997
Published by: Omnibus Press
Pages: 240

Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys: The Complete Guide to their Music (Doe & John Tobler)
Publishing Year: 1997
Revised: 2004
Published by: Omnibus Press
Pages: 160 (Rev.: 96)

Back To The Beach: a Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys Reader (Kingsley Abbott)
Publishing Year: 1998
Published by: Helter Skelter Publishing
Pages: 254

Add Some Music To Your Day: Analyzing and Enjoying the Music of The Beach Boys (Don Cunningham and Jeff Bleiel)
Publishing Year: 1999
Published by: Tiny Ripple Publishing
Pages: 200

Smile, Sun, Sand & Pet Sounds (Stephen J. McParland)
Publishing Year: 1999
Published by: California Music
Pages: 108

Books, Part 2

How Deep Is The Ocean? (Paul Williams)

Once again, a Brian Wilton cultist-cum-critic decides to write a book focusing primarily on the music Brian made after "Pet Sounds," when the Beach Boys were at their commercial low-point and Brian was losing touch with the real world (and himself). The best Beach Boys music were songs like "I Get Around", "Wendy", "Don't Worry Baby", "Surfer Girl"... songs plenty of people still listen to and enjoy. These were made between 1962 and 1965, and they are exhilirating, innovative, and emotionally resonant. The music that the cultists admire-- from the unreleased "Smile" sessions to "Sunflower" etc.-- sounds cloistered, half-realized. The fact that Williams has devoted so many pages to music that hardly bears much repeated listening is nauseating, considering how little of value has been written about the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson during their "true" glory days, between the Surfin' USA and Pet Sounds albums.

The book itself is reasonably well-written but the sense of idolatry is hard to shake. Yes, Brian was a genius, but one that flared out after a few heady years of nonstop activity. From Williams's book you'd get the sense that Brian was a musical Rembrandt who could do no wrong, but was tragically misguided. In a series of reviews and annoyingly rambling interviews, Paul Williams sets out to excuse just about everything Brian Wilson ever did. Still, one can't help but be drawn in by the man's enthusiasm, and his reviews of the recent Good Vibrations box set and the I Just Wasn't Made For These Times CD are perceptive.

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