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Why the Beach Boys Matter
Tom Smucker

Not yet released.
Publication date: October 2, 2018

Music Matters

2018 • 184 pp. 5 x 7"
Music History & Criticism / Rock Music

$14.95 Paperback, 978-1-5126-0167-1
$12.99 Ebook, 978-1-5126-0335-4

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

The musical, historical, and cultural argument for the centrality of the Beach Boys

Of all the white American pop music groups that hit the charts before the Beatles, only the Beach Boys continued to thrive throughout the British Invasion and then survived into the 1970s and beyond. No other white group helped define both sides of the era we broadly call the Sixties, split between their early surf, car, and summer pop and their later hippie, counterculture, and ambitious rock. No other group can claim the Ronettes and the Four Seasons as early ’60s rivals; the Mamas and the Papas and Crosby, Stills, and Nash as later ’60s rivals; and the Beatles and the Temptations as decade-spanning counterparts.

This is the first book to take an honest look at the themes running through the Beach Boys’ art and career as a whole and to examine where they sit inside our culture and politics—and why they can still grab our attention.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Back in the early 1970s, Tom Smucker was one of a handful of music journalists who was ‘ahead of the curve,’ and he pointed me in the right direction for what became my life’s journey.”—David Leaf, writer, director, and producer of Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of “Smile”

“Smucker’s mix of unabashed fanboy enthusiasm with razor sharp analysis makes him the perfect teller of this story.”—Guitarist Marc Ribot

“Having spent a lifetime digging into everything the Beach Boys have recorded, Tom Smucker knows it to be fun fun fun, great art, and a barometer of our class, race, and gender politics since World War II.”—Robert Christgau, author of Is It Still Good to Ya?: Essays on Music 1967–2017

“From its lovely and arresting first paragraphs through cars and guitars, stages and studios, shrinks and gurus, and a postwar endless summer with plenty of shady places, Tom Smucker’s Why the Beach Boys Matter perfectly captures the world the Beach Boys made.  This is the band in full career ricochet summing up and summoning a whole way of life.  Smucker’s encyclopedic detail is cast in his characteristically wry, open-hearted voice.  Full of stunning insights into love and mercy, it’s as good a book on music, and a lot of other things too, as any I know.”
—Eric Lott, City University of New York Graduate Center/author of 
Black Mirror: The Cultural Contradictions of American Racism

TOM SMUCKER has written rock criticism for Creem, Fusion, Rolling Stone, and the Village Voice.

Click here for author's website.

Mon, 30 Jul 2018 15:53:04 -0500