The Beach Boys wrote some of the catchiest songs of all-time, but did you know that only one of them actually surfed? It’s hard to find time to hit the waves when you’re on the road so much! What The Beach Boys may have missed on the water, they more than made up for with the smiles they put on the faces of their fans. But as you’re about to learn, they weren’t always happy. At one point two of the members even had restraining orders taken out against each other!
The Beach Boys Was Not Their Original Name
Before they donned the iconic Beach Boys name, the band called themselves The Pendletones. The odd name was a tribute to the band members favorite tones and shirts. The name followed the band all the way until their first single was released on the radio.
The name of the single was “Surfin'” and it first surfed the radio waves in 1962. It wasn’t until after the song was released, however, that they learned they were no longer the Pendletones. Their new name was the Beach Boys, and Brian was not happy about it!
Russ Regan Is The Man Behind The Name CHANGE
Working in public relations for the Pendletones record label, Russ Regan came up with the name “The Beach Boys.” Before “Surfin” was released, Regan changed the name of the band without their permission or knowledge of the change.
The Pendletones didn’t even know they were the Beach Boys until they heard “Surfin” on the radio. Brian Wilson was reportedly furious about the name change. Not only did he want the band to be named after their favorite shirts, he couldn’t believe that the band wasn’t given a choice. Fifty-seven years later it’s fair to say the name change worked out!
Pet Sounds Was Originally A James Bond Song
Considered one of the greatest albums ever made, the title track on Pet Sounds was originally made for a James Bond film. After writing “Run James Run” Brian Wilson submitted the song to the producers for You Only Live Twice. The song was rejected and was retitled “Pet Sounds” by a heart-broken Brian Wilson.
The song was only placed on Pet Sounds because the Beach Boys needed more songs to finish the album. According to band member Al Jardine, bands were required to have 12 songs per album in the 1960’s. The addition of the now classic instrumental became that track.
Brian Wilson Is Deaf In One Ear
Brian Wilson wasn’t born deaf in one ear, but he has a theory about how he ended up that way. Wilson once said he believes he went deaf at a young age after being beaten by his father.
Brian Wilson’s mother has a different theory. She says that as a toddler Wilson once got into a boxing match with another toddler. The head trauma he received may have permanently damaged his hearing. Whatever the true story is, it’s pretty incredible some of the sonic arrangements Brian Wilson was able to compose for the Beach Boys with limited hearing.
Their Manager Loved To Fine Them
The Beach Boys were not allowed to act like grown men in public. In an effort to keep their image clean, the band’s manager fined them constantly for doing anything unbecoming of upstanding young men.
If they were caught cussing, the boys had to pay $100. If they hung out with a girl they would have to pay $50. Sound ridiculous? Some managers will go insanely far to maintain their clients’ image. In this case, that manager was Brian, Carl, and Dennis’ father and we already know he was notoriously intense with his family! That same intensity ended up ruining the relationship between Dennis Wilson and Mike Love.
Dennis Wilson And Mike Love Literally Couldn’t Stand To Be Near Each Other
Band members aren’t always going to get along, and the feud between Mike Love and Dennis Wilson was explosive. At one point they actually took out restraining orders against each other!
The incredibly dramatic mess boiled over when Dennis Wilson married Shawn Marie Love, Mike Love’s illegitimate child. The two band members became increasingly mean to one another, especially after the birth of Dennis’ son. Ultimately, the two couldn’t be in the same room without attacking each other and had to file a joint restraining order to keep the peace.
The Beach Boys’ Drummer Was The Only One Who Surfed
Dennis Wilson was the only Beach Boy who actually surfed. Considering the band’s name, it’s definitely a surprising fact. Their first single was even titled, “surfin.” Dennis Wilson was a big fan of surfing when he wasn’t drumming.
Brian Wilson, not only didn’t surf, he absolutely hated the water. In order to write all their odes about the power of sand and the waves, Dennis would tell Brian about his favorite spots to paddle out to while surfing. Not surprisingly, a number of those locales are listed in “Surfin’ Safari,” the band’s ultimate ode to the beach.
Brian Wilson Was Terrified Of The Water
Not only did Brian Wilson hate the water, he was terrified of it. One of the only times Brian Wilson can be seen in the water was during his “comeback” in 1970. In order to generate good publicity for the band, he agreed to a film a comedy sketch that featured him flopping around in shallow water.
He might not have been in the deep end but Wilson hated the experience and you’d be hard-pressed to find another shot of him splashing around for publicity after completing his singular experience.
Charles Manson Recorded With The Band
In 1969 the Beach Boys included the song “Never Learn Not To Love” as a B-side on their single “Bluebirds Over the Mountain.” It turns out that “Never Learn Not To Love” was recorded with notorious cult leader Charles Manson. As scary as that is, it’s not as scary as what the original version was called.
Originally titled, “Cease to Exist” the original version of the song is quite morbid to listen to all the way through. But where did this relationship with Charles Manson come from? He actually lived with Dennis Wilson!
Charles Manson Lived With The Band
After picking up the same girls hitchhiking multiple times, Dennis Wilson met Charles Manson, who they were staying with. Enamored by the charismatic “family man,” Dennis had the entire Manson family stay with him at his expense.
It wasn’t cheap either, costing Dennis over $100,000. The money was used for clothes, food, cars, and medicine. At the time Dennis said of his new housemate, “He drifted into crime, but when I met him I found he had great musical ideas. We’re writing together now.” It wouldn’t be long before he would regret those words.
Smiley Smile Is Used To Aide In Drug Rehab
Not critically or commercially well received upon its release in 1967, the album Smiley Smile has grown to enjoy cult status and has even been used to help drug addicts in rehab facilities. Around 1970 some rehab centers deemed the soothing nature of the album, including the song “Good Vibrations,” to be helpful is easing addicts off of drugs.
Considered a holistic form of treatment, studies have shown the positive effects soothing music can have on patients. Particularly, this form of therapy helps to ease anxiety during withdrawal.
Brian Wilson Forced Out A Record Executive For Capturing His Soul
At one point during his darker days, Brian Wilson actually forced a record executive to quit for painting a picture of him. Wilson was so delusional he believed that the painting literally captured his soul. Contracted with Brother Records at the time, the record executive fell under extreme pressure from Wilson and quit the label while citing duress.
Of course, there’s no way the painting could actually capture Brian Wilson’s soul. The fact that he thought it did does show the deterioration of his mental state that ultimately led to him seeking help from one strange bedfellow.
Brian Wilson Once Sought Therapy Services From Richard Simmons
Finally on the road to recovery in the 1980’s Brian Wilson became disillusioned with his therapist and sought help from Richard Simmons. Eugene Landy, his therapist at the time, had helped Brian recover from drug addiction and regain his health, but also took advantage of him financially. After firing Landy, Wilson slipped back into his terrible habits.
Refusing to go back to Landy, Wilson told his people to reach out to Richard Simmons. Ultimately though, Wilson changed his mind and called Landy himself to ask for help, even if his support system wasn’t happy about it.
There Are At Least 60 Unreleased Beach Boys Tracks
After the album, Pet Sounds was released the Beach Boys began their follow-up; Smile. The album was Brian Wilson’s passion project and he recorded numerous tracks for it. While some of these bonus tracks were eventually released to the public, some were stored in a vault and never heard from again.
From 1968 until 1974 Wilson wrote at least 60 songs that have never been released. That’s at least five albums worth of music that has never been heard by the general public! A lot of those tracks were recorded on the sand but not in the way you would expect…
Brian Wilson Turned His Home Into A Sandbox
Brian Wilson may have hated the water, but there was no denying he loved the beach. Claiming the sand helped him write, Wilson even had a part of his house converted into a sandbox. In the middle of his new beach he placed his piano, so he could literally write with his toes in the sand.
Unfortunately, when Wilson moved out of Hollywood, his wife did not let him bring the sandbox. It’s a shame too, as Wilson claims he wrote some of his best songs while working in the sand.
Kenny And The Cadets Was The Band’s First Side Project
After finding initial success as the Beach Boys, a record executive came up with the idea of Kenny and the Cadets. This new band became the first, and only, side project the Beach Boys ever worked on. Kenny and the Cadets never actually recorded a full album, but the songs they made were eventually released as Beach Boys tracks.
The idea of Kenny and the Cadets actually came around when a record executive asked the Beach Boys to lay down some vocal tracks on a few instrumentals he wrote. If you listen to Lost and Found, the tracks “Barbie” and “What is a Young Girl Made Of?” are two of these songs.
John Stamos Is A Member Of The Band
In 1985, John Stamos performed his first show with the Beach Boys as their drummer. Since then he has become a recurring band member, even going on tour with them and playing guitar. Cementing his status as an official Beach Boy, Stamos was featured in the music video for Kokomo playing congas and steel drums.
In the 1990’s Stamos had a boyhood dream come true when he got to record vocals for the band. The track was a re-recorded version of the song “Forever,” and was placed on the album Summer In Paradise. Of course, John Stamos isn’t the only famous artist the Beach Boys had in the band.
At One Point There Was A Beach Girl
While on tour in the 1970’s the Beach Boys added their first Beach Girl to the band, Tennille. Tennille, amazingly enough, was actually brought on board by Daryl Dragon, more famously known as “Captain.” He was playing keyboard with the band at the time when he met Tennille between stops.
At the same road stop, the Beach Boys decided they wanted to add a second keyboardist to the band. Dragon convinced them to add Tennille. Ultimately the first Beach Girl would leave the band to focus on her music with the Captain. We’re pretty sure she made the right choice with that decision!
Pet Sounds Used Soda Cans And Juice Bottles As Percussion Instruments
The Beach Boys loved to experiment with their music and really push what the sonic landscape could be. For the album, Pet Sounds they even used soda cans and orange juice bottles to create new and interesting percussive noises.
The soda cans can be heard on the track “Pet Sounds Instrumental” that was supposed to be a James Bond theme. Wilson suggested they play the drums using empty Coca-Cola cans. The orange juice bottles were used for “God Only Knows,” which has gone on to become of the most popular and influential Beach Boys songs of all-time.
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band Was Inspired By Pet Sounds
In the 1960’s there was no bigger music rivalry than the one between the Beach Boys and the Beatles. In fact, when Pet Sounds released, the Beatles felt compelled to create their own sonic masterpiece; Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.
In the liner notes for the Sgt. Pepper box-set, Beatles’ producer George Martin even explicitly states, “Pepper’ was an attempt to equal ‘Pet Sounds.” “Considering the influence both albums have had since their releases, it’s safe to say the Beatles did exactly what they set out to do. The truth is there is no clear winner in this long-standing “Battle of the Bands.”