INTERVIEW: The Fifty Sides of the Beach Boys
***Listen to my interview with author Mark Dillon. He talks about his new book The Fifty Sides of the Beach Boys, about hearing his first Beach Boys' song and going to his first concert at the age of 10.***
Author Mark Dillon has been a Beach Boys fan since his cousin Tracy played him an 8-track tape when he was seven.
She then took him to see his first show when he was 10, and promised his mom she would “hold [his] nose if any errant marijuana smoke wafted in [their] direction.”
A few decades later, Dillon has put his love of the band into his new book The Fifty Sides of the Beach Boys: The Songs That Tell Their Story.
The best biographies come from authors who are super passionate about the subject matter, and you know that Dillon is just that.
The book is being published just in time for the Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary and in the middle of their anniversary tour. (They will be in Toronto in June!)
Each of the 50 chapters of The Fifty Sides of the Beach Boys features an interview with a band member, collaborator or just someone who has been influenced by the band. They each discuss the history behind one of the Beach Boys’ many songs.
A couple of people who make surprising appearances in the book, at least to me, are Alice Cooper and Lyle Lovett. Cooper talks about “In My Room.” He says the Beach Boys were singing about what he and his friends liked doing. “We lived in Phoenix. We had heard that there was an ocean. We weren’t sure of it. That whole surf sound came out and it was cool.”
Lovett talks about the song “God Only Knows.” He performed the song himself in 2007 and says, “It gets to the heart of real emotion… Happiness doesn’t exist without sadness. That’s good writing and that’s what makes it transcend being just a catchy pop song.”
And band member Brian Wilson chose to talk about “Rhapsody in Blue.” Dillon says a dream became reality for Wilson when in 2010 Brian was able to make a record of songs by George Gershwin. Wilson tells Dillon, “I felt so thrilled to think I was going to ‘work’ with George Gershwin. I blew a gasket in my head.” Wilson calls Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” the song of his life.
Dillon also speaks with members Mike Love, David Marks and Alan Jardine, actress and musician Zooey Deschanel, writer-director Cameron Crowe, and musician Randy Bachman, among others.
There’s a lot in this book to learn about the Beach Boys and their 50 years of inspiring musicians and fans of all ages.
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