Ed Ward, Fresh Air’s rock historian talks about the history of the Beach Boys and how they became a “nostalgia act.”
The Beach Boys took everyone by surprise. They didn’t fade away with the surf craze: Brian [Wilson] had his finger on the teenage pulse, and they also celebrated motorcycles, girls, cars, girls, school, and dancing. With girls. It was hard to go wrong, especially with the group’s vocals and Brian’s writing and arranging skills. Between 1962 and 1965, they charted 22 singles, nine of which hit the top ten and two of which topped the charts.
But then what happened?