THE BEACH BOYS
yourself with summer may be fine in California where it
is summer all year long, but in Darlington the
summer only lasts 3 days if you are lucky.It might be
thought that having your main creative talent go
completely bonkers might have been another impediment to
lasting fame, but it ain't necessarily so.
If Brian Wilson's insanity had taken the form of an urge to park his Bentley in the swimming pool of the Las Vegas Hilton every alternate Wednesday it would only have boosted his image. Unfortunately, his madness took the form of sitting barefoot at the piano in a sand-box whilst stoned out of his head on mind "expanding" drugs.
|A few, such as ? and the Mysterions or the Standells, would have their moment of fame. Some, such as the Kingsmen, who gave us "Louie, Louie" had more influence on the course of rock music in their three minutes of fame than Rock Wankman ever managed in 14 years of turgid keyboard solos for Yes. (Yes, keyboard solos really were 14 years long in those days - or seemed like it.)|
|America was obsessed with finding their "answer" to the Beatles. One of the first bands to be labelled with this dead-weight soubriquet was the Byrds. You can understand why the press made this assumption.First, and most important of all, their name was a mis-spelling of a group of animals (Beatles/Beetles, Byrds/Birds), although this may have come about as a result of a desire to differentiate themselves from a British band called the Birds, who featured a young Ronnie Wood on guitar.|
they had real long hair with fringes of the length
not seen again until Mickey Dolenz adopted the Old
English Sheepdog look. Unfortunately, they also had David
Crosby, who was chubby and already balding.
Third, they had the fashionable Rickenbacker guitars. In fact, they are the seminal Rickenbacker band, being more jingly-jangly the jingle-jangle morning of Mr. Tambourine Man. (Has there ever been a more instantly recognisable intro than the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man"?)
|Helping them along the way was a
couple of halfway decent songwriters, namely Bob Dylan and
Trad. Arr. The band's own Roger (Jim) McGuinn was a fine
Although they had the songs they lacked the personality and the sex appeal. They were basically old folkies at heart, and it's hard to lust over a man who puts his finger in his ear when singing.
By the time the Eagles came along and showed you could become (boring) megastars playing country music, the Byrds were a spent force
© John Harrington 1997
Web version Mike Woodhouse
This article originally appeared in issue 157 of Take That You Fiend