The Beach Boys
Brother Records DVD/Capitol Records
Those of us who feel that the music of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys is one of America’s greatest contributions to world culture will love this DVD. Dismissed by some as “just a pop band” that played summertime surf music, the Beach Boys were tremendous vocalists in an art form (and era) that was dominated by shouters and mumblers. Perhaps one reason for their dismissal was the apparent ease at which Wilson and his brothers created so much incredible music. From Surfing USA to Heroes and Villains , the masterpiece Pet Sounds , and dozens more, the band took rock and roll farther than it had gone before, spurring Paul McCartney into creating Sgt. Pepper’s after hearing “God Only Knows” from Pet Sounds . For the early- to mid-Sixties Brian turned out one gem after another, but gradually, the toil of touring forced him into near seclusion, and the band went on without him.
This DVD, which was originally shown on VH1, follows the career of “America’s Band” from its beginnings as a surf vocal group up until the death of Carl Wilson in 1998. Little-glimpsed views of early TV footage is shown, along with a lot of concert footage and interviews. The DVD adds five promo films and TV spots in their entirety, (“Surfing USA,” “Things We Did Last Summer,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “In My Room,” “Sloop John B,” “Friends”), as well as 5.1 Surround Sound mixes of several songs. In digital sound, the music sounds breathtaking, perhaps almost like what it must have sounded like in the mind of Brian Wilson as he wrote it. While not as moving as the Brian Wilson film I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times , Endless Harmony gives a balanced overview of a sound, a band, and a man who so defined greatness, while making it all look easy.
Capitol Records, 1750 N. Vine Street, Hollywood, CA 90028-5274