The Beach Boys
Setting the Record Straight
By Geoffrey Himes
Imagine that you’re Carl Wilson in the summer of 1961, a chubby 14-year-old kid, between your freshman and sophomore years in high school, with a young boy’s enthusiasm for guitarists like Chuck Berry and Dick Dale. One evening your older brother Brian, the one who’s always pushing you to sing the tenor part on the Four Freshman and Frankie Lymon songs he’s arranging for family sing-alongs in the piano room, sits down at that upright and plays a song he’s written himself.
It’s called “Surfer Girl,” and somewhere in your pubescent self you realize that not only is this as good as the jazz standards and doo-wop...