Beach Boys epitomize baby boomer generation

Three hours before showtime for a concert in Maryland, Brian Wilson says: “There is no Rhonda.” Sitting backstage, gathering strength for the evening’s 48-song, 150-minute concert, Wilson was not asked about her, he just volunteered this fact, writes columnist George Will.

The other members of the Beach Boys seem mildly surprised to learn that the 1965 song “Help Me, Rhonda” was about no one in particular.

The legendary Beach Boys today.

Not that it matters; the sound is everything. Attention must be paid to baby boomer music-cued nostalgia, and no one pays it better than the Beach Boys. They are currently on a 50th-anniversary tour that has more than 60 concerts scheduled and others still being booked. Their new album, “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” debuted at No. 3 in Billboard’s listing, and with this the Beach Boys topped the Beatles for most weeks on Billboard’s top-10 album chart.

Their band began in 1961 in Hawthorne, in Los Angeles County, when the parents of Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson went away for a weekend, leaving the boys with meal money they used to rent instruments and record a song called “Surfin’.” They rode a wave of fascination with California to the top of pop music.

Click for full column by George Will.


  1. Those guys are one of the hotties years ago. But now even if they look old, they still seem charming and their voices are so great and pleasing to hear. I would never get tired listening to their song.

  2. While I was writing this posting: I spent quite a bit of time on youtube looking at videos of the Beach Boys singing Kokomo. I found several of them unsettling, the way that one of the band members, already a man of a certain age, was ogling the women in the audience. ADmiration of women is one thing, blatant lasciviousness is quite another. I wanted to tell him to grow up and stop slobbering.

  3. Been a huge fan of this band since before even reaching my teens. The Beach Boys are known for great harmonies and lyrics about the things I enjoyed in my youth, and still enjoy to this day: Surf, Sun, healthy bodies, and Fun, Fun, Fun! Their timeless music is part of the mix on my iPod and I still listen to them.

    I’m also a long-time fan of writer George Will, but take issue with what he wrote in this article about current band members: “… today’s band includes three original members — Brian, Al Jardine and Mike Love — plus David Marks….” While technically correct – Marks was not on the Beach Boys first recording, “Surfin'” for Candix Records in 1961 – David Marks became a member of the band in early 1962, is pictured on those early beach scene album covers, and played on all the early hits with the exception of Surfin’. So, as far as I’m concerned, David Marks IS one of the original Beach Boys.

    Am also a recent fan of Boomer writer Georgia Stone (I’ve book marked her site and visit frequently. I enjoy her writing style … especially enjoyed her article entitled Ecstasy in Paris and have forwarded to several friends.) But I find myself taking issue with her as well, when she writes in her comment above: “I found [the video] unsettling, the way that one of the band members, already a man of a certain age, was ogling the women in the audience.” I have no idea why she might have found this video offensive. I have carefully watched the video she has posted at her site of the Beach Boys performing Kokomo in 1988. Sorry, but I absolutely do not see any band member “ogling” anyone – which is actually somewhat remarkable, since they seem to be surrounded by vast numbers of gorgeous girls in sexy bikinis. Listen, I’m of “a certain age” myself, but not sure I would be able to refrain from ogling if it were me up on that stage. The Beach Boys simply sound and look great in that clip.

    Thanks for including this George Will article on America’s favorite band. Long live the Beach Boys!!

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