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.
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.