Beginning their career as the most popular surf band in the nation, the Beach Boys finally emerged by 1966 as America's preeminent pop group, the only act able to challenge (for a brief time) the overarching success of the Beatles with both mainstream listeners and the critical community. From their 1961 debut with the regional hit "Surfin'," the three Wilson brothers -- Brian, Dennis, and Carl -- plus cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine constructed the most intricate, gorgeous harmonies ever heard from a pop band. With Brian's studio proficiency growing by leaps and bounds during the mid-'60s, the Beach Boys also proved one of the best-produced groups of the '60s, exemplified by their 1966 peak with the Pet Sounds LP and the number one single "Good Vibrations." Though Brian's escalating drug use and obsessive desire to trump the ...
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