Heroes and Villains
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Heroes and Villains

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  278 ratings  ·  34 reviews
This electrifying book reveals the truth behind the legend of the Beach Boys--a gothic tale of sex, drugs and greed behind the musical genius and wholesome facade. Packed with interviews with family, friends and wives and over 65 vivid photographs.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 3rd 1987 by Signet
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Carol Storm
Brian Wilson -- The Shy Teen's Elvis!!!!

How well I remember high school -- the cruel taunts in the hallways, the jeers about my weight, my breath, my Latino complexion, my excessively endowed phsyique. (YOU try being a Puerto Rican girl in upstate New York in the late Seventies!)

But it's okay -- at home I had the music of the boys. The Beach Boys. The liberators of my heart. The guardians of my soul. The golden, smiling blue-eyed boys -- my dream lovers -- the Beach Boys.

They told me I was beau...more
One of the most interesting books on a band I have read. The Beach Boys seemed so sunny and happy and all about the good times. Not so. From the opening sequence of Dennis Wilson's death (which I remember that very day like it was Elvis), to the whole downfall of Brian Wilson's stability and sanity, this book is a roller coaster of drugs, drama, family squabbles, Manson Family connections, in-fighting, and wierd 'sixties groupies. Brian Wilson is, no doubt, a musical genius. Incredible sounds co...more

I attended a Beach Boys concert in about 1976, in Santa Barbara CA if memory serves correctly. I was not at all interested in the concert, sadly, I was more of Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd kind of music fan. Now I would love to go back and listen to that concert and observe the band. I really enjoyed this book and have spent quite a bit of time on YouTube listening to the band especially in their early years. My pleasure in listening to their music was greatly enhanced by reading this book and und...more
Owen Goldin
Flat, gossipy book. The author is clueless about Brian Wilson's musical accomplishments -- ok, I can understand why in the mid 80s before even the bootlegs came out he might have dismissed Smile as a bunch of incoherent fragments, but anyone so deaf to the artistic triumphs of Friends or Love You has no business writing this sort of book. The author focuses on commercial success to the exclusion of art . . . . The band and those around them don't really come alive as people -- everyone in the bo...more
This book sometimes gets criticized for being salacious, but it really makes no claims to being anything else. Is it poorly edited and pretty clearly rushed onto shelves? Yes, and it's obvious. Was it difficult to tear my eyes away from the craziness unfolding on the printed page? Uh huh.
William Aicher
Great book - just wish it were more up-to-date. Would be great if it had a new edition released with info on Carl's death, Brian revisiting and releasing Smile, etc.
Anybody would think I cared about these creeps.
Kathy Spada
This was a perfect summer read! As a Beach Boys fan I enjoyed all the juicy, well written gossipy truths about the early life of the Wilson brothers. Steven Gaines has certainly done his research regarding the "true story" of the Surfer Band that changed the course of history with their unique blends and harmonies. The cast of characters is dazzling and they of course include Dennis Wilson's involvement with the Charles Manson gang as well as Brian's eccentric behavior and heavy drug use.
This bo...more
Bob Breckwoldt
The first book on Beach Boys to tell the whole sorry account of the family that had a gift for harmony, and in Brian Wilson, an incredibly talented writer, composer and arranger.
This was the first, written in 1985, that detailed the dysfunctional state they were in, both personally and professionally of America's Band. It takes the the story to the death of Dennis Wilson and the subsequent aftermath, giving a tabloid exposure to their mismanagement, personality clashes and substance abuse. In pl...more
This was trashy and delightful. At first, after I finished, I was disgusted -- I think mostly by the lives of excess detailed in this book. Eventually, I integrated that disgust with a deeper appreciation for the music (at least the early stuff, which I already liked) and now I get a kick out of listening to it?
Chris Leib
How such a dysfunctional group of people could create such wonderful music lends itself to a fascinating read. And it's interesting to see that the recent developments surrounding the 50th Anniversary last year (a wonderful new album, a wildly successful tour), and the same old egos come into play to sabotage their success (Mike Love refusing to continue with Brian Wilson and keeping the Beach Boys name for himself) is just history repeating itself. My only concern is that when I now listen to t...more
Les Beach Boys a été un groupe qui a marqué son époque par sa musique qui évoquait tous les plaisirs du surfing, de la plage et de la Californie. Au-delà de l'image dorée se cache une histoire tragique. L’auteur s’attarde moins au côté musical mais parle surtout de l’enfance des trois enfants Wilson qui ont souffert de la "discipline" de leur père – discipline qui serait aujourd’hui qualifiée d’abus physique et psychologique – et de leur vie d’adulte tumultueuse marquée par la dépression profond...more
HNGC Library
Good biography of the group - seeing that this is the 50th anniversary year - it would be nice to have a current epilogue for the book.
Will Yates
If you're only a casual fan of The Beach Boys and not too familiar with their history, you will be blown away by the insanity of their story. Lots of drug use and general craziness. The opening chapter, an account of the final days of Dennis Wilson before his drowning death, is, as they say, worth the price of admission alone.
Written much in the voice of a "VH1's Behind the Music" transcription, it's trashy, it's drama, but a fun read, nonetheless. So many incredible things I did not know about the Beach Boys. Listening to their songs with new ears alone makes this a worthwhile read. Brian Wilson makes my heart hurt.
I don't know why I was surprised by the band's shenanigans. I must have been snookered by their glossy image as much of the populace. At least I now have a very good understanding of that Bare Naked Ladies song line.
Kirk Kiefer
A bit on the sensationalistic side, this book focuses more on the tabloid side of the group's history than their music. The chronicling of Dennis's last days is excellent, if heartbreaking however.
The sad true story of the Beach Boys is about 5 spoiled kids. There like 5 Britney Spears but they were boys. They didnt know what to do in there life.I was a good book i enjoyed it.
Decent overview of the darker, more bizarre aspects of the band's story. The author is strangely fixated on the houses they bought, though. Brian's a genius, Mike is a dick, and Carl rules.
This one is pretty interesting!
The best part is a chapter inwhich it states
Dennis Wilson had a fantasy about being raped by another man!
captain america
kinda dry but i'm a junkie for music trivia and facts so i like it. next on my list beach boys list is brain wilson's autobio...
Rebecca Kovacs
Read this during my Brian Wilson obsession. (Did it ever really end? No...)

Good stuff! He led a very interesting life.
quick, trashy, tabloidesque read. take it as nothing more than that & you'll be satisfied (and entertained).
Rebecca Bregman
Very depressing, but very interesting. Ending in mid-80's so no mention of Mr. John Stamos.
The story of The Beach Boys done in the style of the National Enquirer.
The Beach Boys lives were a lot crazier than you might think.
The definitive background story of The Beach Boys.
really outdated read--still piqued my BB intrest.
One of my favorite rock biographies of all time
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