The Beach Boys are an American rock band. Formed in 1961, the group gained popularity for its close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting a Southern California youth culture of cars and surfing. Brian Wilson's growing creative ambitions later transformed them into a more artistically innovative group that earned critical praise and influenced many later musicians.
The group was initially composed of singer-musician-composer Brian Wilson, his brothers, Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. This core quintet, along with early member David Marks and later bandmate Bruce Johnston, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 1988. The Beach Boys have often been called "America's Band", and Allmusic.com has stated that "the band's unerring ability... made them America's first, best rock band." The group has had thirty-six U.S. Top 40 hits (the most of any U.S. rock band) and fifty-six Hot 100 hits, including four number one singles. Rolling Stone magazine listed The Beach Boys as number 12 in the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time . According to Billboard, in terms of singles and album sales, The Beach Boys are the No. 1-selling American band of all time.
Many changes in both musical styles and personnel have occurred during their career, notably because of Brian Wilson's mental illness and drug use (leading to his eventual withdrawal from the group) and the deaths of Dennis and Carl Wilson in 1983 and 1998, respectively. Extensive legal battles between members of the group have also played their part. After the death of Carl Wilson, founding member Al Jardine was ousted by fellow-founding member Mike Love. Currently, the surviving members of The Beach Boys continue to tour in three separate bands - "The Beach Boys Band" with Love, Johnston, and a rotation of backing musicians, "Al Jardine's Endless Summer Band", and Brian Wilson with a band consisting of The Wondermints and longtime Beach Boys backup guitarist/singer Jeff Foskett. Love retained the rights to the name "The Beach Boys" after a legal dispute. The Beach Boys' Christmas Album is a Christmas album by The Beach Boys, released on November 16, 1964. Containing five original songs and seven standards, the album proved to be a long-running success during subsequent Christmas seasons, initially reaching #6 in the US Christmas album chart in its year of release and eventually going gold.
Of the original songs, "Little Saint Nick" was already famous, having been a hit single the year before. "The Man with All the Toys" was another hit during Christmastime 1964. "Christmas Day" is noteworthy for being the first Beach Boys song to feature a lead vocal from Al Jardine.
While leader Brian Wilson produced and arranged the "rock" songs, he left it to Dick Reynolds, an arranger of The Four Freshmen, a group Wilson idolized, to arrange the orchestral backings on the traditional songs to which The Beach Boys would apply their vocals.
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