Nine Starting Points For A Beach Boys YouTube Wormhole

The Beach Boys on The T.A.M.I. Show.
The Beach Boys on The T.A.M.I. Show.

Beach Boys YouTube wormholes can take many paths, from sunshine-draped reveries to sudden decisive turns towards the seriously depressing. But no clickbait-enhanced listicle of questionable Mike Love sartorial/dance/aesthetic moves, horrifying Brian Wilson zombie moments, made-for-TV movies, or John Stamos appearances could ever possibly top the legendary bootleg Endless Bummer: The Very Worst of the Beach Boys, which has all the Brian rap, Budweiser ads, drunken in-studio rants by stage-father Murry Wilson, and Spanish versions of "Kokomo" that one might (hopefully) ever desire. With the band coming to town for two shows at the Beacon Theater this week, and at least a few people planning to go—plus the onset of actual summer and all that—it's good vibrations only today. You can Google the rest yourselves.

"I Get Around" from The T.A.M.I. Show (1964)

Wait 53 seconds for the first shot of drummer Dennis Wilson to understand why the girls (and probably also the boys) are screaming. Only a few years removed from surf-delinquent teendom, The T.A.M.I. Show—shot on the Boys' home turf at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1964—is Dennis Wilson at his most primal and the Beach Boys as their most convincing as a rock band.

"Guess I'm Dumb" performed by Glen Campbell from Shindig (1965)

Never recorded by the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson's "Guess I'm Dumb"—written for Glen Campbell to thank him for acting as stunt-Brian in 1964—features Brian and others on backing vocals. Probably not on the Beach Boys' setlist for 2012, though it should be; it's one of Brian's greatest, and a template for Pet Sounds' melancholy.

"Surf's Up" from Leonard Bernstein's Inside Pop (1966)

Brian Wilson plays the fragile "Surf's Up"—the would-be centerpiece to the in-progress Smile album—at home, not long before he had his grand piano moved into a sandbox to feel the beach under his feet as he wrote.

"God Only Knows" from UNICEF Variety Gala (1967)

With unobtrusive orchestral accompaniment, the Beach Boys pull off a live version of "God Only Knows" that sounds as flawless as Pet Sounds, and might well be a lip-synch if all synchronization and historical evidence didn't point to the contrary. After this show, with John Lennon and George Harrison in the audience, the Beach Boys were introduced to the Maharishi.

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