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Still playing sold-out shows

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
ALL |

BEAVER CREEK ” Even if you don’t know the words or title, there’s a good chance that you will know it’s a Beach Boys song as soon as you hear it.

Nearly 50 years after the group formed, fans of the iconic good-times band will get a chance to hear it again Saturday night at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek.

An immortal group of harmonizing singers from the ’60s, the Beach Boys’ music is easily recognized by people from any generation born after FDR left office. The Beach Boys stood for everything California when they first came on the scene: fast cars, pretty women and surfing big waves. They became the voice of America with music that was easily digested and inoffensive to parents yet still appealed to kids.

“Everybody liked The Beach Boys, it doesn’t matter if you were into rock or blues or country,” said Bobcat Thissen, a 58-year-old resident of Eagle-Vail.

Thissen grew up in a time when The Beach Boys’ popularity was soaring, and he had to listen to their songs on AM radio. His favorite Beach Boys song is still “Help Me Rhonda,” he said. He also recalled seeing the band sometime during the mid-’80s in Beaver Creek when it was experiencing a second career surge in popularity thanks to the mega-hit “Kokomo” from the “Cocktail” movie soundtrack.

“They weren’t rock ‘n’ roll, but it was ‘California Dreamin’ type stuff,” Thissen said.

The Beach Boys were formed in 1961 by Brian Wilson and his brothers Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine.

Their early lyrics reflect a youthful and playful California culture while their close harmonies and doo-wop-influenced music quickly made them famous.

The success came fast and led to the eventual induction of the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a mountain of Top 40 hits and one of the most influential albums of the past 50 years, “Pet Sounds.”

All that fame took its toll on The Beach Boys, and the band’s lineup shifted often due to arguments, the death of key players, legal battles and Brian Wilson’s history of mental illness.

The Beach Boys’ current lineup consists of Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, close enough to the original to keep fans happy.

Now songs like “Surfin’ Safari,” “Little Deuce Coupe” and “Good Vibrations” still are played heavily on oldies stations and featured in movie soundtracks, and any kids who wouldn’t voluntarily listen to The Beach Boys undoubtedly have parents who still play 8-track tapes of the band.

“I’d like to hear some Beach Boys remixes,” joked Jill Suarez, 30, and owner of West One Salon in Eagle-Vail. “They never really did it for me, but I could be the one person with bad taste in music.”

Suarez’s co-worker, Kate Vredenburg, 23, said that she would karaoke The Beach Boys song “Kokomo” because she knows all the words.

“It just takes me back to all those teeny-bopper shows,” Vredenburg said of The Beach Boys’ music.

It’s hard to deny the impact that The Beach Boys have had on American music and culture; the ripple of their influence is still felt today, albeit with diminished effects.

Even nonfans of their music have to admit that the music they have made still matters.

“Even though I don’t like The Beach Boys, I think it would be a fun and energetic show. They definitely have a good energy about their music,” Suarez said.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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