California’s auto-motivating culture souped up a custom hot rod craze that supercharged the internal combustion engine, chopped and flamed and metal-flaked its surrounding bodywork, and naugahyded its plush interior. This romantic recasting of a transportational device was as much a part of the Beach Boys universe as the ubiquitous surfboard, and when popping the clutch proved as popular as riding a wave, Brian Wilson quickly put together an album’s worth of fuel-injected ditties in 1963 that celebrated the American garage even before amplifiers and guitars were moved in. Filled with the lingo of auto subculture and motor mechanics, these are windows into what might be called the analog era of gas-engine tinkering, and a time when “cruising” was a teenage sport (see American Graffiti). Along with the hit title track, the flag-waving of “Be True To Your School” and the socket-wrenchings of “Custom Machine” and “Car Crazy Cutie,” can be found one of the most glorious of Beach Boy tributes, “Spirit of America,” which salutes Craig Breedlove’s successful topping of 400 mph at the Bonneville Flats in August, 1963.
By Lenny Kaye on 05.16.11 in Icons
This year, the Beach Boys celebrate their half century — silver surfers all. Theirs is a family saga that, in the midst of unrivaled siblings and a belief in the transcendental meditation that is music, captures a moment...
By Marc Hogan on 02.26.15 in News
Surf's up for a new biopic about the Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson. Love & Mercy, starring Paul Dano and John Cusack as Wilson at two different ages, screened at the Toronto International Film Festival this past fal...
By Glenn Kenny on 12.12.14 in Features
The prolific director discusses seminal music moments in his films and the art of selecting the right song.
By Lindsay Hood on 11.20.14 in News
Greetings! Top of the Morning is your daily AM news round-up. We paid attention overnight and gathered relevant tidbits to share over that first cup of coffee. On a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, it seem...