Catch a Wave (Hardcover)

The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson

By Peter Ames Carlin

Rodale Books, 9781594863202, 352pp.

Publication Date: July 25, 2006

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (6/26/2007)
MP3 CD (6/7/2016)

List Price: 25.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Now the subject of the movie Love & Mercy, starring John Cusack! Brian Wilson was the visionary behind America's most successful and influential rock band. And as the leader of the Beach Boys, he sold 100 million records, produced Pet Sounds, and built a catalog of songs that continues to define the sound and feel of American popular music. He also became one of the culture's most mysterious and tragic figures. But after spending years lost in a wilderness of despair, Wilson has fought his way back to productivity. And now with teh release of Smile - the masterwork that nearly undid him - he has returned to music's center stage.

Now Peter Ames Carlin, who conducted in-depth, exclusive interviews with dozens of sources and listened to hundreds of hours of unreleased studio recordings and live music, tells a uniquely American story of the band, the music, and the culture the Beach Boys both sang about and helped create. Carlin brings a fan's passion, a seasoned journalist's objectivity, and a cultural critic's insight to his subject, and the result is a magesterial and authoritative account of the Beach Boys' visionary figure, who has emerged into a new era of creativity.

About the Author

PETER AMES CARLIN's award-winning reportage on Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys has appeared in the New York Times, People, American Heritage, and the Portland Oregonian, where he is currently the newspaper's television critic. Previously he was a senior writer for People in New York.

Praise For Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson

“The Beach Boys in Peter Arnes Carlin's Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of Brian Wilson (Rodale Press): Great evocations of a great musician and the pop group he built, via great prose: ''As in our fantasies of America, what matters about a person in a Beach Boys song has nothing to do with who he or she is, and everything to do with the strength of their ambition and the things he or she chooses to do with it. This same message plays out across all cultural and racial lines in 'Surfin USA,' and it's just as vivid in 'The Girls on the Beach,' where, as they repeat in the chorus, the young lovelies are 'all within reach.' That promise" extended in the warm, jazzy harmonies Brian cribbed from the Four Freshmen, who found them in the big band arrangements of Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington had as much to do with social opportunity as sex.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Fans will be picking up excitations aplenty from Catch a Wave, this absorbing treatment of Brian Wilson. The Beach Boys' auteur couldn't live with authority figures or without 'em" his abusive dad/manager, his hit-crazed brothers and cousins, or his controlling therapist. ''If he'd used his music to escape his father,'' Peter Ames Carlin writes, success ''transformed everyone around him into a legion of Murrys... [all reiterating] his father's insults. Nobody wants to hear this crap! Dust yourself off and write another hit!'' Ultimately, the exhumed SMiLE was a hit" almost 40 years later" though bandmate Mike Love would still rather get litigious than lavish praise on pop's patron saint of lost boys. Grade: A” —Entertainment Weekly