Vital Signs

Surfin' Safari

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to;
You would cry, too, if it happened to you.

—Lesley Gore, 1963

Mike Love's churlish behavior at the third Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies should not have come as a surprise to anyone. His outlash against everyone from Paul McCartney to Diana Ross could have been predicted by Nancy Reagan's astrologer.

First of all, consider Mike Love. He alone among The Beach Boys has had a problem since the mid-1960's. If you look at early Beach Boys album covers (circa 1963), you'll see the Boys in identical striped shirts and white cotton pants. It's that clean California look—or what was once the look. Love, unlike the others, has a short haircut. His curly hair hugs the head; the others are more flaxen. As time goes on, the hair of the other Boys lengthens; Love's falls out. Imagine the strain of going through the 60's and 70's as a balding middle-aged "boy," condemned to sing "Ba-ba-ba, Ba-ba-er-ran") in a castrato range.

The Beach Boys have had a chip as big as a surfboard on their collective shoulder for the past 20 years. Brian Wilson, the "eccentric genius" of the group, made some comments in his interview for the 20th anniversary issue of Rolling Stone that are illustrative in this regard. Brian says that when he made "Good...

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