Heroes and Villains: Essays on Music, Movies, Comics, and Culture

Front Cover
Da Capo Press, Oct 6, 2009 - Literary Collections - 416 pages
34 Reviews
The Beach Boys have been rolling, like the tide their great songs evoke, for more than thirty years, reaching professional peaks and tragic personal depths. In this electrifying account Steven Gaines reveals the gothic tale of violence, addiction, greed, genius, madness, and rock 'n' roll behind the wholesome, surf-and-sun image. Through candid interviews with close friends, family, and the Beach Boys themselves, Heroes and Villains portrays and evaluates all those who propelled the California myth, and the group who sang about it, into worldwide prominence: Murry Wilson, the corrosive father who abused them as children and exploited them as adults; Dennis Wilson, who explored every avenue of excess (including welcoming the entire Manson family into his home) to his inevitable self-destruction; the Wilsons' cousin, frontman Mike Love, whose devotion to eastern religion could not quell his violent temper; the wives (more than ten), mistresses, managers, and producers who consumed huge pieces of the ”musical pie”; and of course, the band's artistic center, Brian Wilson, the mentally fragile musical genius who achieved so much and then so little. With dozens of photos, Heroes and Villains recounts the bitter saga of the American dream realized and distorted and the music that survived.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Heroes And Villains: The True Story Of The Beach Boys

User Review  - Goodreads

This is definitely the tabloid, scandalized version of the Beach Boys story, that said, there were plenty of scandals to go around. Read full review

Review: Heroes And Villains: The True Story Of The Beach Boys

User Review  - Goodreads

Here are the best lines of the book: Suddenly, Mike Love took off for Leysin, Switzerland, where the Maharishi was running a study center. Mike believed the Maharishi was going to teach him how to ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2009)

David Hajdu is the music critic for The New Republic and the author of The Ten-Cent Plague, Positively 4th Street, and Lush Life. He is a professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, and he lives in New York City.

Bibliographic information