California Dreaming: Bibliography

I thought tonight I’d post the bibliography for the book I’ve been serialising here. It’s not complete yet, but it serves as a reasonable guide I think:

It’s literally impossible to list all, or even most, of the books that have been useful in writing this book — the information in it comes from decades of reading and discussions with fans and musicians, and often one tiny piece of useful information will come up in an otherwise off-topic magazine article or book.

The resources listed below are, among all those used, the ones that either contain the most useful information or which are most readable. They’re not a complete guide to any of the bands and musicians discussed in this book, but between them they work well as starting points for further exploration.

I have not listed here my own previous books on these subjects (The Beach Boys On CD vols 1 and 2 and the forthcoming vol 3, and Monkee Music) — judge for yourself after reading this book if my level of insight makes those seem worthwhile to you.

Catch A Wave, The Rise, Fall And Redemption Of The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, by Peter A Carlin is the least sensationalised biography of a band that have been mostly looked at for their value as fodder for tabloid prurience than for their music.

The Beach Boys FAQ: All That’s Left To Know About America’s Band
by Jon Stebbins is a good overview that does a lot to dispell the worst of the myths about the band.

Andrew Doe’s Bellagio site, is undoubtedly the best resource for checking matters of pure fact about the Beach Boys.

The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story Of The ’60s TV Pop Sensation by Andrew Sandoval is the best book on the Monkees ever written — the ultimate reference book on the band, it covers every detail of their career up to the point that they split for the first time.

Monkee Magic by Melanie Mitchell is the definitive book on the Monkees’ TV show — something I haven’t covered in much depth here but which is an important part of their career.

Forever Changes: Arthur Lee & The Story Of Love
by Paul Cooper is essentially an expanded version of Lee’s unfinished autobiography, and is absolutely essential reading for anyone who is interested in Love.

The Real Frank Zappa Book by Frank Zappa and Peter Ochigorosso is biased as hell, but funnier than anything else in this list.

The California Sound: A Musical Biography of Gary Lee Usher
by Stephen J McParland, is one of many thoroughly-researched books by McParland which provide us with much fascinating information on the 60s surf and hot-rod music scene.

What’s Exactly The Matter With Me? by PF Sloan and SE Feinberg is Sloan’s autobiography. It should be taken with several tubs full of salt (if one is to believe Sloan, every single thing that happened in the 60s, from the Beatles’ career through to the extension of voting rights in the US to eighteen-year-olds, happened because of him), but if nothing else it gives a good impression of what the people involved in the LA music scene were actually like.

Beefheart Through The Eyes Of Magic
by John French is the most extensive autobiography of any of the musicians featured here, and while it could have used the hands of a good editor, it is ridiculously informative about the Magic Band and, to a lesser extent, the Mothers Of Invention, the Rising Sons, and many other bands discussed in this book.

Nilsson: The Life of a Singer-Songwriter
by Alyn Shipton is so far the only biography of this remarkable man, and luckily Shipton does a good enough job of covering his life that it may be the only one necessary.

Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Last Stand on Hollywood by Domenic Priore is a great Gonzo impression of the Sunset Strip scene, though with a number of irritating lapses in research.

Shell-Shocked: My Life With The Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc. by Howard Kaylan is a fun, if thin, autobiography that leans a little too much on “hilarious” dope-smoking anecdotes, but is the only place you’ll find out the nickname Tom Jones gives his penis.

The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited by Johnny Rogan is the definitive biography of the band.

Turn Up The Radio!: Rock, Pop, and Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972
by Harvey Kubernick is a great collection of interviews with almost anyone who ever set foot in an LA recording studio during the period it covers. It’s a coffee-table book, and stronger on anecdote than on data, but it gives more of an impression of what that time must have been like than any of the other books.

Dead Man’s Curve and Back: The Jan & Dean Story
by Mark Thomas Passmore is a labour of love, covering the duo from birth up until the end of their career (it was published a few months before Jan Berry’s death). Passmore is sometimes too keen to trust Dean Torrence’s claims to have sung on other people’s records, but in general does a good job at sorting out what really happened in Jan and Dean’s career.

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