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Publisher's Summary

Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, along with Mike Love and Al Jardine - better known as the Beach Boys, rocketed out of a working-class Los Angeles suburb in the early '60s, and their sun-and-surf sound captured the imagination of kids across the world. In a few short years, they rode the wave all the way to the top, standing with the Beatles as one of the world's biggest bands. Despite their utopian visions, infectious hooks, and stunning harmonies, the Beach Boys were beset by drug abuse, jealousy, and terrifying mental illness. In Catch a Wave, Peter Ames Carlin pulls back the curtain on Brian Wilson, one of popular music's most revered luminaries, as well as its biggest mystery. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and never-before-heard studio recordings, Carlin follows the Beach Boys from their earliest days through Brian's deepening emotional problems to his triumphant reemergence with the release of Smile, the legendarily unreleased album he had originally shelved.

©2006 Peter Ames Carlin (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not great

Probably the best Brian Wilson biography despite the author going into excruciating detail over every note of every song Wilson ever wrote, listened to, or was in the same county as when it was played or hummed. Not much of an exaggeration actually.
But what really drags this audio book down even more is Balki's droning performance. Who selects him to read a book? If this passes for a professional performance then I am in the wrong business. Put some inflection in your voice man!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful

I'm a big fan of Brian Wilson and of audiobooks and this book was a winner. I don't know what the other reviewers are talking about regarding the narration. I thought Bronson Pinchot was great. Perhaps they were expecting some sort of performance piece, but it would have been odd. This is a history book and it was read as such. I loved it. It was riveting.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome Book

This is a awesome story of Brian and the Beach Boys, there was some much info that I never had heard before.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • G.
  • 02-23-16

Great story, annoying performance

Worth it because it's Brian Wilson, but the narrator got just about every name in the book wrong & Had the emotion of a rock

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • B
  • 09-07-15

Little soft on Brian

The book was well written and I enjoyed the book. I got the impression that the author held back on criticizing Brian especially his relationships with his wife and kids. Because he was a genius and had a crazy father, all the peace and love was a free pass for all the bad stuff he did. I can relate to his song "I was not made for these days" all the Beach Boys were so screwed up and I cannot relate to them. Being a nobody has its benefits.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

for fans, in depth research and good storytelling

Would you listen to Catch a Wave again? Why?

Yes, as a Beach Boys fan I'm getting more background information and insight into their talent and motivation than from just reading wikipedia articles.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Catch a Wave?

I'm actually not even finished with it but I liked it so much to write a review already. The depth of research the author went to clearly shows. I'm enjoying the colorful character studies of all the players. I hope to find out more about Dennis and Carl Wilson, Brian's two deceased brothers who can't speak for themselves anymore. I hope the author will cover those guys well, as well as the main focus--Brian Wilson. I'm already getting a sense most of the members of the Beach Boys are given fair airtime.

Which character – as performed by Bronson Pinchot – was your favorite?

Bronson Pinchot is doing a good job; his inflection and tone are spot-on, especially conveying the melancholy over-arching feeling the author seems to gravitate towards (or at least that's how I'm hearing it). There is a big thing I wanted to point out however, which is the edits in the recording are GLARING. The first one took me by surprise, it was so noticeable. Usually I'm not that anal about how you can tell what lines are punched-in (re-reads), but these are pretty bad. I don't know if Bronson himself was manning the recording gear in his own booth, or if it was a change in producers or recording booths, or whatever, but I just have to point that out. My guess would be Bronson recorded it partly at a home studio and partly in a professional studio (or some combination thereof) and those two sources are not as similar as you would want. It gets better after awhile, and honestly thank god the book is so compelling, because the words he's saying supersede the quality issue.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Well, other than the punch-ins, no extreme reactions yet. I am closely listening to the stories detailing the mental state Brian was in, like how he would call his old crush from high school 15 years later at 3 am. Who does that? She wrote it off as harmless, but clearly the man was operating on some other understanding of the world than most people.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting story but self indulgent

Loved the historical information but I grew to hate the self indulgent descriptions of the lyrics and their meanings. I had to fast forward through much of this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Soooo Boring... Yawn

Narrator uses a monotone and the details are so detailed that no detail is left out. In the pile of details I couldn't find the story.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Catch a good Bio

Well written and easy to follow. What I liked most is this book is it has a lot of facts that is new information you don't hear about outside of rumors and myths. It was great and it was worth the purchase.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Vibrations

Loved it. I learned a lot about rock 'n roll and I learned a lot about life. Worth listening to twice. Ranks up there with the recent Beatles biography and the Keith Richards autobiography.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Angelo
  • 04-20-17

Wonderful

The rock'n'roll Icarus parable re-told wonderfully, enough to drive you back to Brian's work with fresh eyes. Highly recommended.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sooper8
  • 07-15-16

Superb

This is written by a master of his craft. The narrator could not be better.
Overall, the best audio book about music that I have ever read/heard. And I'm old!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rose
  • 09-14-16

Just another in a long line of tragic lows caused by stardom highs

So there goes another junky. What's new? nearly all of them did it. No but this book is more than that since it details the causes of depression and various other factors in the drug crazed years of the sixties and seventies. Brian wilson was more the victim of control freaks, pressure, the need to please those who didn't want ever to be satisfied and his own demons. Stafe fright and manipulative 'friends'. The book delves in to the refinements of musical construction which at times is tedious to those that don't know much about music beyond the fact that they 'like' it and plenty of journo speak. however it's a good example of how journo speak can work. It's a tragic book and the story can be read and repeated often but with different names. However it's worth a read for any music fan and especially fans of 'The Beach Boys' which I'm not actually but I like reading about people.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ruth C Fogarty
  • 08-09-15

Thorough for lacking emotional depth

If you're a fan of the beach boys' musical achievements- and those of Brian Wilson in particular - then this is for you. Highly detailed essay on their musical ups and downs. But I was after more on the human story, the family and Brian's personal history and this didn't go too far down that path.

Comprehensive but not personal enough. Saying that, I'd listen to Bronson Pinchot read a shopping list. He's king of Audible.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful