Steve's notation of The Beach Boys as one of the great American bands of the sixties raised my eyebrows a bit. I have some issues with the Beach Boys: my former mother-in-law used to say they were white supremacists. That may be a bit strong: she was sort of a crazy person. But any rumination on Brian Wilson can't necessarily use that as a dismissal.
Any claim the Beach Boys have to fame begins and ends with Wilson, Mike Love's whiny insistence that it's his group too notwithstanding. But the complications of accepting Wilson's artistic centrality as a composer and producer are obviously pretty significant. I mean, they began as dad's project for the boys, no? And surf music was a calculted attempt to catch a trend that they personally had nothing to do with, simply an economic decision. They did outgrow surf music, of course, and there were a few years there, the Pet Sounds and SMiLE years (SMiLE, of course, listed more honestly as Wilson solo, not The Beach Boys), but that quickly declined into Howard Hughes-style mania for Brian. So he had a good period there, but is that enough? And I don't mean to pick on the guy: it might be, for most people. But I'm just assuming Simels meant Pet Sounds Beach Boys and not, say, "Be True to Your School" Beach Boys. I'll ask him to clarify.
(And no, to answer the inevitable question, I don't much credit "Kokomo," one of the most dependably annoying songs of the last century. I've been to Indiana, there's nothing tropical about it. But I do quite like The Barenaked Ladies song "Brian Wilson," if that helps.)
Worth noting: Matt Dillon's performance as Wilson in Grace of My Heart, an underrated film. (And Jeff and Steve McDonald play the Beach Boys who, when the Dillon character reveals his version of "Good Vibrations" ask, "How do you play it live?")