The Beach Boys are an American rock band formed in Hawthorne, California, in 1961. The group's original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson; their cousin Mike Love; and their friend Al Jardine. Distinguished by their vocal harmonies and early surf songs, they are one of the most influential acts of the rock era. The band drew on the music of jazz-based vocal groups, 1950s rock and roll, and black R&B to create their unique sound, and with Brian as composer, arranger, producer, and de facto leader, often incorporated classical or jazz elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways. The Beach Boys began as a garage band, managed by the Wilsons' father Murry, with Brian's musicianship dominating their creative direction. In 1963, they gained national prominence with a string of hit records reflecting a southern California youth culture of surfing, cars, and romance, later dubbed the "California Sound". After 1964, they abandoned beachgoing themes for more personal lyrics and multi-layered sounds. In 1966, the Pet Sounds album and "Good Vibrations" single raised the group's prestige as rock innovators and established the band as symbols of the nascent counterculture era. Following the dissolution of the group's Smile project in 1967, Brian gradually ceded production and songwriting duties to the rest of the band, reducing his input because of mental health and substance abuse issues. The group's commercial momentum subsequently faltered, and despite efforts to continue their psychedelic ventures, they were dismissed by early rock critics as the archetypal "pop music cop-outs".
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