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Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

IU Jacobs School rock 'n' roll professor to teach course on the Beach Boys

July 30, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Andy Hollinden has a new gig this fall.

The scruffy-faced senior lecturer in Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music -- known for his classes on rock 'n' roll legends Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix as much as for his end-of-semester concerts at Bloomington's Bluebird nightclub -- has developed a new course on the Beach Boys.

Andrew "Andy' Hollinden

In the past, he's taught Z320, "Beach Boys, Beefheart and the Residents." But with the Beach Boys touring with founding member Brian Wilson in celebration of the group's 50th anniversary, the 2011 release of the band's long-awaited "Smile" box set and the new album "That's Why God Made the Radio" out this year, he felt the time was ripe for a course focused solely on the band that helped change the face of popular music.

"To the casual listener of pop music, the Beach Boys conjures up images of surfing and cars and girls and California sunshine. And that's all they know," Hollinden said. "They don't realize that their music was incredibly sophisticated. Their musical maturity, artistic quality and production levels were, in America, unparalleled. The Beach Boys really were the chief rivals to The Beatles."

Hollinden ticked off several moves the Fab Four made after the Beach Boys -- recording their first single, echoing Brian Wilson's move to halt touring in favor of concentrating on the recording studio and forming their own record label, for example, as well as the heavy influence "Pet Sounds" had on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

But loyal fans grew frustrated with the band when, in 1967, Wilson announced he was scrapping the highly anticipated "Smile" album, Hollinden said. The band also backed out of the Monterey International Pop Music Festival, the widely promoted and heavily attended concert event where Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding burst onto the music scene.

"Almost overnight, it seemed, the Beach Boys went from being America's most beloved band to being considered unhip," Hollinden said. "Some people say that's when rock lost its innocence, with the guitar-smashing and the violence and the whole Hendrix vibe. It was almost like a changing of the guard, and the Beach Boys' popularity waned horribly."

But finally breaking the "Smile" curse, a new album and an anniversary tour has put the Beach Boys back at the forefront of the nation's larger musical conversation. That scenario, Hollinden said, means it's the perfect time to widen the opportunity for IU students to learn more about the band and its place in history and the future.

Calling the anniversary show he caught this summer "one of the best concerts I've ever experienced, period, and that's not hyperbole," Hollinden said the sheer number of hits and fabulous vocal harmonies he heard during that three-hour performance is just part of the reason the band should be studied.

"The question is always, 'Which artists deserve their own class?'" Hollinden said. "The artistic integrity of the Beach Boys' output is phenomenal, and I think people need to be educated about them."

About Andy Hollinden

Andrew "Andy" Hollinden, a senior lecturer at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, has developed and teaches courses in the history of the blues, rock music of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, and the music of Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart and the Residents.

Hollinden composes and produces music for videos and has performed and recorded with numerous rock bands. To date, he has written and produced eight CDs of his own music: "Moving Earth from There to Here" (1994), "Boot Rouge et Swabs" (1996), "Heat to Fragrance" (2000), "Begging's Not Endearing" (2002), "Stick It in Your Sound Hole" (2004), "Trust Yourself" (2006), "Grieve For The Living" (2008) and "Lucky Hands in Trying Times" (2010).

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