"The Beach Boys propagated their own variant on the American dream, painting a dazzling picture of beaches, parties and endless summers, a paradise of escape into private as often as shared pleasures...Yet by the late Sixties, the band was articulating, with less success, a disenchantment with that suburban ethos, and a search for transcendence."
– Jim Miller in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll (Random House, 1980).
Is it any wonder that Los Angeles is known as "the City of Lost Angels"? It's the place where sellouts go to bask in the sun, and shady deals get made under palm trees. Never mind that L.A. was the corruptible home of Raymond Chandler's incorruptible detective Philip Marlowe, it was also where Annie Hall was seduced away from Alvy Singer in Woody Allen's hit comedy. Los Angeles may be a tinsel town, a superficial jewel and pleasure palace, but its endless summers hold out a paradoxical promise. Songwriter Brian Wilson successfully depicted the seductive charms of that promise in The Beach Boys' best early music ("I Get Around," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "California Girls"), but when he tried to grow past the adolescent whims of what Jim Miller called that "paradise of escape," even calling it into question in the aching "Don't Worry Baby," Wilson was unable to take the band successfully into adulthood. The hedonistic thrill of The Beach Boys would, by the end of the Sixties, ironically become associated with the apocalyptic horrors of Charles Manson.