Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

“Spirit of America”: Socio-cultural and gender issues in early Beach Boys songs
by Smith, Mandy Jo, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2011, 88; 1504535
Abstract (Summary)

The music of the Beach Boys is an integral part of American culture. In this thesis, ways in which early Beach Boys songs (1962-1965) create a distinctly American image of freedom and youth are investigated. Using gender and socio-cultural methodologies, evidence is included that demonstrates that the lyrics reinforce stereotypical gender roles, encourage an escapist mindset, and promote idealized American values. “California Girls,” a song representative of all these ideals, is analyzed to reveal how the music reflects these textual themes. By writing songs about surfing, cars, and girls, the Beach Boys co-opted teen culture in order to sell records, expand their fan base, and ultimately earn their reputation as “America's Band.” Further, the evidence presented demonstrates that both the Beach Boys' music and their status as “America's Band” illuminate important historical and social issues, both within and beyond the realm of popular music.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Forney, Kristine K.
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 50/03M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, Music, Gender studies
Publication Number: 1504535
ISBN: 978-1-124-99477-2
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