CATCH A WAVE
Fun, Fun, Fun In Europe
In 1964, the Beach Boys' growing fame was eclipsed by the enormous popularity of the Beatles. Brian admired their records but felt intimidated by their hip sophistication. It didn't help that the release of the Beatles' number-one “I Want to Hold Your Hand” coincided with that of the Beach Boys' “Fun, Fun, Fun,” which charted at number fifteen.
The group was busy putting the finishing touches on their next album, Shut Down Volume 2, to be followed by a tour of Australia—their first outside the United States. Everyone except Brian was overjoyed at the prospect of seeing another part of the world. He and Marilyn argued before the band's flight out, which caused Brian to suffer even more on the tour. The Beach Boys were a smash Down Under, however, and Brian decided that he would ask Marilyn to marry him once he returned home. They were wed in a modest civil service in Los Angeles, after an earlier attempt in Las Vegas failed when Brian forgot to bring his birth certificate.
Despite the threat from the Beatles, 1964 was the Beach Boys' best year yet. Shut Down Volume 2 and its follow-up, All Summer Long, were released. The latter featured the group's first number-one single, “I Get Around,” as well as the top-ten hit “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man),” which charted at number nine. The band appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in September, causing almost as much of a frenzy as the Beatles had on the same show in February. Finally, they took off for their first-ever European tour in October.
While European fans were even wilder about the Beach Boys than the Australians had been, Brian was under more pressure than ever. He had recently fired Murry from his position as band manager, and even though he was finally free from his father's constant bickering, he felt guilty over their subsequent estrangement. Brian was also as depressed as ever over not being able to work on new songs, and he quickly became undependable. He broke down in a club in Copenhagen, Denmark, and had to be escorted back to his hotel room by a concerned Dennis and Carl. On the flight home from the tour, Brian decided it was time he stopped touring altogether. He dreaded telling his band mates, but at that point none of them could know that his dedication to writing and recording would result in the most critically acclaimed album of their career.