Popular Music History, Vol 13, No 3 (2020)

In my tomb: Unveiling the Beach Boys state historical landmark

Dale Carter
Issued Date: 1 Apr 2021


In recent decades, popular music in the USA, UK and elsewhere has increasingly been addressed as cultural heritage: by state authorities, commercial and professional interests, and fans. This article contributes to the growing scholarship on popular music heritage through a case study of the 2005 dedication of a California state historical landmark at the site of the Beach Boys’ childhood home and the process that enabled it. Drawing on concepts rehearsed by scholars in popular music, heritage studies and related fields, it identifies the discourses and interests attached to the exercise, and argues that the landmark’s establishment saw a high degree of cooperation between public officials, professional interests and grass-roots activists. Although the landmark risked enshrining and entombing the group in a monument to their early-era image of surf, sand and romance, its dedication ceremony saw fans recognizing the group in more informed, realistic, respectful and up-to-date ways.

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DOI: 10.1558/pomh.39054


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