Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys: How Deep is the Ocean?, by Paul Williams


How Deep is the Ocean? brings together the cream of Paul Williams’ Beach Boys pieces – some of the best writing about the legendary group ever published.

This English edition is now out of print, but I’m delighted to announce that Shinko will be publishing their own Japanese edition later this month.

Paul Williams was the founder of Crawdaddy! The first ever US rock magazine, and the author of over 20 books including the highly acclaimed volumes of Bob Dylan criticism Performing Artist and Watching the River Flow.


Paul Williams was a believer. He started being a believer when he was 16, tugging on your coat sleeve, going, ‘Hey, pal, this is the real thing. You should listen to this, for these reasons.” And he did it his entire life. He made it his mission to bring great music to your attention.

His writing was very conversational and fan oriented, in the sense that he was a fan. He wasn’t reviewing records he didn’t like because he got the assignment from some guy in an office. The passion was always there. You could tell that Paul was someone who wrote about things that he actually cared about.

I’ve bought and read everything with his name on it. I got to know Paul a little over the years – we bumped into each other at shows. I was thrilled to meet the guy who interviewed the Doors. You go, “Wow, those were the days when giants walked the earth, and here was a guy who talked to them for his mimeographed magazine.”

One of the great things about Paul was I don’t think he thought people all over the world were reading him. But he brought things out of the music in a way that you didn’t get from The Ed Sullivan Show. Bands might sell more records by being on Ed Sullivan. But Paul was delivering their music to a small fervent audience – people who were believers, just like him.”
— Peter Buck, R.E.M.

“Paul Williams was huge in my life, although I never met the guy. I started buying Crawdaddy at the local head shop when I was in eighth grade, and it truly dropped a bomb in my head, not only as intelligent writing about ideas via pop music, which nobody else was doing then, but a pretty solid education all around. I followed up all his allusions and read all the books he recommended–thanks to him I found Pynchon’s V. at the public library, for example… “
— Luc Sante