Boys Next Door

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Known to some as "the Beach Boys of the Midwest," the Boys Next Door were among the relatively few competent emulators of the Beach Boys/Jan & Dean vocal/hot rod/surf sound, and certainly among the…
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Known to some as "the Beach Boys of the Midwest," the Boys Next Door were among the relatively few competent emulators of the Beach Boys/Jan & Dean vocal/hot rod/surf sound, and certainly among the very few competent emulators to emerge from outside of California. Formed in Indianapolis, they issued a few singles in 1964-1967, the first of these billed to the Four Wheels before they reverted to the name Boys Next Door (which they'd been known as before making their recording debut). The group had an extremely clean-cut image and sound, right down to the circa-1964 Beach Boys pinstripe shirts seen in some photos. Actually, however, their recordings were pretty good and energetic, with melodic harmonies and a fairly kinetic drive. The early Four Wheels singles were convincing SoCal hot rod pastiches, and singles such as "Mandy" were respectable approximations of the Beach Boys sound circa 1964-1965 that could have fit in well as tracks on Beach Boys LPs of the period. The Boys Next Door were also no producer's concoction, writing much of their material and gigging frequently in the midwest, opening for stars like Herman's Hermits, the Hollies, Jerry Lee Lewis, and of course the Beach Boys.

The Boys Next Door were briefly produced by Bobby Goldsboro, who also wrote a few songs for them. They remained little known outside of Indianapolis, however, and split in late 1967 in disputes over musical direction, lead singer Steve Kester wanting to move into West Coast psychedelia, drummer Jim Koss and keyboardist Skeet Bushor wanting to play R&B. A comprehensive CD collection, including the Four Wheels sides, Girls Next Door singles, and a bunch of unissued material, was released in 1999.