10 albums that changed David Marks life

By David M. Beard (Photo courtesy of Endless Summer Quarterly)

As an original founding member of The Beach Boys, guitarist David Marks took lessons with bandmate Carl Wilson from none other than John Maus (Walker Brothers). After appearing on the first four Beach Boys’ albums, Marks ventured out on his own, first with Dave & The Marksmen and then with The Moon. Today, as he puts the final touches on his latest solo effort, “The Circle Continues,” he shares the influences that continue to shape his musical impulses.

B.B. King: Live
B.B. King introduced me to the Blues and improvising guitar solos, which had a huge effect on me and changed the way I played. Since then, I have preferred improvisational playing.

J.S. Bach: Harpsichord Music and Lute Suites
This album got me totally into classical music, which in turn led me to jazz, because I found out he improvised everything and then wrote it down. Bach opened up that whole world of music theory to me.

Paul Butterfield: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
After hearing that album, it made me realize that white guys could interpret that style of music, and I never looked back. Also, Mike Bloomfield, the guitar player in that band, had a profound influence on my guitar playing.

Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You
This album was my introduction to keyboards. That Hammond B3, Wurlitzer electric piano and baby grand became my favorite combination of sounds. I immediately went out and bought a Wurlitzer, which vastly expanded my songwriting possibilities.

Chuck Berry: Chuck Berry’s On Top
This is the album that really bonded Carl Wilson and I as guitar players. We’d been playing surf instrumentals together, but when that album came out, we decided to dedicate ourselves to becoming guitar players. We focused on coming up with our own sound, but you can really hear that Chuck Berry influence in our music.

The Ventures: Walk Don’t Run
“Walk Don’t Run” was the first song I played with a band, even before The Beach Boys. It was me and Carl Wilson on guitars and Kenny and John Poole on bass and drums — we were just kids in the neighborhood messing around, but playing with other musicians like that cemented the idea that playing in a band was what I wanted to do.

The Beatles: Rubber Soul
“Rubber Soul” was inspirational because it was totally innovative and off the beaten track, so to speak. “Rubber Soul” gave me the courage to be creative and inspired me to be original with my own compositions and write songs that were new and unique instead of trying to write generic songs that everyone else was putting out.

Ray Charles: What’d I Say
This album got me interested in singing. Just hearing his voice inspired me to want to sing. I can vividly remember Carl and I laying on our backs listening to that record with our eyes closed and being blown away.

Duane Eddy: Have Twangy Guitar, Will Travel
This is the first album that got me serious about playing guitar when I was 10 years old. The first songs I played I wrote myself, but “Ramrod” was the first song I learned to play by another artist.

Dick Dale: Surfer’s Choice
Dick Dale influenced our sound. We wanted to sound big like him. We didn’t sound like him musically, although we tried, but we got our Fender equipment based on what he used to try to emulate that Dick Dale wall of sound. In the early days of The Beach Boys, we didn’t have that many original songs so we filled our sets with covers and we did just about all the songs on “Surfer’s Choice.” We even recorded a few on the “Surfin’ USA” album.


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