As with veterinary medicine, Dr. Jim Murphy approached a new venture in his life, chronicling the early days of one of America’s enduring bands, as both an art and a science.
The lifelong fan wrote “Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963” because other books gave conflicting facts and short shrift to the band’s early days. He also created a companion website.
| ||Dr. Jim Murphy autographs copies of his book.
Dr. Murphy spent eight years researching, doing interviews, and writing his book, weathering rejections until it was published in summer 2015, three days after a new movie about the band was released and a month before the group headlined at the AVMA Annual Convention in Boston.
“It is an academic look at the band’s origin and not always a light read for a day at the beach,” he says of the 436-page book with its 12 appendices, 1,100 end notes, bibliography, and index. Fifty of the photos had never before been published, except some in yearbooks. His scientific approach also drew on his right brain. As an undergrad, he had minored in creative writing, enjoying the precision. “Writing the book and using the less- scientific part of my brain was my own form of a wellness program,” he says.
The companion animal veterinarian at Capitol Hill Animal Clinic in Washington, D.C., was 40 when he graduated from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997. Earlier, he was a speechwriter for the postmaster general. At 50, he starred in his first community theater production. He has appeared in three feature-length indie film comedies.