BY TOM LAVIS
March will bring big-name acts to the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, 326 Napoleon St., downtown Johnstown.
But the biggest will be the March 19 performance by The Beach Boys, whose sound is timeless and transcends generations.
They were uncommonly American, celebrating the California lifestyle: sun, sea, sand, surfing, girls and cars.
It was a lifestyle chronicled in such hits as “Surfin’ USA,” “Little Deuce Coupe” and “California Girls.”
The Beach Boys will be joined by another big name in rock history, Three Dog Night, that had a string of hits from the 1960s and ’70s, including “Joy to the World.”
The Johnstown show is underwritten by McAneny Bros., an Ebensburg-based produce and wholesale food business.
The company is hosting its annual trade show March 19 at the Pasquerilla Conference Center, which is across the street from the arena.
Tom Grenell, the arena’s general manager, said without McAneny’s support, there would be no way to attract a band of such high caliber to Johnstown.
“Based on 4,000 tickets, prices would be too high for us to consider engaging such a group as The Beach Boys,” Grenell said.
“Because of the McAneny family’s support, we have been able to bring in a number of blockbuster entertainers such as Reba McIntire, Martina McBride, Bill Cosby and Brooks and Dunn.”
Grenell said McAneny’s generosity also extends to the public because of the tickets remaining, they allow the War Memorial access to every other row.
“This way, the general public is not relegated to the back of the house and has an opportunity to buy some great seats at a good price,” Grenell said.
Stephen McAneny, president of McAneny Bros., said the company retained 2,000 tickets and is looking for a huge turnout from the company’s customer base.
“Other than an outing each summer at a Curve game in Altoona, this is by far our biggest customer-appreciation event,” he said.
“We want our customers to come to the food show, enjoy a dinner at the Holiday Inn and walk over to enjoy a wonderful show.”
Because the War Memorial had scheduled a country concert for the end of March, McAneny chose to bring in The Beach Boys.
“We needed another act to go with them, and at the suggestion of my wife, Cindy, we decided to add Three Dog Night,” he said.
In 1961, The Beach Boys officially formed and were signed by Capitol Records.
Original member Mike Love is recognized as the lead singer and emcee of the group.
The Beach Boys have often been called “America’s Band.”
The group has had more than 80 songs worldwide, 36 of them United States Top 40 hits. It’s the most by an American rock band.
Four of those reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
From its humble roots in Hawthorne, Calif., The Beach Boys have become an international sensation.
The band’s famous harmonies and classic songs continue to travel the world and will bring “Good Vibrations” to the Johnstown arena.
For more than five decades, The Beach Boys – America’s first pop band to reach the 50-year milestone – has recorded and performed the music that has become the world’s favorite soundtrack to summer.
The Beach Boys were originally comprised of the three teenaged Wilson brothers: Brian, Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and school friend Al Jardine.
In 1962, neighbor David Marks joined the group for its first wave of hits with Capitol Records, leaving in late 1963, and in 1965, Bruce Johnston joined the band when Brian Wilson retired from touring to focus on writing and producing for the group.
In 1962, The Beach Boys released its first album, “Surfin’ Safari.” The album spent 37 weeks on the Billboard chart, launching the young group into international stardom.
The Wilson/Love collaboration resulted in many huge international chart hits, and under Brian Wilson’s musical leadership, the band’s initial surf-rock focus was soon broadened to include many other themes, helping make The Beach Boys America’s pre-eminent band of the 1960s.
Inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and recipients of The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, The Beach Boys are a beloved American institution that remains iconic around the world.
Tickets for The Beach Boys are $25, $35 and $55, plus fees.
The big month of music actually begins March 6, when Brit Floyd, which bills itself as “the world’s greatest Pink Floyd tribute show,” launches its North American tour at the War Memorial Arena for the second consecutive year.
March will conclude on a high note as country music star Billy Currington will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 28.
Currington last appeared in Johnstown in 2011 to an appreciative audience.
Grenell said Currington sold out the arena, which was set up in a half-house stage configuration.
“Billy Currington is a wonderful performer and an equally wonderful gentleman,” Grenell said. “He hasn’t forgotten Johnstown, and given his enormous success, we are anticipating a full house.”
Currington will be singing his hit “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” as well as a number of other favorites.
Currington’s special guests will be Brett Eldredge and Chase Rice.
“The War Memorial Arena is regaining its reputation for caring about the artists and catering to their needs,” Grenell said.
“We try to remember that these entertainers are human beings who are away from home for long periods of time and we want to make their stay in Johnstown enjoyable.”
Tom Lavis covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom LavisTD.