The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961. The group's original and best known lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Initially managed by the Wilsons' father Murry, the Beach Boys signed to Capitol Records in 1962. The band's early music gained popularity across the United States for its close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting a Southern California youth culture of surfing, cars, and romance. By the mid-1960s, Brian Wilson's growing creative ambition and songwriting ability would dominate the group's musical direction. The primarily Wilson-composed Pet Sounds album and "Good Vibrations" single (both released in 1966) featured a complex, intricate and multi-layered sound that represented a departure from the simple surf rock of the Beach Boys' early years.
Starting in 1967, Wilson gradually abdicated control to the rest of the band, assuming a reduced level of input due to mental health and substance abuse issues. Though the more democratic incarnation of the Beach Boys recorded a string of albums in various musical styles that garnered international critical success, the group struggled to reclaim their commercial momentum in America despite once being seen as the primary competitors to the Beatles. Since the 1980s, there has been much publicized legal-wrangling over royalties, songwriting credits, and use of the band's name. Dennis Wilson drowned in 1983, and Carl died of lung cancer in 1998. After Carl's death, a number of versions of the band, each fronted by surviving members from the original quintet, continued to tour into the 2000s. In 2011–12, they briefly reunited as the Beach Boys for one new album and reunion tour.
The Beach Boys have often been called "America's Band", and Allmusic has stated that their "unerring ability…made them America's first, best rock band." The group have had over eighty songs chart worldwide, thirty-six of them United States Top 40 hits (the most by an American rock band), four of those reaching number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Beach Boys have sold in excess of 100 million records worldwide and are listed at number 12 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2004 list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". The core quintet of the three Wilsons, Love and Jardine were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
1958–1966: The Beach Boys under Brian Wilson[edit source | edit]Edit
Formation and first years (1958–61)[edit source | edit]EditAt age 16, Brian Wilson shared a bedroom with his brothers, Dennis and Carl, in their family home in Hawthorne. He watched his father, Murry Wilson, play piano and listened intently to the harmonies of vocal groups like the Four Freshmen. One night he taught his brothers a song called "Ivory Tower" and how to sing the background harmonies. "We practiced night after night, singing softly hoping we wouldn't wake our Dad." For his 16th birthday, Brian was given a reel-to-reel tape recorder. He learned how to overdub, using his vocals and those of Carl and their mother. Brian would play piano with Carl and David Marks (an eleven-year-old longtime neighbor) playing the guitars they got as Christmas presents.A historical landmark at 3701 W. 119th St., Hawthorne, California marking where the Wilson family home once stood
Soon Brian was avidly listening to Johnny Otis on his KFOX radio show, a favorite station of Carl's. Inspired by the simple structure and vocals of the rhythm and blues songs he heard, he changed his piano-playing style and started writing songs. His enthusiasm interfered with his music studies at school. He failed to complete a twelfth-grade piano sonata, but did submit an original composition, called "Surfin'".
Family gatherings brought the Wilsons in contact with cousin Mike Love. Brian taught Love's sister Maureen and a friend harmonies. Later, Brian, Mike Love and two friends performed atHawthorne High School, drawing tremendous applause for their version of doo-wop group the Olympics' "Hully Gully". Brian also knew Al Jardine, a high school classmate who had already played guitar in a folk group called the Islanders. One day, on the spur of the moment, they asked a couple of football players in the school training room to learn harmony parts, but it wasn't a success—the bass singer was flat.
Brian suggested to Jardine that they team up with his cousin and brother Carl. It was at these sessions, held in Brian's bedroom, that "the Beach Boys sound" began to form. Brian says: "Everyone contributed something. Carl kept us hip to the latest tunes, Al taught us his repertoire of folk songs, and Dennis, though he didn't [then] play anything, added a combustible spark just by his presence." Love encouraged Brian to write songs and gave the fledgling band its name: the Pendletones, derived from the Pendleton woolen shirts popular at the time. In their earliest performances, the band wore the heavy wool jacket-like shirts, which were favored by surfers in the South Bay. Although surfing motifs were very prominent in their early songs, Dennis was the only band-member who surfed. He suggested that his brothers compose some songs celebrating his hobby and the lifestyle which had developed around it in Southern California.
Jardine and a singer friend, Gary Winfrey, went to Brian's to see if he could help out with a version of a folk song they wanted to record—"Sloop John B". In Brian's absence, the two spoke with Murry, a music industry veteran of modest success. In September 1961, Murry arranged for the Pendletones to meet publishers Hite and Dorinda Morgan at Stereo Masters in Hollywood. The group performed a slower ballad, "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring", but failed to impress the Morgans. After an awkward pause, Dennis mentioned they had an original song, "Surfin'". Brian was taken aback—he had not finished writing the song—but Hite Morgan was interested and asked them to call back when the song was complete.
With help from Love, Brian finished the song and the group rented guitars, drums, amplifiers and microphones. They practiced for three days while the Wilsons' parents were on a short vacation. When they auditioned again a few days later, Hite Morgan declared: "That's a smash!" In October, the Pendletones recorded twelve takes of "Surfin'" in the Morgans' cramped offices, David Marks was not present at the session as he was at school. A small number of singles were pressed. When the boys eagerly unpacked the first box of singles, on the Candix Records label, they were shocked to see their band name changed to "Beach Boys". Murry Wilson, now intimately involved with the band's fortunes, called the Morgans. Apparently a young promotion worker, Russ Regan, made the change to more obviously tie the group in with other surf bands of the time. The limited budget meant the labels could not be reprinted.
Released in December 1961, "Surfin'" was soon aired on KFWB and KRLA, two of Los Angeles' most influential teen radio stations. It was a hit on the West Coast, going to number three in Southern California, and peaked at number 75 on the national pop charts. By the final weeks of 1961 "Surfin'" had sold more than 40,000 copies. Murry Wilson told the boys he did not like "Surfin'". However, according to Brian, "he smelled money to be made and jumped on the promotional bandwagon, calling every radio station..." By now the de facto manager of the Beach Boys, Murry got the group's first paying gig on New Year's Eve, 1961, at the Ritchie Valens Memorial Dance in Long Beach, headlined by Ike & Tina Turner. Brian recalls how he wondered what they were doing there: "five clean-cut, unworldly white boys from a conservative white suburb, in an auditorium full of black kids". Brian describes the night as an "education"—he knew afterwards that success was all about "R&B, rock and roll, and money". The boys went home with $50 apiece.
Early successes with surf and hot rod-themed rock (1962–64)[edit source | edit]Edit
Main articles: Surfin' Safari, Surfin' U.S.A., Surfer Girl, Little Deuce Coupe, Shut Down Volume 2, and All Summer Long (album)The Beach Boys performing "I Get Around" on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.
|"I Get Around" from All Summer Long (1964)MENU 0:00 An excerpt from Brian Wilson and Mike Love's "I Get Around" demonstrating Love's iconic nasal delivery and a surf-rock-styled guitar solo played by Carl Wilson. "I Get Around" would be the first US number one charting song for the band.----|
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Although Murry effectively seized managerial control of the band without consultation, Brian acknowledges that he "deserves credit for getting us off the ground... he hounded us mercilessly... [but] also worked hard himself". He was the first to stress the importance of having a follow-up hit. In the first half of February 1962, Jardine left the band (but not, as long assumed, to continue his college studies) and was replaced by David Marks who officially became a Beach Boy for the first time. Around this time, the Beach Boys began wearing blue/gray-striped button-down shirts tucked into white pants as their touring "uniforms", the band's signature look through to 1966. The band duly recorded two more originals on April 19 at Western Studios, Los Angeles; "Lonely Sea" and "409", also re-recording "Surfin' Safari". On June 4, the band released their second single "Surfin' Safari" backed with "409". The release prompted national coverage in the June 9 issue of Billboard where the magazine praised Love's lead vocal and deemed the song to have strong hit potential.
After being turned down by Dot and Liberty, the Beach Boys eventually signed a seven year contract with Capitol Records on July 16 based on the strength of the June demo session. By November, their first album was ready—Surfin' Safari which charted at number 32 on the US Billboard charts. Their song output continued along the same commercial line, focusing on California youth lifestyle.
In January 1963, three months after the release of their debut album, the band began recording their sophomore effort, Surfin' U.S.A., an album which placed a greater emphasis on surf rock instrumentals and tighter production values. It has been hypothesized that the shift to a sound more typical of the surf rock genre was in response to the Californian surfer locals who were dismissive of the band's debut as it strayed from the sound of other surf acts of the era. After the moderate success of Surfin' Safari, Surfin' U.S.A., released on March 25, 1963 met a more emphatic reception, reaching number two on the Billboard charts and propelling the band into a nationwide spotlight. Five days prior to the release of Surfin' U.S.A. Brian produced "Surf City", a song he had written for Jan and Dean. "Surf City" hit number one on the Billboard charts in July 1963, a development that pleased Brian but angered Murry, who felt his son had "given away" what should have been the Beach Boys' first chart-topper.
Sometime around late 1963, Brian Wilson heard the song "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes for the first time, which "revamped" Wilson's creative interests and songwriting. "Be My Baby" was later renowned by critics as the titular example of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound production, a recording method Wilson would hold an enduring fascination with for the next several decades. Wilson later in life stated: "I was unable to really think as a producer until I really got familiar with Phil Spector's work." Apart from Murry. Phil Spector, and the close vocal harmonies of Brian's favorite groups, early inspiration came from the driving rock-and-roll sound of Chuck Berry. "Surfin' U.S.A." is a variation of Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen". A lawsuit eventually granted Berry writing credit as well as royalties from the record.The 1932 Ford that appeared on the cover to the platinum certified Little Deuce Coupe album.
At the beginning of a tour of the Mid-West in April 1963, Jardine rejoined the Beach Boys at Brian's request. As Jardine began playing live gigs again, Brian left the road to focus on writing and recording. Around this time, Brian began utilizing members of the Wrecking Crew, session musicians also used by his favorite producer Phil Spector. The session musicians were never an outright replacement for members of the band, rather used to augment arrangements or perfect takes in a shorter amount of time to adhere to the fast-paced recording environment that the early-sixties forced onto the group. The result of this arrangement produced the albums Surfer Girl, released on September 16, 1963 and Little Deuce Coupe, released less than a month later on October 7, 1963. This sextet incarnation of the Beach Boys didn't extend beyond these two albums however as Marks officially left the band in early October due to conflict with manager Murry Wilson, resulting in Brian having to tour once more.
Following a successful Australasian tour in January and February 1964, the band returned home to be greeted by the Beatles leading the charge of the British invasion through their appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. Reportedly, Brian Wilson wished to have more time to complete the album they had been working on earlier in the year, yet their record label insisted they finish recording swiftly to avoid being forgotten in the throes of the impending "invasion". Satisfying these demands, the band hastily finished the sessions on February 20, 1964 and titled the album Shut Down Volume 2. Critics have found evaluating the album's worth difficult through the years. Though songs like "The Warmth of the Sun" and "Don't Worry Baby" are widely acclaimed and seen as impressive milestones in the artistic growth of the band, certain tracks, largely those quickly recorded to satisfy Capitol's demands, are often received with less enthusiasm.
In April 1964, during recording of the single "I Get Around", Murry was relieved of his duties as manager. Brian reflected, "We love the family thing - y'know: three brothers, a cousin and a friend is a really beautiful way to have a group - but the extra generation can become a hang-up". When the single was released in May of that month, it would climb to the number one position on the Billboard charts, the first such feat the Beach Boys had accomplished. Two months later, the album that the song later appeared on, All Summer Long, reached number four on the Billboard 200 charts and has been cited by some as the best early-Beach Boys album.The album was also a swan-song to the surf and car music the Beach Boys built their commercial standing upon, with the albums that followed All Summer Long taking a stylistic and/or lyrical path that greatly deviated from the established 1962-1964 style of the band.
The group's early hits made them major pop stars in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and several other countries with sixteen hit singles between 1962 and 1965. The Beach Boys were one of the few American bands formed prior to the British Invasion in 1964 to hold onto the success they had garnered in 1962-63. Their early hits also helped raise the profile of the state of California and associated the band with surfing, hot-rod racing, and the pursuit of happiness by carefree teens.
Today!, Summer Days and production advances (1965)[edit source | edit]Edit
|"Let Him Run Wild" from Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) (1965)MENU 0:00 "Let Him Run Wild" belongs to a group of many Wilson/Love composed songs from 1965 which incorporate higher production values, denser arrangements and more personal lyrics than what the band primarily utilized before.----|
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By the end of 1964, the stress of road travel, composing, producing and maintaining a high level of creativity became too much to bear for Brian Wilson. On December 23 that year, while on a flight to Houston, he suffered an anxiety attack and left the tour. In January, 1965, he announced his withdrawal from touring to concentrate entirely on songwriting and record production. For the rest of 1964 and into 1965, Glen Campbell served as Wilson's temporary replacement in concert, until his own career success required him to leave the group in April 1965. Bruce Johnston was asked to locate a replacement for Campbell; having failed to find one, Johnston himself subsequently became a full-time member of the band on May 19, 1965, first replacing Wilson on the road and later contributing his own talents in the studio beginning with the vocal sessions for "California Girls" recorded on the 4th of June, 1965.
During the recording sessions for The Beach Boys Today!, Mike Love told Melody Maker that he and the band wanted to look beyond surf rock, wanting to avoid living in the past or resting on the band's laurels. The resulting LP had largely guitar-oriented pop songs such as "Dance, Dance, Dance" and "Good to My Baby" on side A with melancholic ballads on side B such as "Please Let Me Wonder" and "She Knows Me Too Well".
In June, 1965, the band released Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!). The album included a reworked arrangement of "Help Me, Rhonda" which became the band's second number one single in the spring of 1965, displacing the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride". Songs that featured on these albums such as "Kiss Me, Baby" and "Let Him Run Wild" tapped into the same youthful angst that would later pervade his upcoming efforts.
In November 1965, the group followed up their US number three charting "California Girls" from Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) with another top-twenty single, "The Little Girl I Once Knew". It was considered the band's most experimental statement thus far, using silence as a pre-chorus, clashing keyboards, moody brass, and vocal tics. Perhaps too extreme an arrangement to go much higher than its modest number 20 peak, it was only the band's second single not to reach the top ten since their 1962 breakthrough. In December they scored an unexpected number two hit (number three in the UK) with "Barbara Ann", which Capitol released as a single without any input from the band. A cover of a 1961 song by the Regents, it became one of the Beach Boys' most recognized hits over the years.
Pet Sounds, "Good Vibrations" and the genesis of Smile (1966)[edit source | edit]EditMain articles: Pet Sounds, Good Vibrations, and Smile (The Beach Boys album)Pet Sounds is regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time and is one of the most universally acclaimed in rock history.
During the mid-sixties, the Beach Boys left surfing behind and began to write surreal, melodramatic and revolutionary songs. The group was exploring similar musical tastes to other contemporaneous acts, such as the Byrds and the Yardbirds. During their psychedelic period, the Beach Boys started to use unconventional instruments and elaborate layers of vocal harmonies on their groundbreaking record Pet Sounds. A heralding album in the emerging psychedelic rock style, Pet Sounds has been championed and emulated for its experimental and revolutionary baroque instrumentation. In the same year, they released "Good Vibrations", one of their best known and most celebrated songs. The song made use of a Tannerin(an easier-to-manipulate version of a Theremin) which helped them claim a new hippie audience.Brian Wilson at a Pet Soundssession.
Pet Sounds was where Wilson's growing mastery of studio recording and his increasingly sophisticated songs and complex arrangements would reach a creative peak. Influenced by psychedelic drugs, Brian Wilson turned his attention inward and probed his deep-seated self-doubts and emotional longings.The Beach Boys did not look at the problems in the world around them, unlike other psychedelic rock groups. The album's meticulously layered harmonies and inventive instrumentation (performed by the cream of Los Angeles session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew) set a new standard for pop and rock music. It remains one of the most evocative releases of the decade, with distinctive strains of lushness, melancholy, and nostalgia for youth. The tracks "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "God Only Knows" showcased Wilson's growing mastery as a composer, arranger, and producer, as did "Caroline, No", which was issued as a Brian Wilson solo single, the only time he was credited as a solo artist during the early Capitol years. The album also included two sophisticated instrumental tracks, the quiet and wistful "Let's Go Away for Awhile" and the brittle brassy surf of the instrumental title track. Because of his withdrawal from touring, Wilson was able to complete almost all the backing tracks for the album while the Beach Boys were on tour in Japan. They returned to find a substantially complete album, requiring only their vocals and a small amount of their instrumental skills to finish it.
|"God Only Knows" from Pet Sounds (1966)MENU 0:00 "God Only Knows" was one of the first commercial songs to use the word "God" in its title.----|
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Despite the critical praise it received, Pet Sounds was indifferently promoted by Capitol, and failed to become the major hit Wilson had hoped it would be. Its failure to gain wider recognition in the US hurt him deeply. Pet Sounds reached number ten in the US but reached a stronger number two in the UK, an accomplishment which helped the Beach Boys become the strongest selling albums act in the UK for the final quarter of 1966; dethroning the three year reign of UK native bands such as the Beatles.
"With the 1966 Pet Sounds album, and then songs like "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes and Villains", Wilson had become America's equivalent of the Beatles with his ability to expand the limits of popular taste."—Robin Denselow writing for The Guardian, September 1976
Seeking to expand on the advances made on Pet Sounds, Wilson began an even more ambitious project, originally dubbed Dumb Angel; in due course, the project becameSmile. Its first fruit was "Good Vibrations", which Brian described as a "pocket symphony". The song became the Beach Boys' biggest hit to date and a US and UK number one single in 1966; many critics consider it to be one of the best rock singles of all time. It was one of the most complex pop productions ever undertaken, and was reputed to have been the most expensive American single ever recorded at that time. Costing a reported $50,000, more than most albums, sessions for the song stretched over several months in at least three major studios. According to Wilson, the electro-theremin work itself cost $15,000.
|"Good Vibrations" single (1966)MENU 0:00 One of the Beach Boys' defining songs and their most well known psychedelic track. It was the Beach Boys' third song to top theBillboard Hot 100.----|
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In contrast to his work on Pet Sounds, Wilson adopted a modular approach to "Good Vibrations": he broke the song into sections and taped multiple versions of each at different studios to take advantage of the different sound and ambience of each facility. He then assembled his favorite sections into a master backing track and added vocals. The song's innovative instrumentation included drums, Hammond organ, piano, tack piano, two basses, guitars, electro-theremin, harmonica, and cello. The group members recall the "Good Vibrations" vocal sessions as among the most demanding of their career.
|“||I'm doing the spiritual sound, a white spiritual sound. Religious music…That's the whole movement…That's where I'm going and it's going to scare a lot of people when I get there.||”|
While putting the finishing touches to Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson met musician and songwriter Van Dyke Parks. In mid-1966, Brian and Parks began an intense collaboration that resulted in a suite of challenging new songs for Smile. Using the same techniques as on "Good Vibrations", recording began in August 1966 and carried on into early 1967. Although the structure of the album and the exact running order of the songs have been subjects of speculation, it is known that Wilson and Parks intended Smile to be a continuous suite of songs that were linked both thematically and musically, with the main songs being linked together by small vocal pieces and instrumental segments that elaborated upon the musical themes of the major songs.
Many factors combined to put intense pressure on Brian Wilson as Smile neared completion: his own mental instability, the pressure to create against fierce internal opposition to his new music, the relatively unenthusiastic response to Pet Sounds in the United States, Carl Wilson's draft resistance, and a major dispute with Capitol Records. Further, Wilson's reliance on both prescription drugs and amphetamines exacerbated his underlying mental health problems. Smile was shelved in May 1967, and would go on to become the most famous unreleased album in the history of popular music. Comparable to Brian Jones and Syd Barrett, Brian Wilson's use of psychedelic drugs—especially LSD—led to a nervous breakdown in the late-1960s. As his legend grew, the Smile period came to be seen as the pivotal episode in his decline and he became tagged as one of the most notorious celebrity drug casualties of the rock era.
1967–1973: The Beach Boys as a democratic unit[edit source | edit]Edit
Release of Smiley Smile and Wild Honey (1967)[edit source | edit]EditMain articles: Smiley Smile and Wild Honey (album)
Some of the Smile tracks were salvaged and re-recorded in scaled-down versions at Brian's new home studio. Along with the single version of "Good Vibrations", these tracks were released on Smiley Smile, an album which elicited positive critical and commercial response abroad, but was the first real commercial failure for the group in the United States. By this time the Beach Boys' management (Nick Grillo and David Anderle) had created the band's own record label, Brother. One of the first labels to be owned by a rock group, Brother Records was intended for releases of Beach Boys side projects, and as an invitation to new talent. The initial output of the label, however, was limited toSmiley Smile and two resulting singles from the album; the failure of "Gettin' Hungry" caused the band to shelve Brother until 1970. Compounding these setbacks, the group's public image took another hit following their withdrawal from the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.
Despite the cancellation of Smile, several tracks—including "Our Prayer", "Cabin Essence" and "Surf's Up"—continued to trickle out. Many were assembled by Carl Wilson over the next few years and included on later albums. The band was still expecting to complete and release Smile as late as 1972, before it became clear that only Brian could comprehend the endless fragments that had been recorded. The original Smile project did not surface until the 2000s, when Wilson reunited with Parks to complete its writing. Wilson then released the re-recorded Smile in 2004 as a solo album, and this was followed by the band's version in 2011.
The 1967 album Wild Honey features songs written by Wilson and Love, including the hit "Darlin'" and a rendition of Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made to Love Her". The album fared better than its predecessor in the charts, reaching number 24 in the US.
Friends, 20/20 and initial interactions with the Maharishi (1968–69)[edit source | edit]EditMain articles: Friends (The Beach Boys album) and 20/20 (The Beach Boys album)Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in 1973.
After meeting Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at a UNICEF Variety Gala in Paris, France on December 15, 1967, Love, along with other high-profile celebrities such as Donovan and the Beatles traveled to Rishikesh in India during February and March 1968. The following Beach Boys album Friends (1968) had certain songs influenced by the Transcendental Meditation taught by the Maharishi. Love had arranged for the Beach Boys to tour with the Maharishi in the US, which has been called "one of the more bizarre entertainments of the era". Starting on May 3, 1968, the tour lasted five dates and was cancelled on May 5, 1968 when the Maharishi had to withdraw to fulfill film contracts. Twenty-four tour dates were subsequently cancelled at a cost estimated at $250,000 for the band. The band's waning US popularity continued with the album's title song "Friends" becoming their least successful single since 1962, charting at number 47. The album of the same name reached number 13 in the UK and 126 in the US. This single was followed by the hard-rocking single "Do It Again", modeled off their surf-rock past but with a style more typical of the late-60's. The single went to the top of the Australian and UK single charts in 1968, but was only moderately successful in the US, peaking at number 20.
As Brian's mental health deteriorated, his song output diminished; he eventually became withdrawn and detached from the band. To fill this creative void, other members began writing and producing songs. Carl Wilson gradually assumed leadership of the band, developing into an accomplished producer. To complete their contract with Capitol, they produced one more album. 20/20 (1969) was one of the group's most diverse albums ranging from waltz-based songs like "Time to Get Alone" to its remake of the Ronettes' "I Can Hear Music" to hard rock songs such as "Do It Again", "Bluebirds Over the Mountain", and "All I Want to Do". The diversity of several songs were a sign that the group were trying to establish their identity. The album performed strongly in the UK, reaching number three on the charts. In the US, the album reached a modest 68 on the Billboard charts.
The Beach Boys reactivated their Brother label and signed with Reprise in 1969 and commenced recording two separate albums Add Some Music and Reverbration, one was to be a release for Capitol and the other for Reprise, however these projects were eventually combined to strengthen the quality of the album they submitted to Reprise. By the time the Beach Boys ended their tenure with Capitol in 1969, they had sold 65 million records worldwide, closing the decade as the most commercially successful American group in popular music.
Sunflower, Surf's Up and change in sound, label and management (1970–71)[edit source | edit]EditMain articles: Sunflower (The Beach Boys album) and Surf's Up (album)
In 1970, armed with the new Reprise contract, the band appeared rejuvenated, releasing the album Sunflower to critical acclaim. Sunflower is recognized as a complete group effort, with all band members contributing significant material, such as "Add Some Music to Your Day", Brian's "This Whole World", Dennis's "Forever" and Bruce Johnston's "Tears in the Morning". However, the band experienced their worst American chart performance ever, peaking at number 151, although the single "Cottonfields"—which appeared on European releases of Sunflower—hit the top five in the UK. Brian, who had shown signs of mental and physical recovery during this period, was devastated by the lack of success and once again slowly began to withdraw.
After Sunflower, the band hired Jack Rieley as their manager. Rieley chose a different direction for the group, emphasizing political and social awareness. The result was Surf's Up, featuring Brian's Smile centerpiece, "Surf's Up". The song was the same arrangement as Brian's 1966 version, with Carl adding vocals and overdubs. Carl's "Long Promised Road" and "Feel Flows" with lyrics by Rieley are also standouts on the record. The track "A Day in the Life of a Tree" was sung by Rieley himself. Johnston produced the classic "Disney Girls (1957)", a throwback to the easier, simpler time Johnston remembered.
Johnston ended his first stint with the band shortly after the record's release, reportedly because of friction with Rieley. The album was moderately successful, reaching the US top 30, a marked improvement over their recent releases. While the record charted, the Beach Boys added to their renewed fame by performing a near-sellout set at Carnegie Hall, followed by an appearance with the Grateful Dead at Fillmore East on April 27, 1971.
Line-up shuffle, Carl and the Passions, Holland and acclaimed live performances (1972–73)[edit source | edit]Edit
|"Marcella" from Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" (1972)MENU 0:00 "Marcella" was one of many Beach Boys singles released in this era to achieve wide critical acclaim, but little commercial momentum.----|
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The addition of Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin in February 1972 led to a dramatic restructuring in sound for the band. The album Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" was an uncharacteristic mix that included several songs written by Fataar and Chaplin. The live shows during this era included reworked arrangements of many of the band's previous songs. In April 1972, Bruce Johnston, due to reported conflict with band manager Jack Rieley, left the group (Johnston would later rejoin the band; however, he still performed as a guest musician on subsequent Beach Boy releases).
For their next project the band, their families, assorted associates and technicians moved to the Netherlands for the summer of 1972. Once there, they rented a farmhouse to convert into a makeshift studio where recording sessions for the new project would take place. By the end of their sessions, the band felt they had produced one of their strongest efforts yet. Reprise, however, felt that the album required a strong single before release. This resulted in the song "Sail On, Sailor", a collaboration between Brian Wilson, Tandyn Almer, Ray Kennedy, Jack Rieley and Van Dyke Parks featuring a soulful lead vocal by Chaplin.
Reprise subsequently approved and the resulting album, Holland, was released early in 1973, peaking at number 37 on the Billboard album chart. Brian's musical children story, "Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairy Tale)", narrated by Rieley, which was directly influenced by Randy Newman's Sail Away album, was included as a "bonus" extended play (EP).
Despite indifference from Reprise, the band's concert audience started to grow. The Beach Boys in Concert, a double album documenting the 1972 and 1973 US tours, was another top-30 charting album and became the band's first gold record under Reprise. It was during this period that the band established themselves as one of America's most popular live acts. Chaplin and Fataar helped organize the concerts to obtain a high quality live performance, playing their current material off Surf's Up, Carl and the Passions and Holland and supplementing songs from their older catalog. It was this concert arrangement which would soon send them back into American public recognition.
1974–1977: Brian Wilson's second tenure as leader of the Beach Boys[edit source | edit]Edit
Endless Summer and its implication on band dynamics (1974–75)[edit source | edit]EditMain article: Endless Summer (The Beach Boys album)
In late-1973, the soundtrack to American Grafitti, 41 Original Hits from the Soundtrack of American Graffiti, was released to mass commercial and critical success. The soundtrack included early Beach Boy songs "Surfin' Safari" and "All Summer Long" and was a catalyst in creating a wave of nostalgia that reintroduced the Beach Boys into contemporary American consciousness. In 1974, Capitol Records issued Endless Summer, the band's first major pre-Pet Sounds greatest hits package. The record sleeve's sunny, colorful graphics caught the mood of the nation and surged to the top of the Billboard album charts. It was the group's first multi-million selling record since "Good Vibrations", and remained on the album chart for three years. The following year, Capitol released another a second compilation, Spirit of America, which also sold well. With these compilations, the Beach Boys became one of the most popular acts in rock, propelling themselves from being the opening act for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to headliners selling out basketball arenas in a matter of weeks. Rolling Stone magazine named the Beach Boys the "Band of the Year" for 1974, solely on the basis of their juggernaut touring schedule and material written over a decade earlier.
Manager Jack Rieley, who remained in the Netherlands after Holland's release, was relieved of his managerial duties in late 1973. Blondie Chaplin also left the band in late 1973 after an argument with Steve Love, the band's business manager (and Mike's brother). Ricky Fataar remained until 1974, when he was offered a chance to join a new group led by future Eagles member Joe Walsh. Chaplin's replacement, James William Guercio, started offering the group career advice that resulted in his becoming their new manager. Under Guercio, the Beach Boys staged a highly successful 1975 joint concert tour with Chicago, with each group performing some of the other's songs, including their previous year's collaboration on Chicago's hit "Wishing You Were Here". Beach Boys vocals were also heard on Elton John's 1974 hit "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me".
Nostalgia had settled into the Beach Boys' hype; the group had not officially released any albums of new material since 1973's Holland. While their concerts continuously sold out, the stage act slowly changed from a contemporary presentation followed by oldies encores to an entire show made up of mostly pre-1967 music.
15 Big Ones and the "Brian's Back" campaign (1976)[edit source | edit]EditMain article: 15 Big Ones15 Big Ones included a stylized version of the Beach Boys' name by Dean Torrence which would later be used on compilations,That's Why God Made the Radio and promotion for their 50th anniversary reunion tour.
15 Big Ones (1976) marked the return of Brian Wilson as a major force in the group. The album included several new songs by Brian, as well as cover versions of oldies such as "Rock and Roll Music" (#5), "Blueberry Hill", and "In the Still of the Night". Brian and Love's "It's O.K." was in the vein of their early sixties style, and was a moderate hit. The album was publicized by an August 1976 NBC-TV special, simply titled "The Beach Boys". The special, produced by Saturday Night Live (SNL) creator Lorne Michaels, featured appearances by SNL cast members John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.
Love You, Adult/Child and the short-lived disbanding of the group (1977)[edit source | edit]EditMain article: Love You (album)Brian Wilson behind Brother Studios' mixing console in the mid-1970s.
For the remainder of 1976 to early 1977, Brian Wilson spent his time making sporadic public appearances and producing the band's next album Love You (1977), a quirky collection of 14 songs mostly written, arranged and produced by Brian. Brian revealed to biographer Peter Ames Carlin that Love You is one of his favorite Beach Boys releases, telling him "That's when it all happened for me. That's where my heart lies." Love You peaked at number 28 in the UK and number 53 in the US and has since developed a cult following; regarded as one of the band's best albums by fans and critics alike.
"A diseased bunch of motherfuckers if ever there was one…But the miracle is that the Beach Boys have made that disease sound like the literal babyflesh pink of health…Maybe it's just that unprickable and ingenuous wholesomeness that accounts not only for their charm, but for their beauty—a beauty so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons."—Lester Bangs in a review of Love You for Circus, June 9, 1977
After Love You was released, Brian began to record and assemble Adult/Child an effort largely consisting of songs written by Wilson from 1976 and 1977, with some sourced from recording sessions for Sunflower. The effort is noted for featuring a "big band" sound on a number of the tracks. These tracks were written by Wilson and arranged by Dick Reynolds.
Though publicized as the Beach Boys' next release, Adult/Child reportedly caused tension within the group and was ultimately shelved. Rumors surfaced alleging that the album's demise directly resulted in Brian's relapsed withdrawal from band activity. Following this period, his concert appearances with the band gradually diminished and his performances when attended were deemed erratic.
Despite the much-hyped "Brian's Back" campaign in the mid to late 1970s, most critics at this point would comment on how Brian Wilson could become the latest celebrity drug casualty.
The internal wrangling came to a head after a show at Central Park, New York City on September 1, 1977, when the band effectively split up into two camps; Dennis and Carl Wilson on one side, Mike Love and Al Jardine on the other with Brian remaining a neutral party. Following a confrontation on an airport's tarmac, the band broke up for a period of two and a half weeks. This was followed by a band meeting taken place on September 17, 1977 at Brian's house. In light of a new Caribou Records (CBS) contract in the balance all parties negotiated a settlement resulting in Mike Love gaining corporate control of Brian's vote in the group, meaning he along with Al could vote against Carl and Dennis Wilson on any matter.
1978–present: The Beach Boys under fluctuating control and influence[edit source | edit]Edit
Infighting and the retreat of the Wilsons (1978–1983)[edit source | edit]EditMain articles: M.I.U. Album, L.A. (Light Album), and Keepin' the Summer AliveThe Beach Boys with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, 1983
After the Brian Wilson produced album Adult/Child was deemed too uncommercial to be released, Brian relented creative control to Mike Love and Al Jardine who dictated the future direction of the band. The Beach Boys' last album for Reprise, M.I.U. Album (1978), was recorded at Maharishi International University in Iowa at the insistence of Love. Dennis and Carl made limited contributions to the project; the album was mostly produced by Jardine and Ron Altbach, with Brian appearing as "Executive Producer". M.I.U. was largely a contractual obligation to finish out their association with Reprise, who likewise did not promote the album. The record also acted as a catalyst in dividing the group between two camps. Mike Love and Al Jardine desired to focus on rock and roll orientated material while Carl and Dennis wished to resume the progressive focus they had established with the albums Carl and the Passions and Holland. This division resulted in Dennis withdrawing from the group to focus on his second solo album and follow-up to Pacific Ocean Blue entitled Bambu. However alcoholism and marital problems overcame all three Wilson brothers resulting in Dennis' Bambu being shelved, Carl appearing intoxicated during concerts (notably at appearances on their disastrous 1978 Australia tour) and Brian gradually sliding back into addiction and an unhealthy lifestyle.
After departing Reprise, the Beach Boys signed with CBS Records. They in turn received a substantial advance and were paid $1 million per album even as CBS deemed their preliminary review of the band's first product, L.A. (Light Album) as unsatisfactory. Faced with the realization Brian was in no condition to write or produce the required material, the band recruited former band member Bruce Johnston as producer. The result paid off, as "Good Timin'" became a US top 40 single. The album also featured outstanding performances by both Dennis (cuts intended for his second solo effort Bambu) and Carl ("Full Sail"). The group also enjoyed moderate success with a disco reworking of the Wild Honey song "Here Comes the Night".
1980 saw the release of Keepin' the Summer Alive, with Johnston once again producing. Carl Wilson would be the only Wilson brother who made any sort of imprint on the finished product. Brian managed to contribute several ideas, as seen in the Going Platinum television special documenting the album's release, but was otherwise persona non grata. Dennis Wilson's ongoing personal problems resulted in him not being featured in either the special or album, though his drumming is heard on the cover version of Chuck Berry's "School Days".
From 1980 through 1982, the Beach Boys and The Grass Roots performed Independence Day concerts at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., attracting large crowds. However, in April 1983, James G. Watt, President Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, banned Independence Day concerts on the Mall by such groups. Watt said that "rock bands" that had performed on the Mall on Independence Day in 1981 and 1982 had encouraged drug use and alcoholism and had attracted "the wrong element", who would mug people and families attending any similar events in the future. During the ensuing uproar, which included over 40,000 complaints to the Department of the Interior, the Beach Boys stated that the Soviet Union, which had invited them to perform in Leningrad in 1978, "obviously .... did not feel that the group attracted the wrong element". Vice President George H. W. Bush said of the Beach Boys, "They're my friends and I like their music". Watt later apologized to the band after learning that President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan were fans of the band. White House staff presented Watt with a plaster foot with a hole in it, symbolizing his having shot himself in the foot with his decision. The band returned to D.C. for Independence Day in 1984 and performed to a crowd of 750,000 people.
Dennis Wilson's personal problems, however, had continued to escalate. On December 28, 1983, he drowned in the Marina del Rey while diving from a friend's boat trying to recover items he had previously thrown overboard in fits of rage. Despite his death, the Beach Boys continued as a successful touring act.
Soundtrack appearances, "Kokomo" and reliance on nostalgia (1984–1998)[edit source | edit]EditMain articles: The Beach Boys (album), Still Cruisin', Kokomo (song), Summer in Paradise, and Stars and Stripes Vol. 1
On July 4, 1985, the Beach Boys played to an afternoon crowd of one million in Philadelphia and the same evening they performed for over 750,000 people on the Mall in Washington (the day's historic achievement was recorded in theGuinness Book of World Records). They also appeared nine days later at the Live Aid concert. That year, they released the eponymous album The Beach Boys and enjoyed a resurgence of interest later in the 1980s, assisted by tributes such as David Lee Roth's hit version of "California Girls". In 1987, they played with the rap group The Fat Boys, performing the song "Wipe Out" and filming a video for it.
By 1988, Brian Wilson had officially left the Beach Boys and released his first solo album, which received critical acclaim. It was during this period that the band unexpectedly claimed their first US number one hit single in 22 years with "Kokomo", which had appeared in the movie Cocktail. Written by John Phillips, Scott McKenzie, Mike Love, and Terry Melcher, the song managed to become the band's largest selling single of all time. The video for the song received heavy airplay on the music video channel VH1, and prominently featured actor John Stamos on the bongos. Having been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier in the year, the group became the second artist after Aretha Franklin to hit number one in the US after their induction. Riding high on the runaway success of "Kokomo", the Beach Boys released the album Still Cruisin', which went gold in the US and gave them their best chart showing since 1976.
In 1989, Wilson filed a lawsuit to reclaim the rights to his songs and the group's publishing company, Sea of Tunes, which he had supposedly signed away to his father Murry in 1969. He successfully argued that he had not been mentally fit to make an informed decision and that his father had potentially forged his signature. While Wilson failed to regain his copyrights, he was awarded $25 million for unpaid royalties. Soon after Wilson won his "Sea of Tunes" case, Love discovered Murry Wilson did not properly credit him as co-writer on dozens of Beach Boys songs. With Love and Brian Wilson unable to determine exactly what Love was properly owed, Love sued Wilson in 1992 to gain credit for his co-authorship of a number of important Beach Boys songs, winning $13 million in 1994 for lost royalties. In interviews, Love revealed that on some songs he wrote most of the lyrics, on others only a line or two. Even though Love sued Wilson, both parties said in interviews that there was no malice between them; they simply couldn't come up with an agreeable settlement by themselves.
In 1990, the band gathered several studio musicians and recorded the Melcher-produced title track of the comedy Problem Child. Stamos again appeared in video, and later appeared singing lead vocals on "Forever" (written by Dennis Wilson for the Sunflower album) on their 1992 album Summer in Paradise. Having no new contributions from Brian Wilson whatsoever due to interference from caretaker Eugene Landy, Summer in Paradise was poorly regarded by both critics and fans, and would become their last album of original material for two decades. Members of the band appeared on several television shows such as Full House, Home Improvement, and Baywatch in the late 1980s and 1990s. In 1993, the band appeared in Michael Feeney Callan's film The Beach Boys Today, which included in-depth interviews with all members except Brian Wilson. Carl Wilson confided to Callan that Brian would record again with the band at some point in the near future, though sessions from this era involving Brian and The Beach Boys were never released. In February 1996, the Beach Boys guested with Status Quo on a re-recording of "Fun, Fun, Fun", which was a British Top-30 hit.
In June, the group worked with comedian Jeff Foxworthy on the recording "Howdy From Maui", and ultimately released Stars and Stripes Vol. 1 in August 1996. The album consisted of country renditions of several Beach Boys hits, performed by popular country artists such as Toby Keith and Willie Nelson. Brian Wilson, who was in a better mental state at the time, rejoined the group and acted as co-producer.
In early 1997, Carl Wilson was diagnosed with lung cancer after years of heavy smoking. Despite his terminal condition, Carl soldiered on throughout the band's 1997 summer tour while undergoing chemotherapy. During performances, he sat on a stool and reportedly needed oxygen after every song. Carl managed to stand, however, when featuring his signature vocal on "God Only Knows". By 1998 the cancer had spread to his brain. Carl Wilson died on February 6, 1998, just two months after the death of the Wilsons' mother, Audree.
Splintering of the Beach Boys’ name and the relationships of the members (1999–2010)[edit source | edit]EditThe touring line-up of Mike Love and Bruce Johnston's "The Beach Boys Band", plus guest member David Marks, in 2008
Following Carl Wilson's death, the remaining members splintered. Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and David Marks continued to tour without Jardine, initially as "America's Band", but following several cancelled bookings under that name, they sought authorization through Brother Records Inc. (BRI) to tour as "The Beach Boys" and were successful in securing the license. In turn Jardine began to tour regularly with his band dubbed "Beach Boys: Family & Friends" until he ran into legal issues for using the Beach Boys name without holding a BRI-approved license. Relieved from Landy's hold, Brian Wilson sought different treatments for his illnesses which aided him in continuing his solo career that saw him tour regularly with his backing band consisting of members of Wondermints and other LA/Chicago musicians. David Marks also maintained a quiet but steady solo career. Each of their tours remained reliable draws, with Wilson and Jardine both remaining legal members of the Beach Boys organization.
In September 2004, Brian Wilson issued a free CD through the Mail On Sunday that included Beach Boys songs he'd rerecorded, five of which he'd co-authored with Mike Love. The 10 track compilation had 2.6 million copies distributed and prompted Love to file a lawsuit claiming the promotion hurt the sales of the original recordings. Love's suit was dismissed in 2007 when a judge determined that there were no triable issues of material fact.
On June 13, 2006, the five surviving Beach Boys (Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks) appeared together for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Pet Sounds and the double-platinum certification of their greatest hits compilation, Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of The Beach Boys, in a ceremony atop the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. Plaques were awarded for their efforts, with Brian Wilson accepting on behalf of Dennis and Carl.
The Smile Sessions, 50th anniversary reunion tour and That's Why God Made the Radio (2011–2012)[edit source | edit]EditMain articles: The Smile Sessions, The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour, and That's Why God Made the RadioThe cover for The Smile Sessions uses the artwork Frank Holmes prepared in December 1966 for Smile.
Toward the end of 2011, the Beach Boys with the participation of Brian Wilson finally released the unfinished Smile album in the form of The Smile Sessions. The album - even in its incomplete form - garnered universal critical acclaim and experienced almost immediate popular success, charting in both the Billboard US & UK Top 30. The artwork and packaging featured the original Frank Holmes illustrations and included the photo/illustration booklet insert that was intended for the 1967 original release. The format of the recordings utilized Wilson's 2004 Brian Wilson Presents Smile solo effort as a template. The band was rewarded with glowing reviews including inclusion to Rolling Stone's Top 500 album list at number 381. The Smile Sessions deluxe album package went on to win Best Historical Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Brian Wilson personally accepted the award stating "I guess Van Dyke and I were on to something after all."
In a 500 set limited edition, the The Smile Sessions came in a box set with a lit-up shop front window. Each of these box sets came with Brian Wilson's signature on the box.
In February 2011, the Beach Boys released "Don't Fight the Sea", a charity single to aid the victims of the 2011 Japan earthquake. The single, released on Jardine's 2011 album A Postcard From California featured Jardine, Wilson, Love, Johnston, and prerecorded vocals by Carl Wilson. Rumors then circulated regarding a potential 50th anniversary band reunion. Despite some uncertainty and limited public comment, on December 16, 2011, it was announced that Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks would reunite for a new album and 50th anniversary tour in 2012 that would include a performance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in April 2012.
On February 12, 2012, the Beach Boys performed at the 2012 Grammy Awards, in what was billed as a "special performance" by organizers. It marked the group's first live performance to include Brian since 1996. This anniversary band lineup performed "Good Vibrations" with Adam Levine and Mark Foster, after Maroon 5 opened the set with "Surfer Girl" and Foster the People played "Wouldn't It Be Nice" during the ceremony. On February 16, 2012, dates for their tour were announced, which includes shows in the US, Canada, Asia, and Europe. Johnston responded to claims by some in the media that the group lip-synched their performance at the Grammy Awards, which the group strongly denies. Johnston also said "I never hoped for [a reunion], because I never thought any of us wanted to do it. We have probably, you know, the presidential honeymoon of six months but then we have to show something to keep it going. We have to make sure we have a great flowing song list but also make sure we don't sound like a greatest-hits band. We have a lot to balance."
The Beach Boys appeared at the April 10, 2012, season opener for the Los Angeles Dodgers and performed "Surfer Girl" along with "The Star-Spangled Banner". They also performed at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee with the line up of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks on June 14, 2012.
Wilson and Love discussed the upcoming album and tour in an interview on February 16, 2012. When asked if the two were friends now after the lawsuits, Wilson responded "[it was] just a lawsuit", and Love stated it was all in the distant past. Johnston compared the sound of the new album to one of the band's least-successful albums but fan favorite Sunflower, while Al Jardine said the album is "very lush, very PetSound-ing". The first single from the album, the title track, made its national radio debut April 25, 2012, on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning and was released on iTunes and other digital platforms on April 26.
That's Why God Made the Radio made its debut at number three on the US charts giving the group highest charting album in 37 years—since 1974's compilation Endless Summer and highest charting studio album since 1965's Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!). It also became the band's first top ten studio album since 1976's 15 Big Ones. The album made its debut in the UK charts at number 15 giving the group their highest studio album debut since 1971's Surf's Up. The album also made US chart history by breaking a record by expanding the group's span of Billboard 200 top ten albums to 49 years and one week passing the Beatles with 47 years of top ten albums. Frank Sinatra holds the record with 52 years while the Rolling Stones are fourth with 45 years.
Later in 2012, the group released the Fifty Big Ones and Greatest Hits compilations along with reissues of 12 of their albums. The next year, the group released Live – The 50th Anniversary Tour a 41 song, 2-CD set documenting their50th Anniversary Tour. On August 27, 2013 the group will release Made in California, a six disc collection will feature more than seven and a half hours of music, including more than 60 previously unreleased tracks. Made in Californiawill also conclude the Beach Boys' 50th anniversary campaign. Also in 2013, Former members of the Beach Boys touring band, Bobby Figueroa, Billy Hinsche, Ed Carter, Matt Jardine and Philip Bardowell (sometimes with Randell Kirsch and others) united to form California Surf, Incorporated performing songs of the Beach Boys.
Breakup controversy and return to solo careers (2012–present)[edit source | edit]Edit
While there were no definite plans to do so, Brian Wilson stated that he would like to make another Beach Boys album following the world tour. "This time I would like to do some rock n' roll," Wilson says. "I would like it to be a bit harder and faster." In late June 2012, Mike Love confirmed the Beach Boys would be playing some dates in South America in October 2012 although the lineup would feature only himself and Bruce Johnston and include a different backing band than the current one. Love said that these shows will not be part of the concert series of the reunion tour. Wilson quickly responded that he had no idea Love planned these tour dates. He also stated that he would love to do more touring with the band once the dates are finished, along with recording more music. A month later in July 2012, Love further spoke about the group's future by saying "There's talk of us going and doing a return to the Grammys next year, and there's talk about doing another album together. There's nothing in stone, but there's a lot of ideas being floated around. So after this year, after completing the 50th anniversary reunion, we'll entertain doing some more studio work and see what we can come up with and can do in the future." Love said that Wilson and producer Joe Thomas had over 80 hours of music recorded much of it culled from material they were working on around the time of Wilson's 1998 Your Imagination album that "were always songs he had earmarked for the Beach Boys." He further added that the label is stoked about what is happening and are pushing for more music and more tour dates.
On October 5, 2012, Love announced in a self-written press release to the LA Times that the band would return to its pre-50th Reunion Tour lineup with him and Johnston touring as The Beach Boys without Wilson, Jardine and Marks:
|“||Let me get right to it: I did not fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I cannot fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I am not his employer. I do not have such authority. And even if I did, I would never fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys.…This tour was always envisioned as a limited run. None of us wanted to do a 50th anniversary tour that lasted 10 years. It was meant to be special.…Brian, Al and I signed an agreement outlining the beginning and end of the tour.…As the year went on, Brian and Al wanted to keep the 50th anniversary tour going beyond the 75 dates. Like any good party, no one wanted it to end. However, that was impossible, given that we had already set up shows in smaller cities with a different configuration of the band -- the configuration that had been touring together every year for the last 13 years. Brian and Al would not be joining for these small market dates, as was long agreed upon. It is not feasible, both logistically and economically, for the 50th anniversary tour to play these markets.…This approach is not new for our band.…The name "The Beach Boys" is controlled by Brother Records Inc., which was founded by the original members of the Beach Boys and whose sole shareholders voted over a decade ago to grant me an exclusive license to tour as "The Beach Boys." With it, I’ve felt a great responsibility to uphold, honor and further our legacy.||”|
Brian Wilson remained optimistic about recording new material with the band. "I wouldn't mind getting together with Mike [Love] and the guys and making an exciting rock & roll album…I'm sure by early next year we'll be ready to rock." On October 9, 2012, Wilson and Jardine submitted a written response to the rumors saying:
|“||As far as I know I can't be fired--that wouldn't be cool.…What's confusing is that by Mike not wanting or letting Al, David and me tour with the band, it sort of feels like we're being fired.…After Mike booked a couple of shows with Bruce, Al and I were, of course, disappointed. Then there was confusion in some markets when photos of me, Al and David and the 50th reunion band appeared on websites advertising his shows. At that point my attorney merely suggested to Mike's attorney that a possible press release in those markets might be appropriate to stop the confusion, which was in no one's best interest.…I was completely blindsided by his press release. I had no idea that it was coming out, since it was crafted by Mike's personal PR firm without my knowledge or approval. No one in my camp would have approved it or the timing.…The first I heard about it was at the Grammy Museum event. We hadn't even discussed as a band what we were going to do with all the offers that were coming in for more 50th shows.||”|
Despite all of Wilson's and Jardine's claims it appears that no further events featuring the 50th lineup will occur. On December 13, 2012, Wilson and Jardine played a Christmas show at which they performed the Beach Boys Christmas songs, "Little Saint Nick" and "Christmas Day". Following this appearance, on January 23, 2013, Wilson announced a concert date featuring himself, Jardine and Marks. It has been speculated that the date announced will be followed by more dates as Wilson has said he will be spending the summer with Jardine and Marks. Love and Johnston have continued to book dates in 2013 under the Beach Boys name, to which Love holds an exclusive license, while Wilson, Jardine, and Marks continue to tour together as a trio.
Reflecting upon the band's recent reunion in 2013, Mike Love stated: "I had a wonderful experience being in the studio together. Brian has lost none of his ability to structure those melodies and chord progressions, and when we heard us singing together coming back over the speakers it sounded like 1965 again. Touring was more for the fans.…It was a great experience, it had a term to it, and now everyone's going on with their ways of doing things." In a July 8, 2013 interview, Mike Love continued by discussing the potential of another reunion, saying "I don’t know how that sacking controversy started.…The anniversary tour was originally 50 dates, and got extended to 73. At that point, Brian said: ‘No more dates for us, please.’ So once we finished those 73 shows we went back to the line-up of the band before he rejoined.…I’d very much like to get in a room, just him and I, to write more songs.…We didn’t write together on last year’s album, and I’d like to do that more than anything."
Legacy[edit source | edit]EditThe Beach Boys' star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 1500 Vine Street
Regarded by some as the greatest American rock group and an important catalyst in the evolution of popular music, the Beach Boys are one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful bands of all time. Influenced by barbershop music and rhythm and blues, the Beach Boys launched their career in the early 1960s playing 1950s style rock and roll married to five part harmony. The band later went on to incorporate many different genres in their music, from baroque pop to psychedelia and synth pop. The Beach Boys have sold estimates of 100 million to 350 million records worldwide and have influenced a number of different artists spanning across a mix of genres and decades. Noted artists influenced by the Beach Boys includethe Beatles, George Martin, Pink Floyd, Cream, the Who, Elton John, ABBA, Bruce Springsteen, the Ramones, Sonic Youth, Beck, R.E.M., Weezer, Neutral Milk Hotel, Radiohead, of Montreal, the Olivia Tremor Control, the Flaming Lips, My Bloody Valentine, Daft Punk, Air, Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Saint Etienne, Pixies, MGMT, and Animal Collective.
The Beach Boys Today! (1965), Smiley Smile (1967), Sunflower (1970), Surf's Up (1971), Holland (1973) and The Smile Sessions (2011) have featured in several "greatest albums of all time" related lists with the group's 1966 releases—Pet Sounds and "Good Vibrations"—frequently ranking among the top of critics' lists of the greatest albums and singles of all time. Pet Sounds is on the greatest-albums lists Time, Rolling Stone, New Musical Express, Mojo, and The Times. The record made a profound influence on the Beach Boys' contemporaries; Paul McCartneynamed it one of his favorite albums of all time (with "God Only Knows" as his all-time favorite song). McCartney has frequently said that it was the inspiration behind the seminal Beatles' album,Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Echoing this sentiment, Beatles producer George Martin is quoted saying, "Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds."
In 1966 and 1967 readers polls conducted by UK magazine NME, the Beach Boys were crowned as the world's number one vocal group ahead of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. 1974 saw the Beach Boys awarded "Band of the Year" by Rolling Stone. On December 30, 1980 the Beach Boys were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 1500 Vine Street. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and ten years later were selected for the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. In 2001, the group received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Brian Wilson was inducted into the UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November 2006. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked the Beach Boys number 12 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. During the 2011 Yale Master’s Tea, guest lecturer and music CEO Jeff Pollack described the Beach Boys as being “one of the most influential and underrated bands of all time, with a vocal style and harmonies that were unmatched by any other band, then or now”.
The Wilsons' California house, where the Wilson brothers grew up and the group began, was demolished in 1986 to make way for Interstate 105, the Century Freeway. A Beach Boys Historic Landmark (California Landmark No. 1041 at 3701 West 119th Street), dedicated on May 20, 2005, marks the location.
Discography[edit source | edit]Edit
- Surfin' U.S.A. (1963)
- Surfer Girl (1963)
- Little Deuce Coupe (1963)
- Shut Down Volume 2 (1964)
- All Summer Long (1964)
- The Beach Boys' Christmas Album (1964)
- The Beach Boys Today! (1965)
- Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) (1965)
- Beach Boys' Party! (1965)
- Pet Sounds (1966)
- Smiley Smile (1967)
- Wild Honey (1967)
- Friends (1968)
- 20/20 (1969)
- Sunflower (1970)
- Surf's Up (1971)
- Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" (1972)
- Holland (1973)
- 15 Big Ones (1976)
- Love You (1977)
- M.I.U. Album (1978)
- L.A. (Light Album) (1979)
- Keepin' the Summer Alive (1980)
- The Beach Boys (1985)
- Still Cruisin' (1989)
- Summer in Paradise (1992)
- Stars and Stripes Vol. 1 (1996)
- That's Why God Made the Radio (2012)