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2012 Artists In Review: The Beach Boys

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(provided photo/Guy Webster)

(provided photo/Guy Webster)

As 2012 comes to a close, we’re revisiting the year’s biggest stories through the lens of some of our station’s biggest artists.

Status: Reunited… sort of

New Albums Released: One (That’s Why God Made The Radio), plus too many reissues and compilations to count

The Drama: One of the biggest music dramas of the year comes from one of music’s most historically dramatic bands. It was all smiles and harmonies at the GRAMMYs back in February, where the Beach Boys kick-started their 50th anniversary reunion extravaganza with a tribute from (of all the young bands) Foster The People and Maroon 5. The reunion tour got underway in April, but by September, the romance had gone bad… yet again.

Because Mike Love exclusively licenses the band’s name, he scheduled October tour dates for his incarnation of “the Beach Boys” for after the reunion tour was set to wrap in September. His argument was that the reunion was designed with a beginning and an end in mind. But Brian Wilson and co. did not see it that way, with Wilson saying he was “disappointed” and “can’t understand why he [Love] doesn’t want to tour with Al, David and [him].” Thus came the claims that Love essentially fired Brian Wilson, the musical genius whose presence gives the band’s 50th anniversary reunion its real validity. There was even an Al Jardine-endorsed petition to fight back against Love.

In an attempt to spread good vibrations, Love wrote a lengthy (and we mean lengthy) letter to the Los Angeles Times to say he “did not fire Brian Wilson” because he “cannot fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys” (also, because he loves him and all that sentimental jazz). Still, the tour ended in London at the end of September.

The Good Stuff: The mid-sized but lengthy reunion tour was a legitimate success, and the Beach Boys scored their biggest chart debut of all-time in June with new album That’s Why God Made The Radio. Wilson described his shock over the chart feat in an interview with us earlier this year: “When we heard that, we flipped! We flipped! We flipped out of our godd*** heads! I couldn’t believe it – No. 3 out of nowhere, out of 200 albums [on the Billboard 200 chart]. I said guys, ‘We lucked out with a No. 3 album.’ They all flipped!”

The album’s success left Wilson wanting more. There was talk of another tour, and most definitely another album. Wilson even described the Beach Boys’ next album to us: “We’d like to capture the Phil Spector rock’n’roll beat. Get that rock’n’roll going, you know?”

However, it seems that second album and world tour will never be. At least we had the summer.

Related Features: Is Beach Boy Mike Love Music’s Biggest Villain?
Q&A: Brian Wilson On Beach Boys Tour & Next Album, Possible Frank Sinatra Tribute
From Beach Boys to Queen, 5 Bands With Too Many Greatest Hits Compilations
Classic Rock’s 5 Most Surprising Reconciliations
Meet California Saga, New Band Comprised of Beach Boys’ Kids

- Jillian Mapes, CBS Local

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