The Beach Boys at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles for a new exhibition on the band. From left, museum executive director Robert Santelli, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Brian Wilson, David Marks, Al Jardine, and EMI Music North America Catalog senior VPs Bill Gagnon and Jane Ventom. (Photo: Becky Sapp)
The Beach Boys gathered at the Grammy Museum Sept. 18 to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a platinum award presentation, a museum fund-raising meet-and-greet with donors and an acoustic performance that followed a half-hour Q&A.
But the undercurrent in the area where the museum has housed the exhibit "Good Vibrations: 50 Years of the Beach Boys" concerned the future of the band in the wake of lead singer Mike Love announcing a day earlier he was jettisoning Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks to resume touring as the Beach Boys with bandmate Bruce Johnston and his regular band. Two shows in London - Sept. 27 at Royall Albert Hall and Sept. 28 at Wembley Arena - will apparently wrap up the reunion.
The band members kept the focus on the tour, their history and the exhibit, but members of the musicians' camps found the timing of Love's announcement, at the very least, curious. Several people close to the Beach Boys said they could have easily added another dozen dates in the U.K. In addition, Wilson has continued writing for a follow-up album to "That's Why God Made the Radio" and has four songs in the vein of the album's suite of "Strange World"/"From There to Back Again"/"Pacific Coast Highway."
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The only thing certain about future releases from the reunited Beach Boys is a live album that Capitol will release in 2013.
In his press release issued on Sept. 17, Love said the 50th anniversary tour "was designed to be a set tour with a beginning and an end to mark a special 50-year milestone for the band." The tour did a lot to restore the band's image, which has been pockmarked by decades of legal squabbles and infighting over the band's direction.
"There was improved credibility from the tour," says Bill Gagnon, senior VP and general manager, Catalog, EMI Music North America, noting the tour was a major media event throughout the country. "It was a major story when the band came to market and a major story when they left the market."
Wilson made known his desire for the band's future in no uncertain terms: "I wouldn't mind getting together and recording an exciting rock 'n' roll album. By early next year, we'll be ready to rock." Jardine added: "Why stop now?," a question that apparently only Love can answer.
The Beach Boys were all smiles during the presentation of a triple-platinum plaque for "Sounds of Summer: Very Best of the Beach Boys." Donors to the museum were given an opportunity to take their pictures with the band in front of an exhibit that included one of Dennis Wilson's surfboards - a Hermosa model similar the one used on the covers of "Surfin' Safari" and "Surfer Girl" - concert posters from and clothing from tours of the '60s plus an essay Wilson wrote while in high school titled "My Philosophy. "I don't want to settle with a mediocre life, but make a name for myself in my life's work, which I hope will be music," Wilson wrote in October 1959.
Grammy Museum executive director Bob Santelli curated the exhibit "to tell the story as a fan and a museum director," noting he first saw the band as a 10-year-old at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park, N.J. The one thing he hoped to find while going through Wilson and Love's archives was Brian's white Fender bass. The problem? Even Wilson does not know where it is.
In their acoustic set after the Q&A in front of an SRO crowd that included Monkee Mickey Dolenz, fabled L.A. disk jockey Rodney Bingenheimer, lyricist Joe Thomas and Beach Boys' family members, they performed five songs that will appear on both of the next Beach Boys compilations - "50th Anniversary Greatest Hits" and the two-CD "Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones." The two collections will be released Oct. 9.
On Oct. 9, 12 remastered studio albums will be released with mono and stereo mixes. "It's really for the collectors market," EMI Music North America senior VP, catalogue, Jane Ventom told Billboard.
Beach Boys titles had previously been released as two-fer "that were driven by physical retail," Gagnon said "We had them out digitally but it didn't make sense so we're reissuing each album at $7.99."