The process that led to the Beach Boys' reunion began in 2011, according to Joe Thomas, a PBS "Soundstage" producer who has collaborated with Brian Wilson, after several years of outreach between the parties and missives delivered through the media.

The group's original members came together for an event atop the Capitol Records Tower in June 2006 to receive a double-platinum award for the 2003 hits compilation "Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys." On that occasion, Mike Love recalls, the first song the group sang together was "Do It Again."

Thomas recalls that he and Wilson uncovered some songs they worked on while making Wilson's 1998 solo album, "Imagination," that he says "were always songs [Brian] had earmarked for the Beach Boys"-including an early rendition of "That's Why God Made the Radio." Carl Wilson even sang on some of the early demos of those songs, Thomas reports.

But realizing "there really couldn't be a Beach Boys album without Mike's collaboration," Thomas and Wilson took the songs to Love in the spring of 2011 to ascertain his interest.

Love hopped onboard in a hurry, and Thomas says, "We got those guys in the studio, and it was 1965 all over again."

Meanwhile, Thomas and Wilson had also recorded piano-and-vocal demos of six of the songs sung by Jeff Foskett from Wilson's band, who's also part of the Beach Boys' reunion ensemble. They took those to Capitol/EMI, and "they flipped. They were like 'We want to sign you' right away," Thomas recalls. "So the fact that Brian had songs that were relevant and that we had a record company willing to sign him and showing the enthusiasm he needed, and that he had a willing partner in Mike . . . everything just started falling into place."