Mike Love is suing his cousin and former Beach Boys bandmate Brian Wilson, but Love’s lawyer hopes the lawsuit won’t mar their good vibrations.
Love filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court yesterday (Nov. 3) accusing Wilson of promoting his 2004 album, “Smile,” in a manner that “shamelessly misappropriated Mike Love’s songs, likeness and the Beach Boys trademark, as well as the ‘Smile’ album itself.”
Love’s lawyer says it’s nothing personal. “Mike has a lot of affection for Brian and they have a good relationship and cordial relations,” said Phil Stillman, who has represented Love since 1992. “There’s obviously some problem with the way Brian’s [associates] have promoted the albums.”
Stillman added, “They remain family and the co-founders of a very important band in rock’n’roll history.”
The Beach Boys never completed “Smile” in the mid 1960s, and it was regarded as a lost classic until Wilson opted to finish it himself in 2004. The album earned international acclaim and marked a dramatic return for the 63-year-old singer-songwriter, who had avoided performing the “Smile” material for decades.
Love objected to a promotion in which 2.6 million copies of a Beach Boys compilation CD were given away to readers of Britain’s The Daily Mail on Sunday newspaper. The lawsuit said the giveaway undercut the band’s sales.
The lawsuit seeks damages, including “millions of dollars in illicit profits,” and seeks at least $1 million for international advertising “to correct the effects of … unfair competition and infringing uses.” A lawyer for Wilson didn’t return a call for comment.
Love formed the group in Hawthorne, Calif., in 1961 with Wilson, Wilson’s brothers Carl and Dennis, and Wilson’s friend Al Jardine. Wilson’s brothers have died, and he split acrimoniously with Love and Jardine years ago. Love now has the exclusive legal right to tour under the Beach Boys name.
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