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Beach Boys Contemplate Reunion as 50th Anniversary Approaches

Longstanding tensions among band members seem to be cooling off

May 23, 2011 8:30 AM ET
Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine, Mike Love and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys receive Double-Platinum awards for their album "Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of The Beach Boys" on the roof of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, 2006.
Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine, Mike Love and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys receive Double-Platinum awards for their album "Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of The Beach Boys" on the roof of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, 2006.
Lester Cohen/WireImage

Earlier this month, Brian Wilson said he was open to the possibility of a Beach Boys reunion to commemorate the group's 50th anniversary. "I'm considering it," he told the BBC. "I don't know yet, but I am considering it. Nothing's really holding me back. I just don't know if I want to be around those guys, you know? They're zany guys. They're crazy."

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When Rolling Stone spoke to Al Jardine in the summer of 2010, he said that at least one reunion show with surviving members Mike Love, Brian Johnston, Brian Wilson and himself was in the cards. "We're definitely doing at least one show – you heard it first," he said. "I don't know where it'll be yet. but it'll probably free. Golden Gate Park was mentioned, as was the [National] Mall in D.C."

Jardine had a lot less to say over the weekend. "Nothing to report…" he responded via email when asked about the status of the reunion. Brian Wilson's manager Jean Sievers had slightly more to add. "As of right now they don't know what they are going to do to celebrate the 50th next year," she told Rolling Stone by email. "No plans have been set." Elliott Lott, the manager of Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, said much the same thing. "'No plans have been set' is an accurate statement," he wrote in an email.

Beach Boys To Officially Release Long-Incomplete Album 'Smile' This Year

The Beach Boys 50th anniversary is this summer, but rock anniversaries are often fudged for the purposes of promoting tours. They could easily say that next year is their 50th anniversary because their debut LP  Surfin' Safari didn't come out until 1962. Given the busy tour schedules of Brian Wilson and the current incarnation of the Beach Boys this year, 2012 seems more likely anyway – and Sievers did point to next year as their 50th anniversary. 

The Beach Boys have had inter-band tensions since their earliest days. In 1998, shortly after Carl Wilson died, the long-simmering animosity boiled over and Jardine left the band. Around that time, Wilson began touring as a solo act – leaving Mike Love as the sole member of the band touring under the the Beach Boys moniker. In the past decade Love has filed separate lawsuits against Jardine and Brian Wilson, leaving fans with the impression that any reunion was impossible. 

Video: Behind The Scenes at Brian Wilson's New York Concert

Things have cooled down a bit in recent years. In the summer of 2006, Jardine, Wilson, Love, Johnston and early 1960s guitarist David Marks posed for pictures on the rooftop of Capital Records to celebrate their hits compilation going double platinum. Jardine toured briefly with Wilson that same year, and just this past February Jardine played with Love's Beach Boys at the Concert For America: A Tribute To Ronald Reagan. (Watch video from the show below). Whether or not they're able to put aside their issues for a full tour remains to be seen. The fact that Wilson's manager didn't flat-out deny it (and made a point say that next year is their actual anniversary) certainly should make fans hopeful.

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