The Beach Boys reunion is over. It was announced earlier this week that Al Jardine, David Marks, and Brian Wilson were all fired by fellow Beach Boy Mike Love, who owns the rights to the group’s name. The band, considered by many to be one of the finest American groups ever, will play its final show together in London to wrap up the 50th anniversary tour, according to Spin magazine.
Hostility between Love and his cousin Wilson dates all the way back to the 1960s, as the band was recording their “Pet Sounds” masterpiece. Love was against Wilson writing orchestral arrangements with psychedelic lyrics, instead favoring the streamlined pop music of the band’s early releases. Wilson left the band after suffering a mental breakdown while trying to write “Smile,” the follow-up to “Pet Sounds.”
Those old feelings came to a head on Sunday at the unveiling of the Beach Boys exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. CNN reports that Love shocked his band mates with the news.
“The post-50th anniversary configuration will not include Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks,” Love and fellow remaining member Bruce Johnston wrote in a statement. “The 50th Reunion Tour was designed to be a set tour with a beginning and an end to mark a special 50-year-milestone for the band.
“You’ve got to be careful not to get overexposed. There are promoters who are interested [in the original lineup], but they’ve said, ‘Give it a rest for a year,’" Love says. "The Eagles found out the hard way when they went out for a second year and wound up selling tickets for $5.”
Love is able to fire most of the band – despite Wilson being regarded as the band’s creative force – because he won legal ownership of the name after a series of messy lawsuits following the death of fellow original member Carl Wilson in 1998. Love spent time touring under the Beach Boys name with Bruce Johnston and a group of replacement musicians.
The rationale Love provided for the most recent breakup is seen by some as simple math. Profits increase when divided among two band members instead of five. Wilson was less than please with his old adversary’s decision.
“I’m disappointed and can’t understand why [Love] doesn’t want to tour with Al, David and me,” Wilson told CNN. “We are out here having so much fun. After all, we are the real Beach Boys.”
Jardine posted a petition for fans to sign, aimed at keeping the popular group together. It was addressed to Love.
“In order to preserve the validity of the Beach Boys as a whole, and not as a ‘money saving, stripped down version’ that only contains 1 original member, and 1 member that joined in 1965, we ask you to re-instate the 3 other members to the touring group for your final years performing. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s what the fans want!”
The band released "That's Why God Made The Radio" in 2012. It was their first album as a cohesive unit since the 1980s.