The Beach Boys
America's Most Iconic Band's Mike Love Still Having Fun, Fun, Fun After Five Decades
As one of the most iconic pop-rock bands of the '60s, the Beach Boys' vocal harmonies are among the most unmistakable, innovative and enduring in the history of rock and roll. They were the only group able to challenge the Beatles' success in terms of their overall impact on the Top 40. The Beach Boys had over 80 songs chart worldwide, including 36 U.S. Top 40 hits, which is the most by any American rock band. Four songs reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The GRAMMY Award-winning group is one of the world's best-selling bands of all time, with worldwide sales exceeding 100 million records. Rolling Stone magazine listed them as the 12th greatest artist of all time in 2004. The California quintet's original lineup ー consisting of the Wilson brothers, Brian, Dennis and Carl, as well as their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine ー was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. The group's lineup has changed over the years and two of the Wilson brothers have passed away, but in 2012, for the band's 50th anniversary, all of the surviving members briefly reunited for a new studio album and world tour. The Beach Boys are no strangers to Japan, having first performed in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto and Fukuoka in 1966. A look at the back cover of their 1966 album, Pet Sounds, reveals photos of the group in Kyoto, outfitted in traditional samurai costumes. Half a century later, the current lineup of the Beach Boys not only returned to perform six concerts at the new venue, Billboard Live Tokyo, but they also performed for the first time ever in Seoul, South Korea. Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie talked to original member, singer, songwriter and activist, Mike Love, about the band's legendary career, his love for transcendental meditation and his fondness for Japan.
TJ: How did the Beach Boys originally get its name?
LOVE: Our first song that we ever recorded was called “Surfin’” as a result of the popularity of that sport in Southern California, where we grew up. We were calling ourselves The Pendletones — the reason being that the surfers at that time would wear a Pendleton Mills woolen plaid shirt. In fact, we wore those shirts on our first album cover, which was photographed at Paradise Cove in Malibu. We didn’t know what to call ourselves, but then a record promoter named Russ Regan said, “Well, what about the Beach Boys?” And we thought, “Wow, that sounds pretty good.” So Russ Regan, this record promoter, who went on to become the president of various record companies later in his career, was the one that gave us that name.
TJ: Is it true that you haven’t had a summer off in at least 50 years?
LOVE: That’s pretty true. There have been times when we’ve toured more than other times. Like, for instance, last year, in 2015, we did 175 performances in 170 different places. So, we were very busy last year. In fact ... that’s the most concerts we’ve ever done in one year.
The complete article can be found in Issue #278 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.