Beach Boys From 1961 To Present

The Beach Boys in their early days with Dennis Wilson on the far left on the drums, Al Jardine, Carl Wilson, Brian Wilson and Mike Love.
The Beach Boys in their early days with Dennis Wilson on the far left on the drums, Al Jardine, Carl Wilson, Brian Wilson and Mike Love.
Beach Boys in later years with Mike Love (seated) and Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson
Beach Boys in later years with Mike Love (seated) and Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson.

It was in 1961 that the Beach Boys group was founded. Looking back it is difficult to believe that 48 years later some of their original members are still singing today.

The Beach Boys were the first group I remember seeing at the Conroy Bowl at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii in 1963 or 1964.

Their music was very popular in Hawaii as the beach music craze was in full force at the time. Their surf rock music has been heard around the world as they traveled to many countries over the years bringing their special unique sound to music fans around the world.

No group has had better harmony than the Beach Boys in my book. While the lead vocalist was singing the rest of the group was backing him up with their harmony in the background.

Three brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson, Al Jardine and Mike Love made up the configuration of the band in the early days.

The band had several hits including my favorite Surfin’ USA, Good Vibrations, California Girls, God Only Knows, Barbara Ann and Help Me Rhonda and too many others to mention.

The key to their success was the writing ability of BrianWilson who kept the hits coming. Wilson would later have a serious drug problem and he became a recluse a lot of the time.

His brother Dennis also had a drug problem and would be in out of drug rehab several times and sometimes leaving sometimes against the advice of doctors.

He was so zoned out that he let Charles Manson and some of his followers live at his house.  Manson and his groupies cost Wilson over $100,000 while living there and he finally had his manager remove them from the house.

A few months after leaving the Wilson house the Manson followers would kill actress Sharon Tate and others.

In the Live At Knebworth DVD shot in England Wilson shows signs of drug induced behavior and was visibly irritating Mike Love while he was singing.

Wilson would die in December of 1983 when he reportedly dived off a boat after drinking and drowned.

His brother Carl would die of lung cancer in February of 1998 at the age of 51. He too had battled substance abuse like his brothers. has posted this info on their website about the Beach Boys legal disputes:

Extensive legal battles between members of the group have also played their part. After the death of Carl Wilson, founding member Al Jardine was ousted by fellow-founding member Mike Love. As of 2008, The Beach Boys continue to tour, with a lineup of Love, Johnston and a backing band of new musicians. Love retained the rights to the Beach Boys name after a legal dispute. Al Jardine and Brian Wilson also continue to tour with their own respective backing bands, as of 2008. All three groups continue to play Beach Boys hits.

Brian Wilson is still touring as a solo act and Al Jardine has his own band and still sings Beach Boys music like this one:

Beach Boys singing their hit I Get Around in their earlier days.

The Beach Boys singing their classic hit Good Vibrations in 1979 and looking much different 15 years after the first video shown above.

If ever there was a prime example of the damage drugs can do to a group it is the Beach Boys.

The three Wilson brothers had to battle substance abuse for much of their career.

Mike Love the lead singer for the Beach Boys was not happy with the new direction the band was taking when they ventured away from their early sound to the Pet Sounds which produced songs like Good Vibrations.

The Beach Boys can still be heard on oldies radio and those magic days of the early 60’s before the booze and drugs kicked in will never be forgotten by this Beach Boys fan.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

4 thoughts on “Beach Boys From 1961 To Present”

  1. It was Brian, not Carl, who wrote all the hits.
    It was Al Jardine who sued to tour under the BB’s name and lost.
    Mike Love sued for songwriting royalties and at one point had to pay everyone’s legal fees.

  2. Thanks Mark for the catch….Brian was the main songwriter so changed the article to reflect that and posted more info about the legal disputes from another source which explains them better and removed what I had written.

  3. i believe they played at schofield in aug 1964 with the dixie cups and ray peterson. i attended that show ,i think it was at the conroy bowl

    1. Thanks William for the info. I had always thought the show was in 1963 but after 47 years have passed I was not really sure. Hard to believe the Beach Boys are still in concert even if they have splintered into three different configurations.

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