Beach Boys FAQ

Beach Boys FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

Updated 5/29/04.

1. Who are the members of the Beach Boys?
2. What are the Beach Boys up to these days?
3. Which Beach Boys albums are available on CD?
4. Where do I find bootleg CD's of Beach Boys' concerts and outtakes?
5. What CD's do you recommend?
6. How old are the Beach Boys?
7. What are the Beach Boys' biggest hits?
8. Why is Pet Sounds so special?
9. Where can I find people to discuss the Beach Boys with? (Detailed answer)
10. Where can I find lyrics to Beach Boys songs?

1. Who are the members of the Beach Boys?

Many people have played with the Beach Boys over the years, but only a handful have achieved official Beach Boys status. Here are those selected few:

Brian Wilson (1961-now)
Carl Wilson (1961-1981, 1981-1998)
Dennis Wilson (1961-1983)
Alan Jardine (1961-1962, 1963-now)
Mike Love (1961-now)
Bruce Johnston (1965-1971, 1979-now)
David Marks (1962-1963, 1998-99)
Glen Campbell (1965)
Blondie Chaplin (1972-1973)
Ricky Fataar (1972-1974)

2. What are the Beach Boys up to these days?

This is a very complicated story. Through 1997, the touring Beach Boys were Carl Wilson, Alan Jardine, Mike Love, and Bruce Johnston. After Carl Wilson passed away February 6, 1998, the group essentially broke up. Here are the current touring groups:

The Beach Boys (Mike Love & Bruce Johnston)

Shortly after Carl's death, Alan left the group (more about that later) and Mike Love and Bruce Johnston regained the legal right to use the Beach Boys name after a short time using the alternate name, "Mike Love & America's Band." Mike & Bruce have been touring as "The Beach Boys" ever since, though many hard-core fans are skeptical about the use of this name. David Marks, a short-time replacement for Al Jardine in 1962-3, rejoined the band briefly from 1998-99 and was considered by the band to be a Beach Boy. Mike & Bruce continue to play their standard 30-song set that the Beach Boys had been playing for the 20 years prior. For a recent setlist, click here.

Al Jardine's Family & Friends Beach Band

In late 1998, Al Jardine began to tour with a group of his family members and friends as Beach Boys' Family & Friends. (Note: As a result of a pending lawsuit, Al Jardine currently tours as "Al Jardine's Family & Friends Beach Band".) This group includes his sons Adam & Matt, Brian Wilson's daughters Carnie & Wendy, and several former Beach Boys' backing players. The group has been praised for its beautiful harmonizing. They usually perform about 20 songs, including 4 or 5 live rarities, such as "Girl Don't Tell Me", "Lookin At Tomorrow", and "Heroes & Villains." Unfortunately, the aforementioned lawsuit filed by Brother Records (rumored to be initiated by Mike Love), based on the Beach Boys trademark, has prevented the group from touring extensively. Click here for a recent setlist.

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson, who had not toured regularly with the band since the early 80's, and last appeared on stage with them in 1996, released a critically acclaimed solo CD entitled "Imagination" in 1998 and toured the U.S. and Japan extensively in 1999. In 2000, an even more expanded "Pet Sounds Symphonic Tour" met critical acclaim, and a double-CD called "Live At The Roxy Theater", culled from an early 2000 performance, became Brian Wilson's first internet-only release. More performances may be planned for 2001. Click here for a typical 2000 setlist.

Beach Party! featuring former Beach Boy David Marks

After leaving Mike Love's touring Beach Boys in 1999, David Marks has performed shows with three different bands: The Marksmen, The Marks-Clifford Band, and Beach Party!, which features five members of Al Jardine's Family & Friends Beach Band, and is also tracked by the Setlist Archive. Their very first setlist is featured on the archive.

3. Which original Beach Boys albums are available on CD?

The 1960's albums

The Capitol albums released from 1962-1969 are being re-released this year. In 1990, these albums were packaged as 2-on-1 deals, with bonus tracks, but these were later taken out of print and replaced with the single-album CD's. Fortunately, the "two-fer" CD's are being re-released, with superior sound quality. Here are the re-issue dates for the new CDs, which came out earlier this year in two batches:

Re-issued on 3/13/01
Surfin' Safari / Surfin' USA
Surfer Girl / Shut Down, Vol. 2
Little Deuce Coupe / All Summer Long
Today! / Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!!)

Re-issued on 4/10/01
Concert / Live In London
Party! / Stack-O-Tracks
Smiley Smile / Wild Honey
Friends / 20/20

A 2-CD rarities set, tentatively titled Hawthorne, California has been set for release sometime in May. Pet Sounds remains in print, and was re-re-re-released in 2001 in its finest form yet.

The 1970's and 1980's albums

The Caribou albums released from 1970-1981 were issued on CD in 1991, but were quickly taken out of print. Highly sought and hard to find for years, the 1970-1980 albums were re-issued as "two-fers" last year, with the best quality sound yet. (The 1981 compilation Ten Years Of Harmony, which featured two currently unavailable tracks, remains out of print). The following are the current "two-fer" CD titles:

Re-issued in 2000:
Sunflower / Surf's Up
Carl & The Passions--So Tough / Holland (2-CD set)
In Concert (2-LP set on 1 CD)
15 Big Ones / Love You
MIU Album / L.A. Light Album
Keepin' The Summer Alive / Beach Boys (1985)

Still Cruisin and later albums such as Summer In Paradise and Stars & Stripes, Vol. 1 were not part of the re-issue project, and are currently out of print, but not too difficult to find in used CD stores.

4. Where do I find bootleg CD's of Beach Boys' concerts and outtakes?

Mentioning names and addresses here may cause unnecessary lawsuits. All I will say is find a copy of "Goldmine" magazine. You will find plenty in there. Do not, however, buy anything from "Bruce The Cat". They are rip-off artists.

5. What CD's do you recommend?

It depends on what you like. If you are a new fan that was recently turned on to some of the well-known hits on the radio such as "Good Vibrations", "Surfin' USA", or "Kokomo", or you were intrigued by the recent ABC-TV miniseries, here are my recommendations. Greatest Hits Vol. 1: 20 Good Vibrations, Greatest Hits Vol. 2: 20 More Good Vibrations, and Greatest Hits Vol. 3: Best of the Brother Years 1970-1986 are the best and most definitive of the US compilations that are still in print. The sound quality is excellent on all three. Skip the "cheapies" ($5.99-8.99) as these have mediocre sound quality and less-than-optimal track selection.

If you are curious about Brian Wilson's producing and composing style, and about why he's been called a "musical genius", seek out Pet Sounds, Love You, and his new album Imagination.

If you are currently looking to get into the very enjoyable world of the Beach Boys' more obscure music, I highly recommend Friends, Wild Honey, Smiley Smile, Sunflower, Carl & The Passions-So Tough, and LA Light Album.

6. How old are the Beach Boys?

Here are the surviving Beach Boys' birthdates:

Mike Love--March 15, 1941
Al Jardine--September 3, 1942
Brian Wilson--June 20, 1942
Bruce Johnston--June 27, 1942

7. What are the Beach Boys' biggest hits?

The Beach Boys have had four #1 hits on the Billboard charts: I Get Around (1964), Help Me Rhonda (1965), Good Vibrations (1966), and Kokomo (1988). On some charts, Barbara Ann (1965) reached #1 as well. Other US top ten hits include "Surfin USA" (1963), "Dance Dance Dance" (1965), "Wouldn't It Be Nice" (1966), "Rock & Roll Music" (1976), among many others. A handful of songs reached the top ten in other countries but not in the US: "Cotton Fields" (1970), "Then I Kissed Her" (1965), and "Lady Lynda" (1979). "Do It Again" (1969) hit #1 in the UK, but barely reached the top twenty in the US.

8. Why is Pet Sounds so special?

This is a hard question to answer. Brian Wilson sought to create an album with no album filler after being inspired by the Beatles' album "Rubber Soul". What came about from this spirit of competitiveness was a beautiful, radically different album from the Beach Boys, "Pet Sounds". Produced solely by Brian Wilson, "Pet Sounds" is an emotional journey through the past and a solemn look at the present. Filled with adventurous musical arrangements, biting lyrics, and an overall theme of growing into adulthood (open to interpretation), "Pet Sounds" has meant a lot to many people. It is not your usual Beach Boys surfin' album, but it's well worth many, many listens.

9. Where can I find people to discuss the Beach Boys with?

There are currently more than 25 message boards focused on the Beach Boys. However, a better way of conversing are the dozens of public mailing lists that are available. With the exception of the Pet Sounds Mailing List (listed second), these mailing lists are found on (previously known as OneList and then Egroups). In order to join a YahooGroup, you must have a Yahoo! ID (which is free). The mailing lists are listed in order of size, and membership counts are as of 5/29/04. There are probably many newer Yahoo Groups around, but I stopped joining/keeping track after 2001.

The Nearest Faraway Place
A huge group with over 1100 members.
A friendly and active list with nearly 300 members. A personal favorite.
A backup list for the Pet Sounds Mailing List; used primarily when the original list breaks down. 200 members.
Formerly known as "BeachBoys". Low-to-moderate activity. I recently acquired ownership of this list. 171 members.
A very large membership, with surprisingly little activity. 159 members.
A moderately active list mainly to discuss mainly the ill-fated album "Smile". 88 members.
Another surprisingly low-activity list. 86 members.
Another low-activity list. 30 members.
A mailing list for French-speakers. Moderately-to-very active. 80 members.
An MP3 trading list that actually preceded and outlasted the ill-fated "bbmp3" group but never really got off the ground. 69 members.
Another low-activity list. 56 members.
A pretty inactive list that has been around for quite some time. 42 members.
Another low-activity list. 23 members.
A new, moderately active and friendly list mainly for younger Brian Wilson fans. Both on-topic and off-topic posts. 23 members.
For Italian-speakers. Active at first, but very inactive for quite awhile. 17 members.
Inactive so far. 12 members.

Other lists that were up in the past but are now gone include ILuvBeachBoys, EndlessHarmony, Surfers Rule, Endlesssummer, Endlessummer (note different spellings), Beachboysobscure, catch-a-wave, slightly-american-music, bbmp3, briansboys, californiacallin, nearestfarawayplace, TotallyBeachin, beachboysnewsletter, thewarmthofthesun and numerous others.

Private Mailing Lists

Pet Sounds Mailing List (PSML)
The most active list, run by Leon Lively. About 80% on-topic posts, with about 2 or 3 digests a day. Occasionally new bits of news will leak in here, as well as reprints of articles. Mostly friendly posts, with occasional heated conversations. 300 members.
Surf's Up
Run by author Brad Elliott, this is a very exclusive list for those who mostly discuss technical aspects of the Beach Boys music. You must be nominated by two people from the list and be approved by everyone on it.
California Saga
Run by Barbara Lang. Weekly updates on goings-on, 90% on-topic posts. Friendly discussion, inside talk like on the Pet Sounds Mailing List. You must be invited personally to join this list. Visit Barbara's excellent California Saga site. 100 members.

10. Where can I find lyrics to Beach Boys songs?

The most definitive website for Beach Boys lyrics is the Web Page for Brian Wilson.

Last updated 5/29/04.

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