It’s been 50 years since California group the Beach Boys first signed with Capitol Records to release Surfin’ Safari, and the recently reunited band is riding a wave of nostalgia.
The bandmates have put aside decades of infighting that descended into lawsuits and are touring, with gigs in Toronto and Montreal this week proving they have not lost their gift for harmony.
The group – Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, who are original members of the band, and Bruce Johnston and David Marks, who joined later – play Calgary later in the tour. Original members Carl and Dennis Wilson, brothers to Brian, are deceased.
Their upbeat songs such as Good Vibrations, Wouldn’t it be Nice and Little Deuce Coupe seem to transcend the generation gap, Marks told CBC News.
“When we're on stage looking out at audience, you can see children who know lyrics to all our songs, senior citizens dancing in the aisles — it is multigenerational,” he said.
Wilson, the man widely credited as the songwriting genius of the Beach Boys, turned 70 on Wednesday.
It’s a birthday many believed he would never see. Wilson battled drug addiction and mental health problems for years, and his bitter lawsuits with cousin Mike Love over songwriting credits poisoned his relationships with other members of the band.
The realization that it had been 50 years since the group was touted as the American answer to the Beatles was part of what brought them together.
And earlier this month, there was also new music to celebrate – a new album That's Why God Made Radio that harkens back to their popular sun-soaked sound.
Wilson says radio of the 1950s was his musical education and he drew his inspiration from artists such as Chuck Berry, Rosemary Clooney, the Four Freshmen and Little Richard.
“We took about two months to do it but we didn't really rush through it. But when we heard the harmonies on the speakers, it was like going back to 1965,” Wilson said.