If Paul and Ringo hired a bunch of session musicians and went on tour, would that make them the Beatles? Nah. So where does this band of impostors get off with calling itself the Beach Boys?
The most recent breach of faith by the alleged Beach Boys came in Atlanta, at Turner Field after the Braves’ game on Memorial Day. They also have been popping up at county fairs and music festivals, and even on “Dancing With The Stars.” Well, just because Mike Love belts out some oldies, that does not mean this band can truthfully call itself the Beach Boys.
Love is the only original member of the Hawthorne, Calif., based outfit that began playing and recording in the early ’60s. Bruce Johnston, who joined later in the ’60s, also travels with this bunch of minstrels. Founder and inspiration Brian Wilson and original member Al Jardine aren’t included. Wilson’s brothers Carl and Dennis are dead. God only knows what Carl thinks when Johnston covers his most famous Beach Boys song on tour.
Johnston’s best known song, though, wasn’t even a Beach Boys tune. He wrote “I Write The Songs” that Barry Manilow later made popular, but Johnston never sang lead on any of the band’s hits.
Among aging rock bands, the Rolling Stones and The Who can claim legitimacy. Stones co-founders Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have played with Ron Wood and Charlie Watts since the 1970s, and they still draw large live audiences. Originals Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey always were the heart and soul of The Who, and they played at halftime of this year’s Super Bowl. Both of these bands also have recorded in recent years.
The Beach Boys, as far as I know, haven’t had an original song since “Kokomo” in the 1980s. And their live gigs always are an add-on, with audiences paying for a main attraction first, such as a sporting event or fair rides.
If you want to see the “real” Beach Boys, watch the video below. The touring these days appears to be an effort by Love to stimulate interest in the band for the purpose of generating royalties through sales of CDs and music downloads. But as the memorable quote from the movie “Working Girl” says, “Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear … it doesn’t make me Madonna, and never will.”