Mike Showing Some Love To The Beach Boys
Submitted by Don Graham
There are two sides (at least) to every story. Cashbox would like to attempt to shed some light on the recent developments in the Mike Love vs. The Beach Boys saga. The Beach Boys have always had a tumultuous and rocky personal relationship. The band has been to court more often than can be healthy, but the decision to reform for a 50th Anniversary Tour seemed to indicate that maybe a truce had been reached. Sadly, that’s not what it looks like now.
Recently Mike Love issued a statement explaining that the rest of the band would have no further involvement with the tour, causing great confusion in the land of Beach Boy fandom. Brian Wilson hit back, stating in no uncertain terms that the current line up was "The real Beach Boys".
Mike Love has now given the LA Times a statement (via Pitchfork), arguing that he has not sacked anybody. "I did not fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I cannot fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I am not his employer. I do not have such authority. And even if I did, I would never fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I love Brian Wilson. We are partners. He’s my cousin by birth and my brother in music. Our songs are in the DNA of America. Our imagery of the coast, surfing, cars and teenage freedom helped make our country the envy of the world."
Love goes on to say that, although Wilson and Jardine wanted to extend the tour, the Love/Johnson version of the Beach Boys was already contractually obliged to play “small market dates”.
That the Beach Boys would change configuration in this manner was supposedly “long agreed on” by all parties involved: “To avoid public confusion, and at the request of Brian’s representative, we had a press release sent out detailing the differences between the two Beach Boys tours and its varying lineups. I was surprised that Brian and Al said they were surprised by this announcement. Some media outlets interpreted all of this as me firing the band. The plan was always to go back to our respective lives post the 50th anniversary run”. He also notes that Wilson often sat out of tours even during the band’s heyday, and that the band has long toured in different configurations.
The issues between Love and Brian Wilson started with songwriting credits. The Beatles' John Lennon/Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger/Keith Richards are considered the prolific songwriting teams of the '60s. The Beach Boys have been characterized as a one-man show of pop genius Brian Wilson. However, it was Love who co-wrote the band's biggest and most notable hits -- "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Good Vibrations," 'California Girls,' ' I Get Around,' 'Surfin' U.S.A.' and 'Help Me, Rhonda' -- yet he never received proper songwriting credit.
"It's true, I wasn't given the proper credit for writing," said Love, “But I would never take anything away from Brian either. He's brilliant musically but he's always worked with lyricists and the most success he had was with his cousin Mike." It turns out Love's uncle and Brian's father Murry, who was the one overseeing the publishing, was the bad guy.
"It speaks to the reason why I'm been overlooked and definitely gave people a disproportionate or inaccurate portrayal of who did what and where there was a collaboration team -- Brian and myself," Love said. "Brian developed emotional issues starting as early as 1964, and so there is only so much that I felt I could do with respect to him up to the point in time. I was cheated out of royalties for many years."He added, "Brian actually wanted to rectify them but he was unable to because he was in a conservatorship at the time, so it was a huge drag that I had to sue Brian Wilson."
In November 1969, the Wilsons' father, Murry Wilson, who also served as manager and music publisher for the group, sold the copyrights to the band's songs to Irving Almo for approximately $700,000. In April 1992, just after Brian Wilson had won a lawsuit in which he received $25M for damages but failed to recover his claims to ownership of the copyrights, Mike Love filed a lawsuit against Brian Wilson for $13M claiming that he had not been given credit, and therefore hadn't received royalties, on over thirty of the band's songs, many of them hit singles and was therefore entitled to some of the reward. One of these songs was "Wouldn't It Be Nice". The original credit read "Wilson/Asher" but Mike Love claimed that he had a hand in writing the lyrics, specifically the tag lines "Good night my baby, sleep tight my baby". Mike Love won the lawsuit and the song-writing credit was amended, therefore ensuring future royalties on all of the songs that he had claimed he had a hand in writing. Tony Asher has questioned Love's involvement in the song claiming that his involvement was "none, whatsoever" as the song "was one of the few songs he wrote the entire lyric to by himself at home".
Whatever your leaning Love or Wilson, because it seems the lines have been drawn, together the rest of The Beach Boys will live forever in our hearts and memories. As long as there is Beach Boys music, summer will never end.