In 2012, the surviving members of the Beach Boys — Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks — put aside decades of bad blood to record a new album and launch a long 50th anniversary tour that had them playing their classics at venues from New Orleans JazzFest to London’s Royal Albert Hall. “The tour… blew away all my expectations,” Brian Wilson said afterward. “We had a blast, the fans were so supportive and I loved being able to record and sing with the guys.”
By the following year, the band had split up into two different camps again — Love and Johnston touring as the Beach Boys, and Jardine touring with Wilson’s band. They have made very few joint appearances since then, though they all did reunite for a one-off Q&A session moderated by director Rob Reiner at Capitol Records in Los Angeles in 2018.
This year, remarkably, marks 60 years since the Beach Boys began in Hawthorne, California, and recorded their first song, “Surfin.’” And according to guitarist Al Jardine, who recently spoke with RS’ 500 Greatest Albums podcast with Amazon Music, they may not be done yet. Asked whether the Beach Boys will launch a tour to celebrate their 60th anniversary, Jardine says: “I do believe we will. Well, not a tour. We’ll hit some very important … 10 or 20 areas of the world. Who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky and have a renaissance, and present some of this great material again. It’s difficult to say, but it makes sense. I know there’s something in the works. I just can’t tell you when or where.”
The other band members have been even vaguer. “I know he mentioned that,” said Love, while speaking to Rolling Stone this past fall. He was discussing a similar quote that Jardine gave to Chicago Concert Reviews, which Rolling Stone‘s Angie Martoccio reported on at the time. “He didn’t ask me about it; he just said it. But I think [it] would be good to do something noting that it’s a pretty remarkable milestone. I don’t know what, exactly. I think a TV special would be really nice, honestly.” Would Love be open to doing a tour? “I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t think [so]. That hasn’t come up yet.”
Speaking to us, Jardine confirms that a TV special is being discussed. “We’d like to explore that possibility,” he says, noting that the band is also bringing on advisors to explore all career options. “It’s always good to be able to look forward to something positive now,” he adds, “especially coming out of this horrendous year, to bring some beautiful, fresh, positive music to the world again.”
Jardine says he doesn’t see any of the acrimony of the past getting in the way of future performances. “Unfortunately, we’re not all still around,” he says (two of the band’s founding members, Dennis and Carl Wilson, have passed away). “But yeah, don’t see why it couldn’t happen. Get what you can while you can!”
Of course, it couldn’t be a true Beach Boys reunion without Brian Wilson. And according to his team, Wilson is in the dark about any future plans: “There is nothing on the table at this point,” says Jean Sievers, Wilson’s manager. “No one has spoken to us about it or reached out.”
As we wait to see if a tour becomes reality, check out the Pet Sounds episode of our 500 Greatest Albums podcast.