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Making Waves

As The Beach Boys unveil their latest collaborative album with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,Vintage Rock meets Mike Love and Bruce Johnston to discuss hits, myths and transatlantic rivalry…


The Beach Boys with new member Bruce Johnston (left) at a shoot for 1965’s Summer Days LP
All photos ©Capitol Photo Archives

Everyone knows the music of The Beach Boys, but not everybody knows the true story behind one of America’s most iconic bands, which at times has been dominated by tragedy, personal feuds and more than its fair share of urban myths.

Were The Beach Boys really locked in an epic battle of one-upmanship with The Beatles, which resulted in two of the greatest albums ever recorded – Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band? Did The Who’s drummer, Keith Moon, really want to ditch his own British bandmates and join them? And did Brian Wilson really spend three years in bed?

From their humble beginnings in the late 1950s to their 50th anniversary and reunion tour in 2012, the saga of The Beach Boys has seen plenty of twists and turns. And just when you thought there were no surprises left, they have teamed up with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for a new album that pairs original recordings with new arrangements.

The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was the brainchild of former Elvis Presley associate Jerry Schilling, and follows previous releases featuring new orchestral versions of classic hits by both Elvis and Roy Orbison. “We thought it was a great idea and the beauty of it is that we didn’t have to lift a finger”, said Beach Boys co-founder Mike Love, during a recent promotional visit to London. “We did all the laborious work in the 1960s.”

Depending on your point of view, Love is either the keeper of the Beach Boys flame, or the pantomime villain in their longrunning saga, having been embroiled in various legal battles with other members.

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About Vintage Rock

'Maybe Tomorrow?’ No, the new issue of Vintage Rock is out now and stars... Billy Fury! Our 20-page special includes an interview with his latter-day backing band Fury’s Tornados and Vince Eager recalls his part in the landmark new album ‘The Symphonic Sound Of Fury’. We also hear from The Beach Boys’ Mike Love and Bruce Johnston about how the legendary band made the transition from doo-wop-influenced rock’n’rollers to symphonic pop geniuses. Our Classic Album is ‘In Style With The Crickets’, an amazing triumph following the tragic death of Buddy Holly. We talk exclusively to Gary ‘US’ Bonds about his early days cutting hot R&B in Virginia, his comeback with Bruce Springsteen and his return to live shows. With a new CD and biography released, we revisit the career of Wee Willie Harris, British rock’n’roll’s strangest and smallest star. PLUS! We talk to the folks building and revamping 50s Jukeboxes, we hand-pick Sam Cooke’s Top 20 hits and speak to Jerry Lee’s sister Linda Gail Lewis. In our live reviews, we head to the Wildest Cats In Town weekender where Charlie Gracie reined supreme, plus there’s a memorable doo-wop reunion in London. And we visit the world of Rockabilly-Radio online.