Given all the squabbling, a Beach Boys reunion seemed as likely as a Hatfield-McCoy potluck dinner. But the band kissed and made up in mid-2011 to rerecord its 1968 hit “Do It Again.” Afterward, however, Brian was still waffling about a reunion tour.

“I don’t really like working with the guys,” he told Rolling Stone last October. “But it all depends on how we feel and how much money’s involved.”

The cash and the climate were right, apparently, because in December the Boys announced a 50th-anniversary tour featuring Wilson, Love and Jardine as well as Bruce Johnston and guitarist David Marks (a member from 1962-63 and 1997-99). The tour kicked off late last month in Tucson, Ariz., with a new studio album due out later this year.

“We want the album to be great, not just a bunch of stuff thrown together,” Jardine says. “We’ve got to get it right because who knows, this may be our last shot.”

In typical Beach Boys fashion, Love takes umbrage with Jardine’s last-hurrah comment. “Look at Tony Bennett. He’s 85, and his album just debuted at No. 1,” he says. “So we have more time. This might be the precursor to something even better.”

Even if it does prove to be the band’s final victory lap, Love says the Beach Boys saga is already complete.

“We’ve been through phenomenal things and tragic things, but none of that is important,” he says. “The real story isn’t who sued whom. It’s the music and the way it has influenced hundreds of millions of people in a good way. The world has a lot of problems, probably always will, but for a few minutes or a few hours, those beautiful harmonies have created a sonic oasis for people. That’s the real story.”



50 YEARS OF SURFING


1961
Brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson form a band with cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine called the Pendletons. Candix Records releases their single “Surfin’ ” in December. The group changes its name to the Beach Boys.

1962
Jardine leaves the band (but returns in 1963). The group records a demo that leads Capitol Records to sign them later that year. Their first Capitol singles, “Surfin’ Safari” and “409,” are released.

1964
Brian Wilson suffers an anxiety attack and subsequently announces his retirement from touring to focus on behind- the-scenes work. He is replaced on the road by Glen Campbell, who is replaced in 1965 by Bruce Johnston.

1966
The poorly-grossing but critically adored Pet Sounds is released, marking a radically different sound for the band. It’s followed up with the single “Good Vibrations.”

1983
Dennis Wilson dies.

1988
The Beach Boys are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After the release of Brian Wilson’s first solo album, his family wins a court battle to keep his overbearing therapist, Dr. Eugene Landy, away from him. Internal lawsuits plague the band for much of the ’90s and ’00s.

1998
Carl Wilson dies.

2012
Brian Wilson and the other surviving members of the Beach Boys reunite for the first time since 1996 to perform at the Grammy Awards. They recently embarked on a 50th-anniversary tour.