With good vibrations returning to the Beach Boys, could that newfound harmony spread to Atlantic City this summer? That's one of the intriguing possibilities now that two of the three surviving founding members of "America's band" have settled a legal dispute that dates back to 2001.
Last month, shortly before it was scheduled to go to trial, Mike Love and Al Jardine, both of whom were original members of the band, settled a lawsuit over Jardine's use of the Beach Boys name. Love and the band's record label, Brother Records, had sued Jardine five years ago for using the name "Beach Boys Family & Friends."
After leaving the Beach Boys in the late 1990s, Jardine toured with various knockoff groups performing Beach Boys material.
The legal fireworks actually began in 2001, when Jardine filed a $4 million suit against Love and Brother Records alleging that Love had excluded him from touring dates with the band.
On March 21, while lawyers hammered out a settlement, Love and Jardine were spotted in a Los Angeles courtroom chatting amicably and singing lines from "Help Me, Rhonda" and other Beach Boys classics. For a time, even troubled Beach Boy Brian Wilson, whose personal demons have kept him from working with the band since 1965, was in attendance.
Once the settlement was announced, the word "reunion" began being bandied about. It's been seven years since Jardine worked with Love, but it's been 43 years since Wilson had toured with the group, although he did play some select dates with the Beach Boys in the 1980s. Lawrence Noble, an attorney for Jardine, left the door wide open for a reunion.
"Certainly everybody would love it, but we're taking it a day at a time," Noble told Reuters news agency. "We've cleared out a lot of negative history, we're looking forward to the future, and hopefully a lot of good things will happen."
Actually, the foundation for a Beach Boys reunion was poured in January 2007 during one of Brian Wilson's solo concerts in California, when he introduced Jardine, who joined him on a few songs from the band's 1965 album, Summer Days (and Summer Nights).
And in an interview, Wilson left open the possibility of a reunion -- in the studio and on stage -- with Love and Jardine.
"There's a chance of that," Wilson acknowledged. Love seconded the motion, adding that he would be receptive to a professional reunion with Love and Jardine provided he and Wilson could collaborate on new material.
"A reunion would have to begin with Brian and I writing together," Love said.
So how does Atlantic City factor into the reunion equation?
The Beach Boys are scheduled to perform a Fourth of July concert on the beach in front of the Atlantic City Hilton.
"All the lawsuits have been settled, everybody's talking and Brian seems to be in good shape," a source close to the band told me.
"Brian's in a good place now," he added, referring to Brian Wilson's well-documented bouts with drug abuse and mental problems.
Although Wilson hasn't toured with the band in more than 40 years, the last time Love, Jardine and brothers Dennis and Carl Wilson performed together on July 4 was in 1983 -- on the Atlantic City beach in front of 300,000 people.
Later that year, Dennis Wilson drowned when he fell from his sailboat in Marina del Ray, Calif. Carl Wilson died in 1998.
If a reunion does happen and Brian Wilson returns to the lineup, where does that leave Beach Boys keyboardist and singer Bruce Johnston, who joined the band in 1965 as Brian Wilson's replacement?
"It leaves him right on stage where he belongs," the Beach Boys insider said. "Bruce is a Beach Boy. He may not be an original member, but he's been signing and playing on every album since California Girls, and Brian has a lot of respect for him."
“I dreamed that this would happen and it’s here. It’s so great to be back with Brian. It’s a remarkable milestone. Fifty years is a long time. Everything about this made sense. Capitol Records offered us a record deal and we were thrilled about that."
There’s one important factor that’s keeping a one-night stand by a 50-year-old rock ‘n roll band from becoming just another nostalgic blast from the past this weekend. ..
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