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The Beach Boys are known for their falsetto and surfer tunes, calling on everyone to head down to the beach. As time went on, however, their musical style changed into more experimental rock music as the years went on. They are considered one of the most influential bands of all time – but who has been a member of the Beach Boys?
How many members have there been in The Beach Boys?
The Beach Boys started off with three brothers: Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson.
Brian, as the oldest, was the brainchild of the group, having become fascinated with harmonies and music as a child.
He taught his brothers how to sing in harmony and learned the piano while Carl learned the guitar, and Dennis the drums.
Brian soon started writing songs, and soon the boys were joined by their cousin, Mike Love.
They joined up with Al Jardine, a friend from school, and soon the Pendletones were born, though Dennis was the one to convince them to incorporate surfing into their musical style.
Their first song, Surfin’, got to 75 in the Billboard Hot 100, on which the band discovered its name had changed to The Beach Boys.
Al’s time in the band was short at this stage, as he left to pursue a career in dentistry, at which time he was replaced by the Wilsons’ childhood friend David Marks.
However, by 1963, only a few years later, Al rejoined the band after David left.
David did play on the first four albums the band released, so while he was not a long-time member, he was vital in their early success.
During the mid-1960s, Brian began to find the stress of touring and producing music, for both the band and other artists, too much of a strain, so Glen Campbell temporarily replaced him in concerts.
Brian then chose to resign from touring, finding the stress too difficult, which meant Glen became his permanent touring replacement.
When Glen’s career pulled him away from touring with the band, Bruce Johnston replaced Glen, and soon he became a permanent member of The Beach Boys.
After The Beach Boys returned from touring, they were reportedly presented with half an album already worked on by Brian, which led to infighting over the direction of the band’s music.
But it turned out this album was well-liked in various circles and this galvanised Brian to continue writing, though his mental health was becoming difficult to manage.
As well as this, legal issues with their record company and further infighting in the band led to the album Smile to remain unreleased and unfinished.
They continued making music, albeit in a far less passionate way, until the late 1960s, at which point Brian left the brand to enter a psychiatric hospital.
In the early 1970s, Bruce left the band while Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin were added to the touring line-up to fill out the sound.
By 1976 Brian was back in the band producing, though he was still struggling with his mental health and drug abuse.
Brian continued to produce music with the band, but tensions began to run high as disagreements over the band’s sound grew.
The band broke up for two weeks in 1977 after the members were split in two directions on their sound, but they came back together in a way which left Dennis and Carl Wilson frustrated.
They began working on solo music, and Dennis and Carl effectively left the band, though Carl returned in 1982 after 14 months away.
Brian struggled more with his addictions and mental health and was placed in a rehabilitation programme, while Dennis also checked into rehab to help with his alcoholism in 1983.
In December 1983, Dennis died of drowning. The band continued to work until 1999, when Carl died of lung and brain cancer.
After this, the band split, and each member toured with variants of The Beach Boys name, until Brian, Al, Mike, David and Bruce reunited and toured a short 50th-anniversary tour.
At present, these five are the official lasting members of The Beach Boys, though they do perform individually with different musicians under the name, meaning there are other touring musicians and contributors.
However, these four and the Wilson brothers are considered the long-lasting members of the band.
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