Nick Of Time
To make matters worse, Capitol stopped reissuing the group's older albums, which cut off their sizable royalties income. Scrambling to land a new contract, the Beach Boys' financial manager, Nick Grillo, negotiated with the German company Grammophon, who believed an investment in the band to be a sure thing. The deal fell through, however, when Brian was quoted in a British rock newspaper as saying “inside a few months, we won't have a penny in the bank.” The Germans backed out, and Grillo was forced to borrow money from bankers to support the extravagant lifestyles of the group members.
Then, in November 1969, Murry—who owned Sea of Tunes outright after Brian had signed over his remaining share—sold the entire catalog of Beach Boys' songs for a cash payment. Brian was devastated: His songs were all that he could count on as his emotions became less stable, and now they would belong to strangers. It was the last straw. As he wrote in Wouldn't It Be Nice, “I was beaten. Despondent, I muddled through the daytimes, struggling to drag my body out of bed but losing the struggle more often than not.” Murry, convinced that the Beach Boys were finished, considered the $700,000 he made on the deal to be a good profit. Over time, however, the songs would become worth more than $20 million.
Finally, in January 1970, Nick Grillo signed a deal with Warner Brothers Records to distribute the Beach Boys' new material on the Reprise label. The company stipulated that Brian had to be active in the group as its chief composer and producer, but their first album for Reprise, Sunflower, featured only one new Brian Wilson tune. The album was released on August 31, and although it never broke the top 100, it was considered by many to be the best all-around Beach Boys album yet. Carl produced its single, “Add Some Music to Your Day,” and Bruce's “Dierdre” became a favorite, while Dennis—who Carl said “was at the very height of his creativity”—wrote and sang “Got to Know the Woman” and the powerful “Slip On Through.” Better still, the British press raved that the album was “the Beach Boys’ Sergeant Pepper.' Despite dismal sales, it was a promising start on die new label.