1 minute read


Picking Up The Pieces

With the unwanted (except by Brian) assistance of Eugene Landy, the group began rehearsing together shortly before Dennis's death. The sessions were tense and not very productive, but Brian was better able to assert himself in the band. They were scheduled to play a Fourth of July concert in Washington, D.C., but Secretary of the Interior James Watt banned their appearance, believing that they would attract “the wrong element.” President Ronald Reagan, a Beach Boys fan, scolded Watt and invited the group to the White House later that month.

Dennis's passing late in the year devastated both Brian and Carl. They carried on as best as they could, and pulled a few strings with President Reagan to help arrange Dennis's burial at sea. (Such services were normally against federal law.) It was a fitting farewell for the man who had inspired the Beach Boys.

The remaining band members continued to tour, and Brian occasionally joined them onstage. He and Landy had been in touch with English record producer Steve Levine, famous for producing the Culture Club, and in the fall of 1984 the group flew to London to record an album with him. It was a difficult experience for all of them. Levine's rigorous studio methods bothered Brian, and the rest of the Beach Boys were irritated by Landy's presence and his suggestions about the lyrics to their songs. The album was released in 1985. Titled simply The Beach Boys, it was a surprising success and reached number fifty-two on the charts. A nostalgic single, “Getcha Back,” peaked at number twenty-six. The Beach Boys would be the final full album of original songs from the group, as well as their last for CBS: The label didn't renew their contract when it expired in 1985.

Additional topics

Musician BiographiesThe Beach BoysENDLESS HARMONY - “sail On, Sailor”, Dennis Wilson, Dreamer, Brian Gets Back On Track, Picking Up The Pieces