When it comes to the ever-subjective exercise of ranking the greatest bands of all time, The Beatles tend to be the default number one. Number two varies: Some would pick an obvious choice like the Rolling Stones or Led Zepplin, while others would pick a less universally popular band with great influence such as the Kinks or the Who.
But a solid contender for the somewhat-coveted number two spot would be the Beach Boys, the bodacious band that composed some of the greatest music of any age. This is a group, after all, that wrote catchy tunes about surfing and the sheer essence of longing and love. And more importantly, the members were intensely impressive musicians that influenced countless bands throughout the years.
Since most of the Beach Boys' biggest hits came about in the 1960s and 1970s, it would be easy to assume that group's best days faded long ago. But the group has been playing shows in various incarnations for the past couple of decades, including a worldwide tour that kicked off last week in Arizona. Previously feuding band members managed to patch up any hard feelings to get together for the group's 50th anniversary.
For whatever reason, the band didn't include a date on its tour that comes through St. Louis or any part of Missouri. But if anybody from the region decides to travel to the band's concerts, here are a few things to know about the band's latest tour:
Brian's back: The return of Brian Wilson to the fold is probably the most notable aspect of this tour. Wilson, of course, became something of a recluse during part of the band's history, so much so that it inspired a fairly popular Barenaked Ladies song. He was part of the Beach Boys until the 1990s, when he went through an especially bitter split with group. While several members toured as the Beach Boys, Wilson released Smile to extensive commercial and critical success.
Since Wilson wrote or co-wrote some of the Beach Boys' biggest hits, his return gives the tour an aura of credibility that's arguably been missing since he embarked on a solo tour.
And so is everybody else: Since the early 2000s, the Beach Boys have effectively consisted of Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and a bunch of touring musicians. But other members of the band that were around in the 1960s - namely Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks - are returning for this reunion. Johnston, by the way, wrote Barry Manilow's "I Write the Songs," which won the Grammy for Song of the Year in 1977.
A full reunion of the original band is impossible, since both Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson are deceased.