The Beach Boys celebrate 50th anniversary of first live gig

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As the founding members of The Beach Boys finalise plans to celebrate their 50th Anniversary with a brand new studio album and a 50-date international tour in 2012, it was exactly 50 years ago today (31 December 1961) that the band performed on stage as ‘The Beach Boys’ for the first time.

The three teenage Wilson brothers – Brian, Carl and Dennis – their cousin Mike Love, and school friend Al Jardine had previously been known locally as The Pendletones. But they made their live debut under their new name as the support act to Ike & Tina Turner at a Ritchie Valens Memorial Dance at Long Beach Civic Auditorium, California.

In October 1961, The Pendletones had recorded the Brian Wilson song ‘Surfin’’ for a local label called Candix Records. A small number of 45s were pressed, but when the boys eagerly unpacked the first box of singles, they were stunned to find that the band’s name was shown on the disc as ‘The Beach Boys’. The record label’s promotion man, Russ Regan, had changed the name to help tie the group to other popular ‘surf rock’ bands of the time.

The rest, as they say, is history …  Exactly 50 years later, The Beach Boys still hold the record as the all-time top-selling American band for albums and singles. They have also scored more US Top 40 chart hits (36) than any other American group.

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