The Beach Boys Band Members: Where Are They Now?

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys defined coastal cool. The band came together in California in 1961 with founding members and brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. They performed catchy, youthful tunes, boasting 15 top-10 hits on the Billboard 100 between 1962 and 2021, including "Surfin' U.S.A.," "Kokomo," "I Get Around" and "California Girls." (Heard of 'em?)

With a new Disney+ documentary, The Beach Boys, chronicling the band's rise to fame, let's take a look at where the group's members are now, keeping in mind that its composition changed over the years.

Related: The Beach Boys' Mike Love: C'mon World and Unleash the Love

The Beach Boys Band Members: Where Are They Now?

Brian Wilson

<p>Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Recording Academy</p>

Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

<p>Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Recording Academy</p>

Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The Beach Boys' de facto leader, Brian Wilson, is the eldest of the three Wilson brothers and served as the group's songwriter, producer, co-lead vocalist, bassist and keyboardist. Sadly, he was plagued by drug addiction and mental health struggles for decades.

In the mid-1970s and early 1980s, he was involved in a toxic relationship with psychologist Eugene Landy, who had near-total control over the musician's life, until a restraining order was finally issued against him in 1992.

Brian has seven children. He shares his two eldest, daughters Carnie and Wendy, with his first wife, Marilyn Rutherford-Wilson. (You may recognize them from their own musical group, the Wilson Phillips). He also adopted five children with his second wife, Melinda Ledbetter, who died in January 2024 at the couple's home. Ledbetter's death prompted the family to seek a conservatorship for Brian, stating he has a “major neurocognitive disorder." A Superior Court Judge granted the request and appointed publicist Jean Sievers and manager LeeAnn Hard co-conservators in May.

Related: Inside Beach Boys Icon Brian Wilson's Health Struggles and Dementia Diagnosis

Dennis Wilson

<p>Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images</p>

Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

Multiple accounts of the Beach Boys' origins, including David Leaf's 1978 book The Beach Boys and the California Myth, indicated that the Wilson brothers' mother, Audree, forced them to include Dennis in the band. The middle Wilson is considered a founding member and remained with the Beach Boys until the 1970s, when he was reportedly kicked out because of his drug and alcohol struggles, per Rolling Stone.

Dennis was married five times and had a high-profile relationship with Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mack. He has five children (Jennifer and Scott with Carol Freedman; Michael and Carl with Barbara Charren; and Gage with Shawn Marie Love).

Dennis died of drowning on Dec. 28, 1983, and was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Beach Boys' founding members five years later.

Carl Wilson

<p>Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images</p>

Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

Carl was the band's lead guitarist and one of its primary vocalists, singing lead on several of The Beach Boys' hits, including "God Only Knows" and "Good Vibrations." He also played a significant role in the band's production and musical direction, especially during the periods when his brother Brian's involvement decreased due to mental health struggles.

Carl released two albums as part of a brief go at a solo career, Carl Wilson (1981) and Young Blood (1983), and died of lung cancer complications on Feb. 7, 1998, at the age of 51. He was survived by his two sons, Jonah and Justyne, and his second wife, Gina Martin.

Mike Love

<p>Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images</p>

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

<p>Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images</p>

Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Mike Love had an up-and-down relationship with the other founding members, specifically his cousin Brian. Love gained songwriting credits to nearly three dozen songs and was awarded $5 million after suing Brian in the 1990s. Despite the tumultuous relationship, Brian returned to perform with the group, including Love, in 2012. In a recent interview with BBC Radio, Love hoped Brian would still make music with the band even with his reported declining health.

Love released a memoir, Good Vibrations, in 2016 and has four solo albums to his name.

Related: 'Party of Five' Cast: Where Are They Now?

Al Jardine

<p>Photo by Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images</p>

Photo by Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images

<p>Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images</p>

Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Al Jardine played rhythm guitarist for the Beach Boys in "Surfin'" but departed the band before the other founding members signed on with Capitol. He came back and toured with the group after David Marks left in 1963, consistently performing on tours through the 1990s. He was the lead singer on "Help Me Rhonda," which surged to No. 1 on the charts.

After leaving the group again in 1998, Jardine went on to write a children's book, Sloop John B: A Pirate's Tale, in 2005. He also released a solo album, A Postcard From California. Jardine has continued to work with his former bandmates, including embarking on the group's 50th-anniversary reunion tour in 2012. That same year, he teamed up with Brian, Mike, Bruce and David to produce the album That's Why God Made the Radio.

As of May 2024, Jardine is still performing live music.

David Marks

David Marks at the California Saga 2 benefit concert.<p>Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images</p>
David Marks at the California Saga 2 benefit concert.

Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

David Marks joined the Beach Boys on rhythm guitar when Jardine exited in 1962. You can hear him on "Surfin' Safari," "Surfin' U.S.A.," "Surfer Girl" and "Little Deuce." Marks left the Beach Boys in 1963 but returned in the late 1990s to tour with the group when Carl had to stop performing due to cancer.

Marks has had his own health issues, notably hepatitis C, a disease that he publicly battled until 2004. He published a memoir, The Lost Beach Boy: The True Story of David Marks, in 2007.

Marks made a rare public appearance in 2019 with Jardine to raise money for homelessness at California Saga 2. However, he has kept a low profile for the last 10 years.

Bruce Johnston

<p>Photo by Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images</p>

Photo by Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images

<p>Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney</p>

Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Bruce Johnston joined the Beach Boys in 1965 and made his studio debut on "California Girls." He left the group in 1972 and produced three solo albums. He also earned a Grammy for his contribution to Barry Manilow's 1977 single, "I Write the Songs."

Johnston made his Beach Boys comeback in 1978 and has continued to perform with the group over the years. He also joined Love in the UK to promote the Disney+ documentary The Beach Boys.

Related: 'Happy Days' Cast: Where Are They Now?

Ricky Fataar

<p>Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images</p>

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

South African-born Ricky Fataar joined the Beach Boys on drums in 1972 and appeared on tracks including "Here She Comes" and "Hold on Dear Brother." Fataar's time with the Beach Boys was short-lived, however—he left the band in 1974. Still, his music career has spanned decades, as he's collaborated with the likes of Etta James (Seven Year Itch) and Elton John (Duets). He's also had a decades-long professional relationship with Bonnie Raitt, most recently appearing on drums for the studio album Just Like That..., which was released in April 2022.

Blondie Chaplin

<p>Photo by RB/Redferns</p>

Photo by RB/Redferns

<p>Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic</p>

Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Blondie Chaplin, also a South African native, joined the Beach Boys with Fataar and credited Carl for making him feel comfortable. Nonetheless, Chaplin left the group in 1973, later telling Rolling Stone his departure came after an "altercation" with Love's brother, Stephen.

Chaplin was a vocalist on Brian's 2015 album No Pier Pressure and began touring with him the following year on the 2016 Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary Tour.

Chaplin has also collaborated with Raitt and was a backing bass and backing vocalist numerous times for the Rolling Stones, most recently for the band's Licked Live in NYC in 2022.

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