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April 17, 2014

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Mike Love talks Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary, possible Brian Wilson reunion

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The Beach Boys.

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Bruce Johnston and Mike Love.

The Beach Boys are gearing up for next year’s 50th anniversary, and Mike Love told me that his cousin, founder and longtime member Brian Wilson, is discussing possibly reuniting with them for future writing and recording. Tonight, they host a one-night-only poolside concert at The Venetian to play their chart-topping hits that have sold more than 100 million records worldwide and racked up 32 platinum and gold albums.

“It’s very difficult to pick a real favorite,” laughed Mike when I talked with him before he flew here. “I’m proudest of all, though, with ‘Good Vibrations.’ I think it really says what we are all about. We must have played it somewhere over 7,500 times over the years. … If I had a nickel for every … fortunately, I do!”

Their other eternal anthems of summer and American youth include the first big hit “Surfin’ ” in 1961, as well as “California Girls,” “Help Me Rhonda,” “Surfer Girl,” “I Get Around,” “Fun Fun Fun,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Surfin’ USA” and “Kokomo.”

“We’re still out there doing 150 shows a year, and the sound has reached all the way around the globe. Close your eyes and not only do we today replicate exactly how the original songs sounded, but the technology has gotten better so we even sound better. We’re still touring and gets ton of offers every summer. Our schedule this year includes Ireland, Sweden , Spain and the Canary Islands,” Mike said.

“The band is great. We’re celebrating great times, and the good-time sounds of summer outdoors still make people happy. We never get tired of the music. We’d do it as a hobby if it hadn’t become our profession. We could never have foreseen it happening for such a long career, but it’s been a blessing. We have traveled the world … and have met incredible people from Marlon Brando to Elizabeth Taylor.

“We began in the fall of 1961, and our first tour was in 1962, and it’s been nonstop since then. Now we’re gearing up for the 50th anniversary, and Brian Wilson, who has been working on some unfinished Gershwin music project, will rejoin us. I’m sad that Carl Wilson passed away 11, 12 years ago from the same lung cancer problem that claimed the life of George Harrison. That was not a fun time for us. But I am happy that now my son Christian is in the group. Yes, the lineup has changed over the years, but it’s been pretty consistent the past several years. “

Mike’s cousins Dennis Wilson died in 1983, and Carl died in 1998. Founding member Al Jardine left to pursue a solo career, and Brian withdrew to battle mental illness and drug problems. Today, Al has a touring band, Endless Summer, with his sons, and Brian has a 10-piece band of his own. The core quintet was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

Summer officially begins as you catch a wave at 8 p.m. at The Venetian pool. “There’s no better way than with an open-air concert by the water with The Beach Boys,” said Chris Yancey, The Venetian and Palazzo’s entertainment director.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.