The Beach Boys: 21st paternal cousins, once removed.
I honestly cannot remember a time when The Beach Boys' music was not a part of my life. My parents listened to them in the car when we went on Sunday drives (played on a trusty old 8-track tape!) and I listened to them as I entered my teens on records that I purchased, and then on cassette tapes when I became old enough to get my driver's license and my own car. I loved the sound of the The Beach Boys music, and they created a whole world of cars, sun, beaches and good times in my mind; it is how I still picture California today - sun, sand, cruising in hot rods and endless summer days.
Imagine my surprise then when I accidentally discovered that I was related to Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson as I was researching more of my paternal lineage a few weeks ago. At first I thought that the names were an odd coincidence, and when I confirmed that they were not coincidentally the same names of the Beach Boys band members, but were actually my distant cousins, I was shocked - and thrilled! A little later I discovered that a 4th band member, Mike Love, was also my cousin. That made 4 out of 5 of the original Beach Boys as family members with only Al Jardine as the non-cousin. Oh well, you can't win them all!
My discovery came as I was researching my paternal lineage, and my relationship to the Wilson brothers is through their father, Murry Gage Wilson, my 21st cousin. Mike Love is the same familial distance to me as the Wilson brothers as his mother, Emily Glee Wilson was also a 21st cousin. Emily married Milton Edward Love, and Mike is one of their children.
My discovery that most of The Beach Boys were cousins was just the start of what I like to call my "musical discovery tour" as I was soon to find more musicians in the old family tree. But that story will have to wait until later, as each artist deserves their own page, IMHO.
The story of The Beach Boys is well known, and there is not a lot that I can really add here that people don't already know. The band has changed a lot over the 5 decades that they have been around, and sadly Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson have passed on. The Beach Boys still continues as a band today, with different members, but the same great sounds and promises of the good life in California.
I have never met any of The Beach Boys, nor is it likely that I will ever meet my remaining two cousins, Brian Wilson and Mike Love in person, but their music has, and always will have, a special place in my heart. The Beach Boys seemed to have an uncanny way of reaching inside our dreams and bringing those dreams to life in their music. Their songs have brightened many days for this writer, and their promise of a land filled with sun, sand, beautiful women, fast cars and good times remain as relevant today as when they were first sung.
Thank you to my cousins, and Al Jardine, for giving us all an "Endless Summer".