On November 5th, 1982, The Beach Boys finally decided that enough was enough and Brian Wilson was fired from the band that he played such a pivotal role in shaping, forging the group into one of America’s finest ever exports and one who had helped reimagine what pop music was in the 1960s.
The Beach Boys were no longer the same band that was churning out constant hit after hit and had suffered somewhat of a dramatic decline both commercially as well as critically. Together, the band had become a shadow of their former selves. Their 1979 M.I.U. Album was a low-point for the group, the record failing to chart in the top 150 and their next two full-length efforts before 1982 didn’t do much better, their relevancy had firmly slipped away from their grasp.
In an April 1980 interview, Carl Wilson reflected on the group’s decline: “The last two years have been the most important and difficult time of our career. We were at the ultimate crossroads,” Carl noted. “We had to decide whether what we had been involved in since we were teenagers had lost its meaning. We asked ourselves and each other the difficult questions we’d often avoided in the past.”
He then left the group within a year after becoming upset with the band’s nostalgia format and his departure set the wheels in motion for Brian then receiving his P45. Brian’s wellbeing had succumbed to addiction and he was no longer the man who could physically function on the same high level of creativity he once could.
After a year away, Carl returned to the band and he wanted them to get Brian back firing on all cylinders to try to shift the band away from this lazy nostalgia fuelled act that they had become. Brian then overdosed on a cocktail of alcohol, cocaine, and a plethora of other drugs as his bandmates went all out to try to get him to recover to full health. Therapist Eugene Landy was employed and they officially removed him from the group on November 5th as a way of as a method of tough love after all else had failed.
The sacking happened during a meeting at the band’s lawyer’s office, where he was given a letter stating: “This is to advise you that your services as an employee of Brother Records Inc. and otherwise are hereby terminated, effective immediately. This action is taken in your best interest and is not reversible. We wish you the best of health.”
Landy became very controlling over every minute detail in Brian’s life which, in the short term, worked with Wilson but it did also have an adverse effect as the musician felt increasingly trapped because of how Landy was treating him. A bitter legal dispute would then commence Landy would be fired by the band after disputing the amount he was getting paid with him demanding close to $500,000 a year.
The following year would see Dennis Wilson tragically lose his life and The Beach Boys never quite snapping out of being a nostalgia act, with the 1980s mainly being spent in the abyss yet again for the band whose best days were truly behind them.