Company Town : Beach Boys’ Mike Love Wins His Case, Stands to Collect Millions : Music: A federal jury sides with lead singer in a dispute over an award related to the sale of the group’s song catalogue.

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Beach Boys lead singer Mike Love on Monday won songwriting credits and past and future royalties for 35 of the group’s songs, a decision that could net him at least $2 million.

A federal jury unanimously found that band co-founder Brian Wilson and his lawyers failed to make good on a promise to give Love a 30% share of a $10-million settlement Wilson won in connection with the 1969 sale of the band’s songs.

The upcoming damages phase of the trial will determine exactly how much money Love will receive, as well as punitive damages.


Jurors found that Wilson was not liable for punitive damages but that attorneys who represented him in the song-sale case are liable. Love sat quietly as the judge read the 25-page verdict form, which took 28 minutes to complete. Wilson was not in the courtroom.

Jurors reached their verdict after deliberating over an eight-day period after an eight-week trial. Love had argued that he deserved money and additional writing credits for his alleged contributions to 79 songs, from “California Girls” to “Good Vibrations.”

Wilson’s lawyers argued that Love is about 30 years too late in bringing up the matter, further alleging that he was seeking credit for songs he didn’t write or hardly contributed to.

Love asked for a third of a $10-million out-of-court settlement Wilson received in 1992 after he alleged that the Beach Boys’ “Sea of Tunes” song catalogue was fraudulently sold by his domineering father, the late Murry Wilson, for $700,000 to Irving Music.

The $700,000 paid for the catalogue is considered a huge bargain today. Some estimate it could be worth $40 million or more.

During the trial, both Love and Wilson took the stand to testify, along with other members of the group, including Bruce Johnston and Al Jardine.