Music-loving late-night host Jimmy Fallon devoted most of his show Monday night on NBC to the Beach Boys, the southern California rock legends who are marking their 50th anniversary.
It was an unusual booking for Jimmy and “Late Night,” a show whose guests, generally speaking, skew younger in their appeal than a band whose most prolific and successful years were in the 1960s.
As you’ll see in the clips here, Jimmy was awed by this opportunity to interview band members Mike Love and Brian Wilson — 71 and 69, respectively. At the same time, the two presented a challenge to a late-night host more accustomed to bantering with younger show business personalities.
As a result, the host and guests got into topics we don’t hear about too often on late-night TV. In the first part of their interview, the three talked about Brian Wilson’s unique talent for creating and arranging the group’s famous harmonies.
His inspiration: The Four Freshmen, a quartet formed in the 1940s. The subject arose when Jimmy mentioned that the Beach Boys were last inside his studio at NBC headquarters in New York in 1968, when they appeared on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show,” which was then originating from New York City.
They sang a song that night called “Their Hearts Were Full of Spring,” which was a Four Freshmen song. To his credit, Jimmy seemed knowledgeable about the Four Freshmen and eagerly discussed their work. He even got to harmonize with the two Beach Boys on “Barbara Ann,” which was obviously a thrill for him.
In Part 2 of their interview, Brian Wilson told a story about the one and only time he came face to face with Elvis Presley. The encounter was all-too-brief as the mercurial King of Rock ‘n’ Roll apparently took offense with a gesture Wilson meant to be playful and walked away.
The Beach Boys’ rare visit to “Late Night” was apparently so momentous that Fallon and his producers arranged for them to perform not one, but three songs — two of their iconic hits, plus the title song from their new CD called “That’s Why God Made the Radio.”