Sea of Tunes

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Sea of Tunes
StatusDefunct (1969)
Founded1962 (1962)
FounderMurry Wilson
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationLos Angeles
Publication typesSongs

Sea of Tunes was a music publishing company, founded in 1962 by Murry Wilson. Murry was the first manager of the Beach Boys; father of Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson; and uncle of Mike Love. The intention of Sea of Tunes was to publish and promote the songs written primarily by Brian.[not verified in body]

Sale to Irving Almo Music[edit]

After the Beach Boys dismissed Murry Wilson as their manager in 1964, he continued to serve as their publisher.[1] In May 1969, Brian Wilson told the music press that the group's funds were depleted to the point that they were considering filing for bankruptcy at the end of the year, which Disc & Music Echo called "stunning news" and a "tremendous shock on the American pop scene".[2] In August, Murry, his wife Audree, and Brian allegedly signed away Sea of Tunes to Irving Almo Music, for the undervalued amount of $700,000 (equivalent to $4.78 million in 2018).[3][4] Brian, according to his wife Marilyn Wilson, was devastated by the sale.[5]

Mike Love wrote, in his 2016 memoir, that the group signed away their rights to the songs under duress, and that in the late 1980s, it was discovered that the exchange was part of an elaborate plan orchestrated over two years by Abe Somer, the Beach Boys' lawyer. Somer concealed the fact that he was also Irving Music's lawyer, marking a conflict of interest.[6] Over the years, the catalog would generate more than $100 million in publishing royalties, none of which Murry nor the band members ever received.[7] By 1994, the catalog was estimated to be worth $40 million ($67.6 million in 2018).[8]

In the early 1990s, years after Murry's death, Brian claimed fraud and sued for the return of his song copyrights.[1] The suit suggested that Brian's signature may have been forged, "plus malpractice, misrepresentations, suppression of facts, breach of contract and conflicts of interest," making the sale illegal.[9][10] While he failed to recover them in court, he was awarded $25 million in damages, including unpaid and underpaid royalties.[11][not in citation given]

Mike Love credits[edit]

Love v. Wilson
U.S. District Court
Date decidedDecember 12, 1994 (1994-12-12)
Judge sittingWilliam J. Rea
Plaintiff(s)Mike Love
Defendant(s)Brian Wilson

Mike Love alleged that he was owed credit to 79 Beach Boys songs.[12] Love explained that Murry never credited him for many of the songs he had co-written with Brian, and therefore, he had also lost out on royalties.[8] He said he "didn't know how badly I had been abused until I was deposed in Brian's pursuit of his claims against Irving Almo and Mitchell Silverburg and Nutt, which was the attorney representing the Beach Boys and Irving Almo. An inherent conflict of interest there."[13] Love hoped that "we don't have to go to trial because it's going to destroy Brian. He's going to be destroyed in depositions, first of all, let alone getting him in court."[13]

They were unable to come up with a settlement, and so Love filed suit against Wilson in 1992.[8] After an eight-week-long trial and eight days of deliberation, on December 12, 1994, Love won the case.[8] The jury ruled that Love and Wilson were partners, that Wilson or his agents concealed material facts with the intention of defrauding Love, and that they engaged in promissory fraud with respect to publishing credits and royalties, and that Love was owed the 35 songs disputed. Love later called it "almost certainly the largest case of fraud in music history".[14] He was subsequently awarded a co-writing credit to 35 songs that were published from 1962 to 1966, as well as $13 million.[8]

Awarded credits[15]

Other disputed credits[edit]

Bootleg label[edit]

In 1997, a label named after the publishing company issued a slew of unauthorized bootleg recordings sourced from Beach Boys archives.[20]



  1. ^ a b Van Matre, Lynn (October 13, 1991). "Child Of Abuse: Beach Boy Brian Wilson Finally Tells His Story, And It Isn`t Pretty". Chicago Tribune.
  2. ^ Wilson, Brian (May 31, 1969). "Why we're in such a struggle for cash". Disc & Music Echo. p. 7.
  3. ^ Carlin 2006, p. 145.
  4. ^ Love 2016, p. 226.
  5. ^ Gaines 1986, p. 224–225.
  6. ^ Love 2016, pp. 225–226, 376–377.
  7. ^ Love 2016, p. 227.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Beach Boys' Mike Love Wins His Case, Stands to Collect Millions". Los Angeles Times. December 13, 1994. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  9. ^ Letovski, Irv (September 19, 1989). "Brian Wilson Sues Music Publisher". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  10. ^ Heller, Karen (October 23, 1991). "A Beach Boy's Blues For Brian Wilson, The Days Of "Fun, Fun, Fun" Have Ebbed. Although He Has A New Book, He's Also Involved In Several Lawsuits. "drugs," He Says, "put A Gash In My Mind."". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  11. ^ "Beach Boy Wilson Sues Law Firm Over 1969 Sales". Los Angeles Times. September 18, 1990. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
  12. ^ Bates, James (October 4, 1994). "COMPANY TOWN : No Harmony in Beach Boy Suit Between Cousins Love and Wilson". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ a b "Good Vibrations? The Beach Boys' Mike Love gets his turn". Goldmine. September 18, 1992.
  14. ^ Love 2016, p. 373.
  15. ^ Doe, Andrew G. "Album Archive". Bellagio 10452. Endless Summer Quarterly.
  16. ^ Hedegaard, Erik (February 17, 2016). "The Ballad of Mike Love". Rolling Stone.
  17. ^ Wilson, Brian (November 1976). "KRTH" (Interview: Audio). Interviewed by Jim Pewter. New York City.; Brian Wilson - Jim Pewter Interview 1974 (audio) on YouTube
  18. ^ Dillon, Mark (2012). Fifty Sides of the Beach Boys: The Songs That Tell Their Story. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-77090-198-8.[page needed]
  19. ^ Carlin 2006, p. 278.
  20. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (December 23, 1999). "The Forever Frown". Phoenix New Times Music. Retrieved July 29, 2013.