Wilson said that "Rubber Soul" inspired "Pet Sounds" - and that "Pet Sounds" inspired "Sgt. Pepper."
But when Wilson tried to answer "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with his own masterpiece, "Smile," the band rebelled.
"The guys didn't like it," he said. "They thought it was too experimental and it wasn't, you know - I don't know." He said he was "disappointed" by their reaction.
"Some writer said that I didn't want to put out the 'Smile' album. I didn't have anything to do with that," said Love. "I had an issue with some of the lyrics, 'cause I thought they were too obtuse."
Wilson would abandon "Smile" for nearly 40 years, descending into a long period of drug use and mental illness. Without him, the Beach Boys became mostly a nostalgia act.
Dennis Wilson drowned in 1983, Carl Wilson died of cancer in 1998. Divided by feuds and lawsuits, the surviving members looked like they'd never reunite.
But this Spring, when they returned to the studio together for the first time in at least 20 years to make a new record, the bitterness fell away.
"Brian says to me after we did 'Do It Again,' 'How does a 70-year-old guy sound so good?'" Love laughed.
"I meant that literally, not in a bad way, though!" Wilson said. "It was a compliment."
"No, I understand it was a compliment. I mean, that's the point!"
Four of the five members will be in their seventies before the year is out, but the Beach Boys are trying to catch one more wave.
When asked whether they can do it at this point - get back together and "forget all that stuff," as Mason said, Love replied, "Yeah. You can let the past screw with your head for a lifetime. Or you can say, 'All we have is right now.'"
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