Beach Boys Not Too Old to Rock 'n Roll

They're in their 60s and still on tour, 40 years after their classic album "Pet Sounds" was released in 1966. That raises a question: Are the Beach Boys too old to rock out?

The band, formed in 1961, pioneered the Southern California surfing sound with hits like "California Girls" and "Surfin' USA." The Beach Boys, in one incarnation or another, have toured nearly nonstop ever since.

You can see the Beach Boys perform live on "Good Morning America" this Friday.

The group, however, has changed significantly since its beginnings. Brian Wilson, the band's founder and main lyricist and composer, stopped touring with the band in the late 1960s but, despite his struggle with mental illness, continued to write music. In December 1983, Brian's brother, Dennis Wilson, drowned. And in 1988, another brother, Carl Wilson, succumbed to lung cancer at age 51.

Only two band members from the early days still perform as the Beach Boys -- Mike Love, 65, a founding member, and Bruce Johnston, 62, who joined the group in the 1960s -- and they see no reason to stop.

"If you love what you do and it has a following and people want to hear you and you love music -- there is no reason to quit," Love told ABC News in an interview last year.

Classic rock acts like the Beach Boys also sell tickets.The Rolling Stones were the highest-grossing concert draw in 2005-06, bringing in $437 million in ticket sales.

"You see acts like the Rolling Stones, Madonna and Paul McCartney. These are people that can reliably sell out places like Madison Square Garden and sell tickets for big money," said Nathan Brackett, senior editor at Rolling Stone magazine.

With more music being sold or downloaded online, it's more important for musicians to bring in money at concerts, and it also helps performers connect with their listeners.

"There is kind of a vacuum where the album used to be ... live music is kind of filling that void," Brackett said.

A Show for All Ages

Brackett said that for many baby boomers, going to a concert has replaced a night out at the theater. But baby boomers aren't the only ones showing up at classic rock concerts.

"A lot of kids are realizing that a lot of these bands might not be around forever," he said.

Plus, Brackett said, you know what you're paying for. "These classic rockers have been doing it for decades, and you can be guaranteed a good show," he said.

Most of the performers are playing a mix of their old and new songs; the Beach Boys and Rolling Stones are no exception.

"People who go to see the Rolling Stones by and large really don't want to hear their new albums. You have to give them the hits if you are playing a big tour. The Beach Boys know that. No one is looking for the Beach Boys to come up with a new sound," Brackett said.

Love said that he doesn't have a problem with giving fans what they want. "I believe that people come to your concerts or tune in to a TV program you're on to see and hear the songs they identify you with. I can't imagine not doing those in a concert setting," Love said.

Johnston added: "We've made so many new songs that they are now old."

Time to Retire?

When it comes to retirement, Brackett said the musicians look at it like most Americans.

"These artists are just like the rest of us. They need to feel like they are leading productive lives," he said. "They are ambitious people. They like to feel like they are doing good things and making people happy."

The retirement age, after all, is 65. But the thought of these classical musicians retiring has left music enthusiasts like Brackett asking who will replace them.

"It's a big business. It will be interesting to see if anyone fills the hole where a lot of these classic rockers were," he said. "A large chunk of the concert industry depends on these guys."

Andrew Horowitz can imagine himself still rocking into old age. "I think as long as you are still creating music and you are enjoying what you are doing you are never too old," he said.

Love, who is just south of 65, said he would never say never to retiring, but he does enjoy what he is doing.

"It's not like working at General Motors for 25 years. We look forward to what we do every single night and every single day. We have been afforded a wonderful life. We appreciate that and we love to do it," Love said.