Beach Boy Bruce can trace his roots back to Armagh

The Beach Boys current line-up featuring founder member Mike Love and long-time member Bruce Johnston (front row)

The Beach Boys current line-up featuring founder member Mike Love and long-time member Bruce Johnston (front row)

Beach Boy Bruce Johnston has revealed his family ties to Co Armagh ahead of the band’s show in the SSE Arena tomorrow night.

“My people are from Markethill,” said the 74-year-old keyboard player who joined the Beach Boys in 1965.

“So many people left Ireland and came to America back in the 1800s. My grandparents met in America but they were both from Markethill.

“The surnames of my people who came over to America were Johnston, Robinson and Greer.”

He said despite a number of visits to Northern Ireland with the band he has never had a chance to visit Markethill due to tight touring schedules.

Despite their advancing years, Mr Johnston said the band – which includes founding member Mike Love – would be playing 173 dates this year.

He said: “Every night we play a concert we change the set list. The running order is never the same.

“We’ll be playing a beautiful cross-section of everything about the Beach Boys. You’ll hear lots of hits and some album treasures.”

He said the set would have over 50 songs and would include a short interval.

Mr Johnston was a recording manager before joining the band at 21 to fill in on live duties. He joined the band officially in April 1965.

Asked what his favourite Beach Boys’ song was, he said: “The Warmth Of The Sun. Mike and Brian wrote it on the eve of President Kennedy being shot. What a song. It’s scary it’s so perfect.

“That will definitely be on the set list in Belfast.”