A pair of legendary bands, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys, celebrated their 50th anniversaries this year in exciting and multifaceted fashion.

Time may not be on The Rolling Stones’ side anymore, but you’d never know it by the way the British rock legends spent 2012.  Early in the year much speculation circulated in the media about if and how the band would celebrate reaching the half-century mark.  Then, in March, news emerged that a major documentary about the band was being put together that included the participation of the entire group, as well as former Stones bassist Bill Wyman and guitarist Mick Taylor.  The movie, Crossfire Hurricane, would premiere in London on October 18, and would make its U.S. debut on November 14 in New York City.

In July, the band members all came out for the opening of a London photography exhibit that coincided with the 50th anniversary of the group’s first show.  In September, The Stones announced that November would see them release a career-spanning, multi-disc compilation titled GRRR!, which also would include two brand-new songs, “Doom and Gloom” and “One More Shot.”

Finally, on October 15, The Stones revealed that they would be playing four shows in November and December, dubbed 50 & Counting: The Rolling Stones Live.  The first pair of concerts were scheduled in London on November 25 and 29, followed by a second pair in Newark, New Jersey, on December 13 and 15.  The band later added a fifth 50 & Counting concert, on December 8 in Brooklyn, New York.  

All of the shows featured at least a couple of special guests, with Wyman and Taylor appearing at both London concerts.  Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck also were among the luminaries who hit the stage with The Stones in the U.K.  However, the band perhaps saved the best for last.  The December 15 concert in Newark aired as a pay-per-view special titled One More Shot, and featured guest spots from Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, The Black Keys, John Mayer and up-and-coming guitar whiz Gary Clark Jr.  The Stones also were among the many stars who performed at 12.12.12 — The Concert for Sandy Relief at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on December 12.

With The Stones’ 2012 plans behind them, fans are wondering whether the rockers will tour more extensively in 2013.  The band has yet to confirm any dates, although judging by at least some of the members’ comments in the press, it may be just a matter of time before they get the crowds rocking again.

As for The Beach Boys, the often-contentious surviving original members not only were able to put aside their differences to come together for a full-fledged 50th anniversary tour, they also recorded a brand-new studio album, That’s Why God Made the Radio.  The record, which was released on June 5, was the first by the band to include the full participation of main songwriter Brian Wilson since 1985′s self-titled collection.  The album received very strong reviews and ended up bowing at #3 on the Billboard 200, marking the band’s highest-ever debut on the chart.

As for the tour, it truly was a celebration of The Beach Boys’ music, featuring a set list that spanned the group’s entire career and including a number of obscure gems in addition to many of the band’s beloved hits.  The trek got under way on April 24 in Tucson, Arizona, and ran all summer long and beyond, to a September 28 show at London’s Royal Albert Hall.  Unfortunately, after the summer ended so did the reunion tour, to the chagrin of Wilson and fellow founding member Al Jardine.  They both wanted to continue with the anniversary festivities, but Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, who’ve been leading the touring version of The Beach Boys for many years, announced that the band would begin playing shows with the pre-reunion lineup in October.  Despite the conflict, Wilson continues to express interest in touring and recording with Love and the rest of the old band members in the future.  Love, meanwhile, has said he will consider working with the band’s reunion lineup after the new year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio