The Beach Boys are a highly acclaimed and influential veteran pop/surf rock band that became famous beginning in the early 1960s. Their unique sound, which incorporates elements of 1950s pop vocal music, early rock & roll, and R&B, comes from their soaring harmonic vocals and novel musical arrangements as can be heard on such classics as "Good Vibrations" (1966). The Beach Boys' many other signature songs, most of which capture the carefree spirit of the Southern California surfing scene during the early-mid 1960s, also include "Surfin' U.S.A." (1963), "I Get Around" (1964), "Help Me, Rhonda" (1965), "Barbara Ann" (1966), "Rock And Roll Music" (1976), and "Kokomo" (1988).
Formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California while most of the members were still in their teens, the original lineup consisted of brothers Brian (b. June 20, 1942), Carl (December 21, 1946 - February 6, 1998), and Dennis Wilson (December 4, 1944 - December 28, 1983), their cousin Mike Love (b. March 15, 1941), and their friend Al Jardine (b. September 3, 1942). All members shared background vocals, with Mike Love (percussion, saxophone, Theremin) serving as lead singer on most of the band's hits. Brian Wilson (bass, keyboards) took the lead with his distinctive falsetto on many of the band's more balladic songs, and Al Jardine (rhythm guitar, bass), Carl Wilson (lead and rhythm guitar, keyboards), and Dennis Wilson (drums, keyboards) also took turns as lead singer. The band first recorded on Candix and in 1962, moved to Capitol and released their debut album, "Surfin' Safari," the first in a long string of gold- and platinum-certified recordings that also includes the critically acclaimed "Pet Sounds" (1966). Brian Wilson served as main songwriter and arranger for most of the band's hits along with Mike Love as chief lyricist.
The Beach Boys debuted on the Pop/Rock charts in early 1962 with "Surfin," a quirky, upbeat novelty tune co-written by Wilson and Love. They had their first Top 20 hit later that year with "Surfin' Safari," and their fame took off the following year with "Surfin' U.S.A." (1963), the first of many Top 5 hits. The Beach Boys topped the charts with "I Get Around" (1964), "Help Me, Rhonda" (1965), "Good Vibrations" (1966), and "Kokomo" (1988), the latter of which is part of the soundtrack to "Cocktail" (1988) starring Tom Cruise. Other top hits include "Fun, Fun, Fun" (1964), "California Girls" (1965), "Sloop John B" (1966), "Wouldn't It Be Nice" (1966), "Rock And Roll Music" (1976), and the band's remake of The Regents' "Barbara Ann" (1966) for which Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean provided lead vocals along with Brian Wilson. "Surfin' U.S.A." later had a resurgence in popularity when it recharted in 1974 and made the Top 40. The Beach Boys very long string of hits continued throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and (on the Adult Contemporary chart) most of the 1990s.
The Beach Boys had a number of personnel changes and additions over the years, and all original members also pursued solo careers. Supporting musicians for both live performances and studio recordings included, at various times, Glen Campbell (guitar), Daryl ("Captain") Dragon and Toni Tennille (keyboards), and Charles Lloyd (saxophone). The Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and their numerous honors and accolades also include a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2001). With over 100 million records sold worldwide to date, they remain among pop music's all-time most popular acts and have continued to perform and record to the present day.
- For more info about the history of The Beach Boys and their current projects, visit thebeachboys.com.
- The New York Times remembers Carl and Dennis Wilson.
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- Caroline, No 1966
The Beach Boys
- Barbara Ann 1966
(This song was previously a hit for the Regents (1961).)
- Be True To Your School 1963
- California Girls 1965
(This song later also became a hit for David Lee Roth (1985).)
- Dance, Dance, Dance 1964
- Darlin' 1967
(This song later also became a hit for Paul Davis featuring Susan Collins (1978) and Yipes!! (1980).)
- Do It Again 1968
- Do You Wanna Dance? 1965
(This oldies classic was previously a hit for Bobby Freeman (1958) and Del Shannon (1964) and later also became a hit for the Mamas & the Papas (1968), Love Society (1968, slow version), Bette Midler (1973, slow version), and the Ramones (1978).)
- Don't Worry Baby 1964
(This song later also became a hit for the Tokens (1970) and B.J. Thomas (1977).)
- Fun, Fun, Fun 1964
- God Only Knows 1966
(This song later also became a hit for Marilyn Scott (1978).)
- Good Vibrations 1966
(This song topped the charts and later also became a hit for Todd Rundgren (1976). In this oldies classic, the electro-theremin is featured prominently. "Good Vibrations" is ranked at #6 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It is also included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.)
- Help Me, Rhonda 1965
(This song topped the charts and later also became a hit for Johnny Rivers (1975).)
- Heroes And Villains 1967
- I Can Hear Music 1969
(This song was previously a hit for the Ronettes (1966).)
- I Get Around 1964
(This song topped the charts.)
- In My Room 1963
(This song later also became a hit for Sagittarius (1969).)
- Little Deuce Coupe 1963
- The Little Girl I Once Knew 1965
- Shut Down 1963
- Sloop John B 1966
(This song was previously a hit for Jimmie Rodgers (1960).)
- Surfer Girl 1963
- Surfin' Safari 1962
- Surfin' U.S.A. 1963
(This song later recharted for the Beach Boys in 1974 and also became a hit for Leif Garrett (1977).)
- When I Grow Up (To Be A Man) 1964
- Wild Honey 1967
- Wouldn't It Be Nice 1966
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