The Top 20 Beach Boys Songs You Need To Hear

Beach Boys

The Beach Boys were one of the most popular bands in the ’60s, and their music has had a huge influence on many artists over the years. The group’s sound was very distinctive, with Brian Wilson’s intricate vocal arrangements, the harmonies of brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson, Mike Love’s distinctive lead vocals, and Al Jardine’s high-energy rhythm guitar playing.

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Who are the Beach Boys?

The Beach Boys are a rock band formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961. The band’s original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson; their cousin Mike Love; and their friend Al Jardine. Distinguished by their vocal harmonies and early California sound, they are one of the most influential acts of the rock era. The band drew on the music of jazz-based vocal groups, 1950s rock and roll, and black R&B to create their unique sound. They gave themselves the nickname “the Beach Boys” because they started out playing at a small club near the ocean in southern California.

The Beach Boys’ 20 greatest songs of all time

The Beach Boys are one of the most iconic bands in music history. Their sound has been copied by artists all over the world, but no band can recreate the magic of those early recordings.

The Beach Boys have been recording since 1961, and they’ve released over 70 albums during that time. To narrow down their best songs is a daunting task, but here are 20 of their best tracks.

1961 – “Surfin”

The Beach Boys were still a young band when they recorded their first hit, “Surfin’,” in 1961. Brian Wilson had only recently joined the group, and he wrote this song to emulate Chuck Berry’s classic “Sweet Little Sixteen.” The band soon became known for its California sound, which originated from Wilson’s obsession with the state and its beach culture. He also helped make them famous for their falsetto vocals.

1962 – “Surfin’ Safari”

Surfin’ Safari is the debut album by American rock band the Beach Boys, released on April 10, 1962. Lead single, “Surfin’“, was later credited with creating the genre of California Sound, a music aesthetic primarily revolving around surfing, hot rod culture, and youthful innocence.

1963 – “Surfin’ USA”

Brian Wilson wrote the lyrics to “Surfin’ USA” and set them to the melody of “Sweet Little Sixteen” by Chuck Berry. It celebrates the southern California surf culture. Peaking at #3 on the US pop singles chart, “Surfin’ USA” was also the title song for the group’s first top 10 charting albums. It peaked at #2 and spent more than a year on the album chart.

1963 – “Surfer Girl”

” Surfer Girl” is the first Beach Boys song written solely by Brian Wilson.The lyrics were inspired by Judy Bowles, Wilson’s first serious girlfriend, whom he had dated for three and a half years.

1963 – “Be True To Your School”

A song from the Beach Boys’ 1963 album Little Deuce Coupe. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, it was released as a single on October 28, 1963. Although the song is a tribute to Hawthorne High School attended by the Wilson brothers, the University of Wisconsin fight song “Ten, Wisconsin! It contains the melody of ”. It uses the same melody as the Hawthorne High fight song “On Wisconsin.”

1963 – “In My Room”

This was another early hit by the band that showcased Brian Wilson’s songwriting abilities. It reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but it was never released as a single because of its length over six minutes long! The lyrics describe how he feels safe inside his room alone at home while wishing that he could be happy with someone else rather than just himself.

1964 – “I Get Around”

“I Get Around” is a song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for the American rock band The Beach Boys, released in 1964 as the group’s first single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was also the band’s first million-selling hit single and their second number-one hit in the U.S., following “Surfin’ U.S.A.” (1962).

The song was produced by Murry Wilson, father of Brian and Carl Wilson, who had earlier been ousted from his position as manager of The Beach Boys. He wanted to make sure that his son’s compositions would be recorded by the group, so he used some of his own money to pay for studio time at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California on April 16, 1964 where “I Get Around” was recorded. The song features Carl Wilson on lead vocal with Mike Love providing harmony vocals along with Brian Wilson who sings falsetto during the verses.

1964 – “Don’t Worry Baby”

“Don’t Worry Baby” is a song written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian as a Beach Boys single, backed with “I Get Around” in 1964. The band recorded the track on February 15, 1964 at Western Studios in Los Angeles. It was released as the band’s first number one hit and remains one of their most popular songs.

 

1964 – “Dance, Dance, Dance”

Beach Boys member Carl Wilson is credited with co-writing “Dance, Dance, Dance.” It was his first writing credit on a Beach Boys single. He contributed the song’s guitar solo and riff. Released at the peak of the British Invasion, “Dance, Dance, Dance” only climbed to #8 on the US pop chart.

1964 – “Fun, Fun, Fun”

“Fun, Fun, Fun” is one of the Beach Boys’ most famous songs. It was released as a single in 1964 and reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. It was also released on their 1965 album Shut Down Volume 2.

1965 – “Help Me, Rhonda”

The Beach Boys were already known for their harmonies before this song came out in 1965, but this track showed off their vocal abilities on a whole new level. It’s a classic summer song that will always be associated with carefree times and fun in the sun.

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1965 – “California Girls”

Another track from 1965, this song is synonymous with California itself due to its title and lyrics about beautiful girls who live there. There are many versions of this song available online, including some that feature different artists singing along with it like Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson!

1965 – “Barbara Ann”

“Barbara Ann” is a song written by Fred Fassert, which was originally recorded by the Regents in 1961 and covered many times since. It became a hit for the Beach Boys in 1965, reaching number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song also reached number 3 on the UK Singles Chart when re-released in 1973.

1966 – “Sloop John B”

The Beach Boys’ music was always a reflection of the times, and that’s especially true of Brian Wilson’s masterpiece, “Sloop John B.”

Released in 1966 on the band’s “Pet Sounds” album, “Sloop John B” was an homage to their early days as a folk group. The song was originally written by a folk musician. Richard Le Gallienne, who performed it as a solo artist in the early 1960s. The Beach Boys recorded an arrangement of it as a group for their 1966 LP “Pet Sounds,” and then made a second version a few months later for their album “Smiley Smile.”

1966 – “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is a song written by Brian Wilson, Tony Asher and Mike Love for the American rock band the Beach Boys.The song features a gorgeous melody and lyrics that convey the simple desire of wanting to be with someone you love in a perfect world where there are no obstacles.”Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was released as a single in July and peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1966 – “God Only Knows”

God Only Knows is a song by the American rock band The Beach Boys. It was released on their 1966 album Pet Sounds, with lyrics written by Tony Asher and music by Brian Wilson. It was also released as a single. The words are expressed lyrically from the point of view of a narrator, who claims that a life without love can only be grasped through reason.

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It was released as the B-side of “N’t It Be Nice” in July 1966 and peaked at number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100.It was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” in 2004. It ranked 11th on Rolling Stone’s list of the best songs in history in 2021.

1966 – “Good Vibrations”

“Good Vibrations” is perhaps the most ambitious single song in the Beach Boys‘ catalog. It is a landmark in pop music. At the time of its initial release, it was the most expensive pop single ever recorded. The song’s title was inspired by group leader Brian Wilson’s interest in cosmic vibrations. Mike Love’s lyrics were influenced by the growing Flower Power movement in California.”Good Vibrations” received a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Group performance in 1966 and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994.

1971 – “Surf’s Up”

Surf’s Up is the title track from the 1971 album of the same name by the American rock band The Beach Boys. The song was written by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks and released as a single in 1971.

The song was one of several attempts by The Beach Boys to explore their psychedelic roots following the success of their 1968 album “Friends”. Like many other songs on the album, it is an attempt at a concept album about the environment and ecology. Surf’s Up features an extended instrumental introduction that features electric piano, bass guitar, drum kit and organ

1976 – “Rock and Roll Music”

“Rock and Roll Music” is a song written by Chuck Berry and released as a single in 1957. It was Berry’s hit record and the first rock n roll song to reach #1 on the Billboard Big 100. The Beach Boys recorded their own version of the song for their 1964 album 15 Big Ones. The Beach Boys’ version of “Rock and Roll Music” peaked at number 5 on the US pop chart.

1988 – “Kokomo”

A song from the Beach Boys‘ 1988 film Cocktail and their album Still Cruisin. Written by John Phillips, Scott McKenzie, Mike Love, and Terry Melcher. The lyrics describe two lovers traveling to a relaxing place on Kokomo, a utopian island off the Florida Keys.

FAQ

What’s the most famous Beach Boys song?

The most famous Beach Boys song is “Good Vibrations” (1966).

What songs are the Beach Boys known for?

  • God Only Knows
  • Good Vibrations
  • Surf’s Up

How many of the Beach Boys are still alive?

Today, there are three surviving original members: Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine.

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