The Beach Boys release Surfin’ Safari as their title track on their 1962 album Surfin’ Safari. The song is written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Wilson:
I always worked to try and write better songs because I wanted to impress the other Beach Boys. I’m embarrassed when people say I’m a “musical genius.” I’m not a musical genius. I just work really hard at what I do.
Released as the on the Surfin’ Safari’ album in 1962 and on the Little Deuce Coupe album in 1962, 409 is written by Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Gary User. Wilson says:
We had a music room that used to be a garage. My dad turned it into a music room. It didn’t turn into a music room until I was about 14. We had a jukebox in there and there was a piano and a Hammond B-3 organ in there too. Gary (Usher) and I worked in that music room. He was on guitar and I was on piano and we wrote 409 and In My Room.
Written by Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Gary Usher. Released in 1962 on the Surfin’ Safari album and in 1963 on the Little Deuce Coupe album. Gary Usher says:
Dennis Wilson was the first Beach Boy to pick up on surfing. He was aware of Dick Dale, the Pendleton jackets and that whole shot. It just rubbed off. I never surfed. I was a hot rod freak. I had a 409. One day we were driving up to Los Angeles looking for a part for my car, and I said ‘Let’s write a song called ‘409’. We’ll do a thing ‘giddy up, giddy up,’ meaning horses for horsepower,’ just kidding around. We came back and put it to three simple chords in five minutes, and it developed into a million-dollar car craze.
The Beach Boys release Shut Down on their 1963 albums Surfin’ USA and Little Deuce Coupe. The song, written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian, peaks at no. 23 in the US and no. 34 in the UK. Mike love states:
Roger came up with stuff I couldn’t write like on Shut Down (recites lyrics)…”The Superstock Dodge is windin’ out in low but my fuel injected Stingray is really startin’ to go. To get the traction I’m ridin’ the clutch. My pressure plate’s burnin’ that machine to much”…
Surfer Girl peaks at #7 in the Billboard charts, but reaches #1 in specific markets, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, and Dallas. The song is written by Brian Wilson. Wilson:
When I wrote Surfer Girl I liked it so much that I said that I’m gonna keep on writing songs.
The Beach Boys release the Ballad of Ole Betsy on the Little Deuce Coupe album. It is written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian. Mike Love states:
She may be rusted iron, but to me she’s solid gold. I just can’t hold the tears back, because Betty’s growing old…’ it just gets me. It’s so descriptive and so beautiful.
Reaches no. 6 on the Billboard charts and no. 4 in the UPI chart survey for newspapers. It does best in Los Angeles, spending 3 weeks at no. 1. Mike Love states:
You can feel the influence of Chuck Berry in songs like ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ which is patterned after ‘Sweet Little Sixteen,’ and songs like ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ and ‘Be True To Your School,’ so many of the songs that have the lyrical impulse that Chuck Berry would put into his songwriting.
In my Room peaks at no. 23 in the Billboard Charts and ranks no. 212 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Written by Brian Wilson and Gary Usher. Wilson:
…we wrote Surfin’ and Surfin’ Safari and 409 and In My Room. I always worked to try and write better songs because I wanted to impress the other Beach Boys. I’m embarrassed when people say I’m a “musical genius.” I’m not a musical genius. I just work really hard at what I do.
Peaks at no. 5 on the Billboard charts. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Love says:
I was the one who suggested doing a song about a girl who borrows her father’s car and wrote all the words for Fun Fun Fun and told Brian it needs to start with a Chuck Berry style guitar intro.
Written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian, Don’t Worry Baby reaches no. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. Rolling Stone lists the song as the 176th greatest song of all time. Bruce Johnston states:
Roger Christian is a disk jockey that at the time his words were sufficient for some of Brian’s melodies, but now I’m sure that some of those groovy melodies … I’m sure that Don’t Worry, Baby could be rewritten. The words are so trite now, but that was where it was at for about five minutes.
The Beach Boys release Please Let Me Wonder on the B-side of ‘Do You Wanna Dance?‘ It peaks at no. 52 on Billboard. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Brian Wilson states:
I wrote that at my apartment in West Hollywood. As soon as I finished I felt I had to record it so I called up my engineer, Chuck Britz, and woke him up. ‘Please Let Me Wonder’ was recorded at 3:30 in the morning. I drove to the studio in the middle of the night and recorded it. That song was done as tribute to Phil Spector’s music. It definitely a good straight ahead feel to it. I knew I loved that song from the moment it was finished and I’ve always loved it.
The song, witten by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, peaks at no. 1 in the US, and Peaks at no. 27 in the UK, making it the band’s second number one hit. Al Jardine says:
Brian had it in his head of it going one way and I had it going another way. It was my first big lead vocal—I had a lead before that—but primarily I’m an “ooh” and “ah” guy. I can nail anything that way but when it comes to rhythms I’m just not as sharp as maybe someone else. What made it problematic for me is Help Me Rhonda had a rhythmic movement that I found very difficult and I finally got it. Brian’s dad. Murry was trying to help me but that was like the blind leading the blind. It got very confusing.
California Girls reaches no. 3 in the Billboard Top 100. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Mike Love states:
Some people misunderstood the meaning of the song that we were saying California girls were the best. What we were really saying if you listen or read the lyrics, we were appreciating the fact that even though we went all around the world we’d like to bring them all back to California with us.
Reaches #2 in the US Billboard Hot 100, #3 in the UK, and #1 in Germany, Switzerland, and Norway. The song is written by Fred Fassert. Reflecting on the song, Mike Love states:
…when we start singing ‘Barbara Ann’… the audience sings along, and that’s a great feeling.
Pet Sounds, an instrumental track composed by Brian Wilson, is released. It is included as the twelfth track of the 1966 album, Pet Sounds. Reflecting on the song, Mike Love:
When you listen to that [the sessions box set], you can see the masterful vocal arrangements that Brian did and the great accomplishment of all of us together.
God Only Knows, written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, reaches no. 39 in the Billboard Charts and peaks at no. 2 in the UK. The song ranks no. 25 in Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time.’ Mike Love states:
Carl was an amazing singer; “God Only Knows” was just phenomenal. I marveled at that every night when he sang it.
Good Vibrations, written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, reaches no. 1 in the US, making it The Beach Boys’ third number one hit. Also reaches no. 1 in the UK, making it their first British number one. The song earns a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Group performance in 1966. The song ranks no. 6 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Brian Wilson says:
When I wrote Good Vibrations, I said, “There’s no way I could have written that song!” Then I thought, maybe God wrote it through me.
Wild Honey peaks at no. 31 on the Billboard charts and No. 22 in Cash Box and no. 29 in the UK. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love the song is performed live in the early 1970’s with Blondie Chaplin on lead vocals. Love:
The live version of Wild Honey on the box with Blondie singing lead vocals is mystical. He was an amazing guitarist and singer and Ricky was an amazing drummer. I think the songs took on different forms live in that time period because Carl’s appreciation for guitar, he really resonated with Blondie.
Peaks in the charts at no. 20 in the USA. Peaks at no. 1 in the UK Singles Chart, making it the band’s second number one hit in the United Kingdom. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love.
In explaining his inspiration for the song, Mike Love states:
Another time I went to the beach with my high school friends and came back and talked to Brian, “We gotta do a song about going back to the beach”, which ironically is the title of the newest gem from the vaults on this box set, and that song turned out to be Do It Again.
The Beach Boys record I’ll Bet He’s Nice from October to November 1976. They release the song, written by Brian Wilson, on their Love You album in 1977. Jardine reflects on the song:
The mini-moogs are all over the place. I’ll Bet He’s Nice was great with Dennis singing a Brian song.
Written by Carl Wilson and Jack Reiley, Carl Wilson records lead vocals using reverse echo. In reflecting about Brian Wilson’s retreat from the band, Mike Love says:
What that retreat allowed for was the maturity of the other guys in the band, Alan Jardine with California Saga, Take Good Care of Your Feet, Carl with Long Promised Road and Feel Flows, Dennis with Forever, Bruce with Disney Girls.
Surf’s Up is partially recorded by the Beach Boys from 1966-1967, but is shelved until 1971, when it is released as the title track for the album Surf’s Up. Written by Van Dyke Parks and Brian Wilson. In discussing technology used by the band, Al Jardine states:
The mini-moog became our instrument of choice right around 1970. That was our bass sound for a while during the Sunflower and Surf’s Up era.
The Beach Boys record Good Time in 1970, with the horns and strings overdubbed later. They release it on their 1977 album Love You. The song is written by Brian Wilson and Al Jardine. Jardine:
I like that one a lot. It wasn’t originally meant to go on Love You; it was meant for an earlier album. Brian and I were just goofing around in his living room and came up with the song.
The Beach Boys release California Saga: California on their 1973 album Holland. Written by Al Jardine the song Peaks at no. 84 in Billboard and no. 37 in the UK. In discussing Ricky Fataar’s contribution to this song and the band, Al Jardine says:
Ricky is a fabulous percussionist, drummer, tarp set player. He’s also a multi-instrumentalist. He played flute and steel guitar on the trilogy, California Saga so he did all those effects. He added a little musical dimension to the band.
During it’s 1973 release, Sail on Sailor reaches #79 on the Billboard charts. It reaches #49 on the charts when it is re-released in 1975. The song is written by Brian Wilson, Ray Kennedy, Tandyn Almer, Jack Rieley, and Van Dyke Parks. Jardine states:
Blondie as a singer on Sail On, Sailor I mean, holy Toledo! (laughs) He sang that so well plus he did a lot of the high parts on that record. He was singing a good deal of the tenor parts, a lot of the full voice high parts long with us.
Written by Dennis Wilson, Bruce Fisher and Billy Preston. Dennis Wilson performs the song during Beach Boys shows from 1975 until 1983. It is released by the Beach Boys on the album Good Timin’: Live at Knebworth England 1980 in 2002. Mike Love states:
Dennis had his issues with alcohol and drugs at the time and he’d put his hand through a plate glass window and cut his hand so it was hard for him to hold drum sticks. Ricky took over and did a great job. That’s when Dennis would go out to the front of the stage and sing You Are So Beautiful and we’d back him up.
Reaches no. 1 in the US, Japan, and Australia. Is nominated for a Grammy in 1988 for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television. Written by John Phillips, Scott McKenzie, Mike Love, and Terry Melcher. Mike Love states:
“Kokomo” is our No. 1, biggest sing-along song in our show—and it is popular with multiple generations. It wasn’t so much about surfing,
Jardine sues Mike Love, Brian Wilson, the Carl Wilson Trust and Brother Records Inc. for $4 million for excluding him from recent concerts.
The entire premise of the Beach Boys has been to promote love, harmony and music. But right now the ‘Beach Boys’ are taking the financial rather than the creative route, and Mike is making an end run to grab all of the income. This is a moral issue.
This is frivolous harassment, where Alan is trying to get money that he does not deserve.
A US District Court rules that Alan Jardine cannot legally tour with his band under the name Beach Boys Family and Friends, as he did in 1999. He may use the name Family and Friends Beach Band. Founding member Mike Love currently tours with a group named The Beach Boys. Attorney Mike Flynn, who represents the Beach Boys’ corporate entity:
We are happy with the result. This terminates his entire case.
A stone monument featuring a carving of the band’s Surfer Girl album cover is dedicated at the boyhood home of Brian, Dennis, an Carl Wilson in Hawthorne, CA. The dedication draws 800 people, including Brian Wilson and Alan Jardine. Brian Wilson states:
This was a big thrill. I was thinking about all my memories — my mom and dad and my brothers, my childhood, my high school experiences, my piano, my organ and my hi-fi.
Jardine releases the song Don’t Fight the Sea on his album A Postcard from California, which includes songs from many of the surviving Beach Boys. The song is written by Terry Jacks and meant to promote environmental awareness.
Electronic keyboards began to develop a little keyboard called a DX-7 and that was a fascinating little thing. We just thought that was an absolute miracle of technology. In fact, on my latest album, we use a DX-7 on my song Don’t Fight the Sea. I like this particular setting called a “wood block.”
The Beach Boys perform Fun, Fun, Fun on The Queen Latifah Show to celebrate the song’s 50th anniversary.