It’s summertime. That means it’s time to wax up the old surfboard and take the old “woody” down to the beach and enjoy the sounds of summer. And what would the sounds of summer be without great beach music? The one group who epitomized the beach sound was The Beach Boys.
The group originally consisted of brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson, along with their cousin Mike Love and Al Jardine. Other notables who played with the Beach Boys included Glenn Campbell, when Brian quit touring in 1964; Bruce Johnston (of Bruce & Terry) permanently replaced Campbell and Darryl Dragon (the Captain of the Captain & Tennille) worked as a stage keyboardist.
In high school they were known as Kenny & the Cadets, Carl & the Passions and The Pendletones before settling on The Beach Boys in 1961. And aren’t we glad they did?
Here is a list of The Beach Boys 20 biggest hits, the year in which they were a hit, along with some fun facts.
1. I Get Around – 1964
Their first #1 hit.
2. Help Me, Rhonda – 1965
Johnny Rivers did a cover of this song 10 years later.
3. Kokomo – 1988
This song was featured in the Tom Cruise film “Cocktail.”
4. Good Vibrations – 1966
In 1976, Todd Rundgren did a dead-on remake of this song.
5. Barbara Ann – 1966
Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean fame did the vocals on this one.
6. Surfin’ USA – 1963
This song personified the beach sound and cemented the Beach Boys as the #1 group in its genre. Leif Garrett also covered this song in 1976.
7. Sloop John B – 1966
Originally, a West Indies song dating back to 1927.
8. California Girls – 1965
The best of the best beach songs. David Lee Roth’s version, twenty years later, wasn’t too shabby either.
9. Rock And Roll Music – 1976
Written by Chuck Berry and a hit for him in 1957.
10. Fun, Fun, Fun – 1964
Everyone wanted to meet this girl in the T-Bird.
11. Be True To Your School – 1963
This song featured the march “On Wisconsin” and cheerleading by The Honeys.
12. Surfer Girl – 1963
One of the few slow songs for the Beach Boys to do well on the charts.
13. Dance, Dance, Dance – 1964
This song peaked in the summer of 1964 and had everyone dancing on the beaches.
14. Wouldn’t It Be Nice – 1966
One of their more controversial songs of the day. With lyrics like “Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep together;” it had more conservative radio stations playing the B Side “God Only Knows.
15. When I Grow Up (To Be A Man) – 1964
A great song, but it didn’t have much to do with fun at the beach as much as it had boys questioning the responsibilities facing them after high school.
16. The Beach Boys Medley – 1981
This single featured excerpts from Good Vibrations/Help Me, Rhonda/I Get Around/Shut Down/Surfin’ Safari/Barbara Ann/Surfin’ USA/Fun, Fun, Fun.
17. Wipe Out – 1987
The Fat Boys and The Beach Boys teamed up to bring a rap vocal rendition to this song, originally done as an instrumental by the Surfaris in 1963.
18. Do You Wanna Dance – 1965
A 1958 hit for Bobby Freeman and, later, a 1973 hit for Bette Midler.
19. Heroes & Villains – 1967
Trying to cash in on the popularity and unique style of “Good Vibrations”, this one didn’t quite measure up.
20. Surfin’ Safari – 1962
Their first big hit and the one that started it all. The Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. They still perform today, bringing their special blend of music for new generations to enjoy.