The Beach Boys' biggest hits read like a soundtrack of
the 1960s, from their early surf and car songs like "Surfin'
USA" and "Little Deuce Coupe" to the fun
in the sun smashes like "Fun, Fun, Fun" and "California
Girls"... from the psychedelic beauty of "Good
Vibrations" to the nostalgic "Do It Again."
From 1962-1965, The Beach Boys scored 16 Top 40 hits including
"I Get Around" b/w "Don't Worry Baby,"
one of the greatest singles of all time, and a #1 smash
for the group at the very height of Beatlemania.
In 1966, The Beach Boys' one-two punch of the Pet Sounds
album and the "Good Vibrations" single, earned
the group international acclaim, and established group leader
Brian Wilson as the influential genius of modern pop music.
As Paul McCartney recently remarked, "Pet Sounds was
my inspiration for making Sgt. Pepper's...the big influence.
That was the big thing for me (in 1966). I just thought,
'Oh, dear me. This is the album of all-time. What are we
going to do?'" At the end of 1966, a year-end poll
in one of England's music papers found The Beach Boys topping
The Beatles as the #1 vocal group in the world.
In 1967-1969, the last years of their first Capitol association,
The Beach Boys had five more Top 40 hits and released a
number of albums, such as Brian's personal favorite, Friends,
which The Beach Boys fans and critics regard fondly and
20/20 with the Top 20 hit "Do It Again." In 1969,
The Beach Boys recorded their final Capitol single, appropriately
titled "Breakaway" to indicate that it was the
end of the relationship.
The next era for The Beach Boys, which coincidentally began
as The Beatles called it quits, is affectionately known
as the "Brother Years," in reference to Brother
Records, the new family-owned record label and home to The
Beach Boys. The new arrangement brought the boys a new level
of freedom and control of their music. The broader dimension
of the Brother releases showcased the songwriting and production
of Dennis, Carl, Al and Bruce in addition to a number of
songs penned by Brian and Mike. In the Nineties, the two
eras were united when Capitol Records became the licensee
of the Brother Records catalog.
The first two Brother releases, 1970's Sunflower and 1971's
Surf's Up, are now recognized, by critics and fans, as two
overlooked masterpieces. As a group, The Beach Boys were
at their prime but rock guitars and feedback eclipsed the
brilliant pop music. With 1972's Carl and the Passions -
So Tough and 1973's Holland, The Beach Boys wrestled with
different music styles. Even with their new sonic adventures,
their harmonies, the taproot of The Beach Boys sounds, always
Around this time, with much thanks to Carl and Mike, The
Beach Boys transformed themselves into one of the world's
premiere live acts, a title their former labelmates, The
Beatles, never could claim. With Carl's musical direction
and Mike's role as lead singer and frontman, The Beach Boys
took all the hits and the studio gems and converted them
into arena-rock anthems. Seeing The Beach Boys summer concert
tour became a truly American experience. A new generation
of fans made the music of The Beach Boys their soundtrack
to summer. The Beach Boys in Concert, an album that came
out in 1973, offers an excellent aural snapshot of this
burgeoning entity. On the heels of their touring success,
Capitol Records released a 2-record "best of"
collection, Endless Summer, in 1974. It went straight to
#1 on the album chart and remained on the chart for 3 years.
Rolling Stone went on to name The Beach Boys the band of
the year in 1974.
The band took the momentum back into the studio and recorded
15 Big Ones, their first studio record in 3 years. Brian
Wilson was back on board and contributed 5 tracks. The band
had a chance to pay tribute to their favorite 50s tunes
while reinterpreting their signature sound. 15 Big Ones
went Top 10 on the album chart. It was followed in 1977
with The Beach Boys Love You.
The late 70's brought the releases M.I.U. (1978), L.A.
Album (1979), and Keepin' The Summer Alive (1980). Brothers
Carl and Dennis each released their own solo albums. Dennis
released his solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue in 1977. Carl
released his solo album, Carl Wilson in 1981 and a second
record, Youngblood followed in 1984. In 1985 the band released
the self-titled album The Beach Boys that featured the Top
20 hit "Getcha Back". Dennis remained a member
of The Beach Boys until his drowning death in 1983. Carl
Wilson passed away in 1998.
In 1988, The Beach Boys were at the top of the pop charts
with the #1 single "Kokomo" from the Cocktail
Motion Picture Soundtrack. The multi-platinum "Kokomo"
is The Beach Boys biggest selling hit, climbing to #1 on
the pop music and video charts of Billboard, Cashbox, Radio
& Records and Hits magazines in 1988.
The 1980's and 90's found The Beach Boys performing at
milestone events including: the Live Aid Concert, Farm Aid
concerts, the Statue of Liberty's 100th Anniversary Salute
and the Super Bowl. In 1980, they played to over 500,000
people in the first of four Independence Day concerts on
the Washington Monument Grounds. On July 4, 1985 they played
to an afternoon crowd of an estimated one million in Philadelphia
and that evening they performed for over 750,000 people
on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Former U.S. Secretary of
Interior James Watt's efforts to ban The Beach Boys from
the Washington Monument Grounds in 1983 created an international
furor that VH-1 has termed one of the most important moments
Brian also returned to the studio in 1988 and released
his first solo album, Brian Wilson, that was met with critical
acclaim. In 1998 he released Imagination also to rave reviews
and launched his first solo tour and has been actively touring
The recent years have brought a chance for introspection.
Fans and critics have now had a chance to re-evaluate the
past catalog through reissues and box sets. The world also
focused attention on The Beach Boys story. A documentary
and DVD release, Endless Harmony, The Beach Boys Story,
chronicled the career of the band and was a 2001 Grammy®
nominee for "Best Long Form Music Video." The
ABC mini-series The Beach Boys: An American Family was nominated
for three Emmys® and is one ABC's highest rated mini-series.