Best of the Beach Boys: The top five songs from the California rockers

With the sounds that defined the 1960s, the music of The Beach Boys still continues to enchant fans over fifty years on. To celebrate their exclusive interview with Sunday Night, we’ve selected their top five tunes from the band’s extensive discography.

#5: California Girls (‘Pet Sounds’, 1966)
Taken from what is easily The Beach Boys’ most ambitious album, the recording of ‘Pet Sounds’ was a pet project for Brian Wilson. Musically complex and extremely experimental for its time, the rest of the band were initially very hesitant about the change in direction, as well as Wilson’s perfectionism – it took an entire week just to record the vocals for the 13 tracks. While it may have been a risk for them, it paid off, giving us arguably The Beach Boys’ most hit-filled album.


#4: Surfin’ USA
(‘Surfin’ USA’, 1963)
Showing off the quintessential Beach Boys sound, this song embodied everything the band is about – the beach, summer fun, and surfing. Not only did it become an anthem for the California Sound that defined rock in the 60s, but the tune was selected as part of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.


#3: Wouldn’t It Be Nice
(‘Pet Sounds’, 1966)
The second song in our top 5 taken from The Beach Boys’ eleventh studio album ‘Pet Sounds’, it was recorded with a strange collection of instruments, including accordions and a detuned twelve-string guitar. The song was the third released from the album, and stayed in the Billboard chart for 11 weeks.


#2: Kokomo
(‘Still Cruisin’, 1989)
Possibly one of The Beach Boys’ most successful songs, it was the first number 1 hit in the United States for the band in 22 years – the previous being ‘Good Vibrations’. It also went to #1 in Japan and Australia, where it topped the charts for around two months. Featured on the soundtrack for the Tom Cruise film ‘Cocktail’, it was nominated for both Grammy and Golden Globe Awards.


#1: Good Vibrations
(‘Smiley Smile’, 1966)
Developed while recording ‘Pet Sounds’, this song was symbolic of the 1960s for so many reasons – with lyrics inspired by the Flower Power movement, and using a revolutionary recording process, it’s frequently been regarded as one of the most important songs of the rock era. It made it into the top 10 of almost every music chart around the world, including #1 in the U.S. and UK, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994.

To hear all of these classic songs and more hits like never before, The Beach Boys have collaborated with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for a new album, which is available now from Universal Music Australia.

What’s your favourite Beach Boys song? Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter channels, and tune in to Channel 7 on Sunday 17 June 2018 at 8:30pm to catch our special interview with the entire band.