"Surfin Safari"
The Beach Boys can easily be called "America's Band." The Wilson brothers (Brian, Carl and Dennis) first formed a singing group in 1961 with cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. After several name changes and experiments with vocal harmonies, Dennis had suggested singing about the new craze of southern California -- surfing. Their first recording to make the national charts was "Surfin'" in the winter of 1962. In the fall of that year they released their first national hit, "Surfin' Safari." The group's songs would become anthems of surfing, summer sun, cars, and life as a teenager. Mike Love and Brian Wilson were a prolific writing team, combining the rhythms of Chuck Berry to the vocal harmonies of The Four Freshmen. But the hits dried up in 1966 when the popular music world turned toward a more "progressive" sound and the Beach Boys came to be viewed as an "old" rock and roll group. Challenged and influenced by the Beatles and the sounds of Phil Specter, Brian Wilson wrote and produced the ultimate Beach Boys record at the end of 1966 -- "Good Vibrations." The Beach Boys never again experienced their consistent chart success of the early sixties, but did have some later hits with "Do It Again" (1968), "Rock and Roll Music" (1976) and "Kokomo" (1988). But chart success is not the main indication of the influence and popularity of The Beach Boys. After they issued a compilation of greatest hits in 1974, titled "Endless Summer," they became one of the top touring bands in the world. Their songs do seem to produce an "endless summer."
Top recordings from The Elvis ERA:

title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
Surfin' Safari 9/15/1962 14 10
409 10/1/1962

Surfin' U.S.A. 4/13/1963 3 14
Shut Down 5/25/1963 23 8
Surfer Girl 8/17/1963 7 11
LIttle Deuce Coupe 9/7/1963 15 7
Be True To Your School 11/23/1963 6 8
In My Room 11/30/1963 23 6
Fun Fun Fun 2/22/1964 5 9
I Get Around 6/6/1964 1 13
Don't Worry Baby 6/27/1964 24 6
When I Grow Up (To Be a Man) 9/19/1964 9 8
Wendy 10/1/1964

Dance, Dance, Dance 11/21/1964 8 8
Do You Wanna Dance 3/13/1965 12 6
Help Me Rhonda 5/1/1965 1 11
California Girls 8/7/1965 3 9
The Little Girl I Once Knew 12/11/1965 20 5
Barbara Ann 1/15/1966 2 9
Sloop John B 4/9/1966 3 10
Caroline No 4/23/1966 32 3
Wouldn't It Be Nice 8/20/1966 8 7
God Only Knows 9/17/1966 39 2
Good Vibrations 10/29/1966 1 12
The Beach Boys
"Barbara Ann"
"Beach Boys' Party!" was one of several Beach Boys lp's* I owned. In fact, in the middle '60's I could probably be described as a fan. "Beach Boys' Party!" is fairly indicative of my musical inclinations -- I tended to buy albums that contained songs I was familiar with -- covers of hit recordings by other artists. I don't think I was ever comfortable in the "album age" -- I was more of a 45's guy. But even into the age of the eight-track, the cassette and the cd I continued to buy the album (8-track, cassette, cd) even though there were maybe only two to three "cuts" I really wanted to listen to. That's why I was attracted to so many "Greatest Hits" albums. And all through this history of media, I have been prone to "rip" selected tracks and make my own mix.
The Beach Boys are somewhat unique in that their success predated The Beatles and yet they continued to be popular in the midst of the British Invasion. When The Beatles erupted in America, they instantly made "bands" the most popular genre. Groups were suddenly expected to play their own instruments. At the time, I assumed The Beach Boys were much like the other rock groups of 1963 -- most were just vocal groups. But sometime during 1965 they performed on television -- and you could see they were a band! That won me over.
"Beach Boys Party!" was an album released under the guise of an informal recording at a party of the "Boys" and friends. It even contains lots of background talk, etc. In reality, it was all contrived. The album's only Beach Boys track is the "Medley: I Get Around . Little Deuce Coup" (which is done as a parody of themselves). The others are all remakes -- from oldies like "Alley Oop" from the Hollywood Argyles (1960) to current Beatles songs such as "Tell Me Why" and "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," to "Mountain of Love" (whether the Harold Dorman 1960 version or more contemporary 1964 Johnny Rivers version it's hard to tell). But, surprisingly, the album did produce one hit -- "Barbara Ann" (originally done by The Regents in 1961) which reached #2. For the most part this album is a joke. But the vocal harmonies on the Everly Brothers' "Devoted to You" and the Crystal's "There's No Other (Like My Baby) are well done. And, of course there's "Barbara Ann." Those three would make my "mix."