America’s Band: The Beach Boys

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The Beach Boys and California Girls

Is there anyone out there who hasn’t heard the Beach Boys sing? They’ve been around so long, and are still popular. Often called “America’s band,” they were one of the biggest in America in their day. Over 80 songs on the charts worldwide, and over 35 in the United States. One of the most popular still is California Girls.

California Girls takes me way back to the 60’s. At the beach, the boys surfing, most of us girls tanning in the sand while listening to this song. Well, this and a few others. Songs like Surfin’ USA (wasn’t that by Jan and Dean?), or We’ll have fun, fun, fun, til Daddy takes the T-bird away. Many good memories of those sunny, hot days. Back then we were quite pleased with ourselves to be California girls! We had the blond hair, but not the French bikinis. We did work very hard for our tans back then. Tans were in. Remember using coconut oil? Were we actually trying to fry our skin?

The tune will still make you smile while you tap your feet and sing along. The words are feel good lyrics. The group always had such an easy listen sound, their voices harmonizing so well, whether the song was fast (sort of) or slow.
Of course, the Beach Boys complimented girls everywhere, but that wasn’t important to us then. They apparently liked the East Coast girls, the Northern girls, the Mid-West girls, and Southern girls as well! No fickleness there.

Coming Home to San Diego

Fast forward to the 90’s. By then I lived in San Diego County. I happened to be walking on a path along the harbor early one morning. A huge Navy ship was coming home to port in San Diego harbor.

It was the first time I’d seen one come in, and impressive it was. Every sailor on the ship was standing at ease all around the deck, dressed in bright white uniforms, hands clasped behind their backs. And blasting from the ship’s speakers was “I wish they all could be California Girls…” It was very touching knowing they’d been at sea for months. It gives me goosebumps even now as I think about it. There must have been a lot of happy families that day, meeting them on that sunny southern California day.

The song was first released back in 1965. It only reached #3 on the charts in the United States though, which is a surprise. The song is such a classic now, still popular, the new generation still singing along.

Beach Boys Trivia

  • Beach boys got their start In 1961.
  • The three Wilson brothers, Brian, Dennis, and Carl, cousin Mike Love, and friend, Al Jardine.
  • Mike Love was the lead singer.
  • They were a big part of the California surf culture with their vocal harmonies.
  • Brian wrote much of their music and that controlled the Bands direction. Good vibrations 1966 was an example of that.
  • Dennis Wilson drowned in 1983.
  • Carl Wilson died in 1998 of lung cancer.
  • The surviving brother, Brian, has had substance abuse and mental health problems.
  • 80 song made the charts internationally.
  • 36 songs made the American top 40.
  • 4 songs hit Number 1 on Billboard.
  • One of best selling bands with 100 million albums sold.
  • Some estimates say from 100 million to 350 million sold.
  • They were one to the few bands went on to continued success after the Beatles and other British. bands.
  • Pet Sounds album with Good Vibrations is on many lists as one of best albums and singles of all time.
  • So many awards over years, and in 2001 Grammy lifetime achievement award.
  • In 2004, the band made number 12 on Rolling Stones 100 greatest artists of all time.

More on the Beach Boys

Here are three great choices for more information and music from the Beach Boys. Even young people today will enjoy learning how the group got started, how life was like with the ups and downs they faced. Musicians will enjoy learning more about their writing/recording process.

The Beach Boys on CD

The author goes through each song, detailing how it came to be written, where recorded. Lots of details for Beach Boys fans or music history buffs. 194 pages


The Complete History of the Beach Boys

A great book recently published after 10 years of research. 410 pages in length, it provides a look into their lives from their early days through 2012.

 50 Greatest Hits

This CD will no doubt have something you love. 50 of their top songs. Should take you back to the time and place. Seems their songs bring back memories to so many of us. 

Listen to the Beach Boys Sing It

Want to go back in time? Check out this video. Doesn’t it bring back good memories?


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry

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