The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys are an American pop-rock band that released 15 albums on Capitol between 1962 and 1969, followed by a further string of titles during the 1970s on their own Brothers Records imprint, distributed by Reprise.

Members: Mike Love (lead vocals, percussion, saxophone), Brian Wilson (vocals, bass, keyboards, piano), Carl Wilson (vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards, 1961-97), Dennis Wilson (vocals, drums, keyboards, 1961-83), Al Jardine (vocals, rhythm guitar, bass, 1961-62, 1963-present), David Marks (rhythm guitar, lead guitar, vocals, 1962-63, 1995-99, 2008, 2011-12), Bruce Johnston (vocals, bass, keyboards, 1965-72, 1979-present), Ricky Fataar (drums, vocals, 1972-74), Blondie Chaplin (vocals, guitar, 1972-73)

The Beach Boys were formed in 1961 Hawthorne, Calif., by the Wilson brothers: singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Brian Wilson (b. June 20, 1942); singer, guitarist, and bassist Carl Wilson (1946–1998); and singing drummer Dennis Wilson (1944–1983). The classic quintet was completed by their singing cousin Mike Love (b. March 15, 1941) and guitarist schoolmate Al Jardine (b. Sept. 3, 1942).

The brothers grew up in a musical household under patriarch Murry Wilson, a pianist and occasional songwriter. In 1958, Murray brought home a reel-to-reel tape recorder as a 16th birthday gift to his eldest son, Brian, who used it to overdub harmonies between himself, Carl, and their mother Audree Neva (née Korthof).

After years of watching their father play piano, the boys learned themselves along with their neighbor’s son, David Marks. Their earliest influences were doo wop, vocal pop, and R&B, the latter brought to them via The Johnny Otis Show on KFOX radio. Compelled by his interest in R&B chords and structures, Brian took up songwriting.

At subsequent family gatherings, Brian clicked musically with his cousin Mike Love. The pair performed at student events with friends at Hawthorne High School. Soon enough, Brian asked classmate Al Jardine to join himself, Carl, Dennis, and Love in a new band, tentatively called The Pendletons (taken from the namesake woolen shirt).

Dennis, an avid surfer, asked Brian to write songs about the sport. Brian obliged with “Surfin’,” followed by the Love-collaboration “Surfin’ Safari.” Murry secured his boys a deal with his own publisher, Hite Morgan, who arranged a series of Hollywood demo sessions. Tapes of these were sent to label-head Herb Newman, who issued “Surfin'” in December 1961 on Candix. When the boys received copies, they learned that they had been renamed The Beach Boys in reference to the surf-rock trend. “Surfin’,” a regional hit, reached #75 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In early 1962, group activity paused as Brian, Carl, Audree, and Jardine masqueraded as Kenny & the Cadets to lay vocals on instrumental tracks in Morgan’s vault. That February, Jardine left to study dentistry. The Beach Boys called in David Marks, who would play rhythm guitar on their first four albums, all released in a 12-month span.

After approaching several labels, the Beach Boys secured a seven-year contract with Capitol Records, which issued their second single, “Surfin’ Safari” (b/w “409”), in June 1962. It reached #14 on Billboard.


  • Surfin’ Safari (1962)
  • Surfin’ U.S.A. (1963)
  • Surfer Girl (1963)
  • Little Deuce Coupe (1963)
  • Shut Down Volume 2 (1964)
  • All Summer Long (1964)
  • The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album (1964)
  • The Beach Boys Today! (1965)
  • Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) (1965)
  • Beach Boys’ Party! (1965)
  • Pet Sounds (1966)
  • Smiley Smile (1967)
  • Wild Honey (1967)
  • Friends (1968)
  • 20/20 (1969)
  • Sunflower (1970)
  • Surf’s Up (1971)
  • Carl and the Passions – “So Tough” (1972)
  • Holland (1973)
  • 15 Big Ones (1976)
  • The Beach Boys Love You (1977)
  • M.I.U. Album (1978)
  • L.A. (Light Album) (1979)
  • Keepin’ the Summer Alive (1980)
  • The Beach Boys (1985)
  • Still Cruisin’ (1989)


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