I always associate Summer with The Beach Boys. When I was a kid, I listened to The Beach Boy songs on my transistor radio (remember them?) and loved their great harmony. This 20-song collection presents many of The Beach Boys hits. Even when The Beatles arrived in the U.S., The Beach Boys remained popular. Every Summer for the past decade, the remnants of The Beach Boys would play a concert here in Buffalo after our Triple-A baseball team, the Buffalo Bisons, finished a game. The event is always sold-out. Do you have a favorite song of The Beach Boys? GRADE: A
1. Surfin’ Safari
2. 409
3. Surfin’ U.S.A.
4. Shut Down
5. Surfer Girl
6. Little Deuce Coupe
7. Catch A Wave
8. Be True To Your School
9. Fun, Fun, Fun
10. I Get Around
11. Dance, Dance, Dance
12. Do You Wanna Dance?
13. Help Me, Rhonda
14. California Girls
15. Barbara Ann
16. Sloop John B.
17. Wouldn’t It Be Nice
18. God Only Knows
19. Good Vibrations
20. Kokomo


  1. Deb

    I love so many of their songs, but my favorites are Darlin’, God Only Knows, Don’t Worry Baby, and Heroes & Villains. A fun fact is that when Paul McCartney heard Good Vibrations for the first time, he called the rest of the Beatles and basically said, hey guys, we’re really going to have to up our game to compete with this. The result: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

    1. Jeff Meyerson

      I believe it was PET SOUNDS that inspired McCartney, with Good Vibrations adding to that. But, of course, Brian Wilson was supposedly inspired to do PET SOUNDS after listening to RUBBER SOUL.

      Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time rates SERGEANT PEPPER at #1 and PET SOUNDS at #2.

      1. Todd Mason

        It was indeed PET SOUNDS that spurred McCartney to try a “concept” album. I’d put REVOLVER and perhaps its two predecessors above PEPPER’S among Beatles albums (in their original Parlophone form)…and the Beach Boys’ several albums just before PET SOUNDS are very comparable.

        McCartney seems, from the various the accounts, to be the most competitive of the Beatles, the one least comfortable with their top of the heap status or perhaps most protective of it…the Byrds also sparked him thus. Perhaps it was particularly US bands that Got to him.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Anything but Kokomo.

    Help Me Rhonda has always been a favorite. Also I Get Around and Barbara Ann (lead sang by Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean) and God Only Knows and Caroline No, and several others. Jackie’s favorite was the B-side of I Get Around: Don’t Worry Baby.

    There is a Volume 2 (“20 More Good Vibrations) that I also have (many were originally “B” sides):

    In My Room
    The Warmth of the Sun
    Don’t Worry, Baby
    All Summer Long
    Little Honda
    When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)
    Please Let Me Wonder
    You’re So Good to Me
    The Little Girl I Once Knew
    Caroline No
    Heroes and Villains
    Wild Honey
    Do It Again
    Bluebirds Over the Mountain
    I Can Hear Music
    Break Away

    They did have to reach a little to get to 20. I definitely agree with you about the Beach Boys and summer.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I knew all the words to all the Beach Boys songs back in the 1960! Their music played on my transistor radio constantly back then. The Beach Boys and their music were the essence of Summer when I was a kid.

  3. Michael Padgett

    Nearly all the great ones have already been chosen, so I’m going to go with the relatively obscure “Disney Girls” from what may have been their last great album, “Surf’s Up” (1971). Just lovely.

  4. Steve Oerkfitz

    Good Vibrations, Wild Honey, I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times, Caroline No, Heroes and Villains and God Only Knows. Elvis Costello called God Only Knows the perfect pop song. I could certainly do without Be True To My School.

      1. Steve Oerkfitz

        Probably another reason why I avoided pep rallies and football games in high school.

  5. Jeff Meyerson

    Well, as some of the songs Steve named reminds me, I could just go with the whole PET SOUNDS CD.

    Jackie wants to add God Only Knows (which was used as a theme for the first three years of BIG LOVE) and Sloop John B.

  6. Rick Ollerman

    After the Beatles, along with the Beach Boys, the Four Seasons were the other American group that kept going at the top for a while but they were a singles group and didn’t have the album-oriented genius of records like “Pet Sounds.” I’ve never been a Beatles fan (sacrilege, I know, but as their music changed from their early pop to their later stylings I didn’t follow), I’ve remained a huge Four Seasons fan and a bit lesser Beach Boys guy. Asking for a favorite song is almost unfair, there are so many. I’ll go with “Surfer Girl” with “In My Room” a close second because while well enough known, they were never as overplayed as many of the others. “Help Me Rhonda” is another one that’s difficult to turn away. I agree with excluding “Kokomo”–it has the Beach Boys sound and I don’t remember who wrote it but it wasn’t a Beach Boy and although it has their sound I can’t help but feel it’s not a true Beach Boys song somehow. There’s two and a half cents.

    1. Jeff Meyerson

      Also, Kokomo has one of the worst “rhymes” ever:

      “Port au Prince,
      I wanna cawtch a glimpse.”

      Maybe it should be “glince”?

      Surprisingly (to me, at least), it was written by John Phillips & Scott McKenzie.

      1. george Post author

        Jeff, even though John Phillips & Scott McKenzie wrote “Kokomo” it does have a Beach Boys feel to it. Fans love it.

    2. george Post author

      Rick, “Help Me Rhonda” was a High School favorite because our class president was a Rhonda. She would play the Beach Boys song every time she ran for office.

  7. wolf

    Yes, Beach Boy songs were right for the summer holidays!
    Help Me, Rhonda was my favourite followed by California Girls – though of course there was no chance for a German student to ever get there …
    I remember seeing them the first time in concert on a DVD – or was that a VHS Cassette even? Fantastic!
    A bit OT:
    After I started working and made some good money I went on shopping sprees, bought all the concert videos of the groups I liked – from the Doors to Jimi Hendrix mainly, but also Beach Boys and of course the Woodstock concert.
    So when I saw a sign “Bethel Woods” on the way back from Niagara Falls to NYC (in 2009) of course we had to go there!

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, I have a number of rock concert videos, too. I rarely attend rock concerts now. Too much of a hassle unless the concert is held in smaller venue.

  8. Jerry House

    The most memorable Beach Boy song for me was “Help Me, Rhonda” sung in a true Irish accent. I was in an Irish pub on Cape Cod and the band was from the Auld
    Sod on an American tour. The building supposedly had come from Ireland and was reassembled in Hyannis, a story that may or may not be true. How can I tell this was an IRISH pub? Two reasons. First, this was the early ’70s and at a table in the corner was a slightly snozzled Ted Kennedy attempting to sing along with the band. And second, there was this conversation I heard when I visited the men’s room: FIRST GENTLEMAN (in an Irish accent), “The only good Englishman is a feckin’ dead Englishman. SECOND GENTLEMAN (also in an Irish accent), “Y’er feckin’ right!” I left the men’s room and the establishment in a hurry. Since that night, “Help Me, Rhonda” has stuck in my brain.

  9. Rick Robinson

    Can’t imagine why they didn’t include “Warmth of the Sun”, one of my favorites, along with “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Surfing’ Safari”. They also didn’t include the very first song, “Surfin'” which was, naturally, all over the Southern California radio in 1961.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, I have “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Surfing’ Safari” on another Beach Boys compilation disc. I also have “Surfin'” on a California music anthology.

      1. Todd Mason

        And I think all three, or perhaps all but “Surfin'”, were included on the early-career retrospective album ENDLESS SUMMER which revived interest in their work in the early ’70s. “The Warmth of the Sun” is certainly one of their best recordings, and as impressive as anything on PET SOUNDS, which it presages.

      2. george Post author

        Todd, I’ll have to hunt down a copy of ENDLESS SUMMER. I had a vinyl copy of ENDLESS SUMMER but it went to a record dealer in the 1ate 1980s when I sold my album collection. Now I’m faced with a similar dilemma with my CD collection. Patrick and Katie have no interest in it. I’m going to contact the Music Library at SUNY at Buffalo to see if they would take my 3000 music CDs when I die.

  10. Beth Fedyn

    Although I like the Beach Boys, I never bought one of their albums.
    Favorites are Barbara Ann, Help Me, Rhonda, and (sorry, Jeff) Kokomo.

      1. Steve Oerkfitz

        Saw them in the late 70’s and they put on a very good show.
        Saw them about 6 years ago and they were embarrassingly bad.
        Without any of the Wilsons aboard it has become the Mike Love show.

      2. wolf

        George, on one of the concert DVDs I have Brian Wilson appears as a total wreck, not really playing the pianp, just going through the motions – probably they switched off his mic.
        have you been to one of those concerts too?

      3. george Post author

        Wolf, I haven’t been to a Brian Wilson concert. Brian Wilson had a lot of physical and mental problems. I’m not sure the stage is the right place for him now.

      4. Todd Mason

        He’s also done some very good live work in the last decade or so. When he’s ready, he’s ready. In the ’80s and particularly the ’70s, not so much.

  11. Jeff Meyerson

    So true, Steve. I cannot stand Mike Love. We saw Brian when he went solo. With several younger guys backing him up, it was a very entertaining concert.

  12. Jeff Smith

    I’m also a Beach Boys fan, and I have most of their actual albums on cd, not just the compilations. My favorite song is the utterly beautiful “Surf’s Up.”

    I have never seen The Beach Boys live, but I did see Brian Wilson on his return to touring. He had a dummy keyboard, but was fully engaged in the singing and the overall program. I was amazed at the number of grown men crying around me, who never expected to seeBrian this healthy again.

      1. Jeff Meyerson

        What Jeff said. He was obviously not the same Brian as when he was young, but he was totally involved and interacted with the audience and band. This was in 2001. anyway. We saw him and Paul Simon and they even did two or three songs together, which was odd. (Not as odd as the next year, however, when we saw Paul with Bob Dylan.)

      2. george Post author

        Jeff, just by serendipity, I’ve been listening to GRACELAND and Paul Simon’s greatest hits. Wonderful music from the 1980s!

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