As the summer enters and demolishes this ungodly cold spring and winter, finding a good artist to drive the winter blues away can be challenging. Fortunately, there is a group whose contributions to music shaped the rock scene in the 1960s. This can only be The Beach Boys.
The quintet, consisting of Al Jardine, Mike Love and brothers Carl, Dennis and Brian Wilson, used their Surf Rock style to champion classic singles before journeying to more experimental regions. For the perfect summer playlist, consider adding the following tracks to the mix:
“Good Vibrations” - This song, like most of the Beach Boys’, was written by Brian Wilson and is one of the most famous and experimental tracks of the group’s catalogue. The group pieced the song together in a recording studio using a variety of people and instruments to execute Brian Wilson’s vision. Among the impressive array of instruments were timpanis, cellos, theremins and many other classical and electric instruments. The simple, upbeat lyrics of “Good Vibrations” perfectly compliment the complicated instrumentals for a song that the listener can roll the windows down to and enjoy the summer air.
“I Get Around” - A song clearly meant for the surfing teens of 60s California along with the similar tracks of “Barbara Ann” and “Surfin’ USA,” “I Get Around” has all five members, like usual, harmonizing on the chorus until they’ve caused the listener to start “oooing” along to the infectious tune. If cruising is on one’s list of summer activities, look no further than The Beach Boys.
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” - Often teenagers fantasize about when they can finally be adults and this track perfectly sums up that feeling. The lyrics focus on two teens who wish they were older, married and living happier lives. With a soft and memorable intro, the track rapidly changes gears into the upbeat melodies that made The Beach Boys stand out.
“Help Me Rhonda” - Depicting a man who desperately needs the get rid of the memory of his ex, “Help Me Rhonda,” like the titular female, is the saving grace most people will look for in the hot summer months. With catchy lyrics and a melody that stays in your head, “Help Me Rhonda” is a summer song through and through.
“God Only Knows” - A complete change of pace for the group, “God Only Knows” displays The Beach Boys’ softer side as they speak about love not as a fun topic, but an important one that must be treated with respect. According to Rolling Stone, Paul McCartney praised the song as the greatest ever written. That’s right, the man who wrote “Yesterday” and “Hey Jude” said that. The harmonizing, the music, everything about this track is just perfect.
The entirety of “Pet Sounds” - Is this a cheat putting a whole album on the list? Well, yes but who cares? It’s “Pet Sounds.” Listed number two on Rolling Stone’s 500 albums of all time list, the contributions of “Pet Sounds” are still felt today inspiring many artists including The Beatles, who were inspired to make the album that topped the aforementioned list, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” According to Beatles producer George Martin, “Without ‘Pet Sounds’, Sgt. Pepper never would have happened. Pepper was an attempt to equal ‘Pet Sounds.’” Among its array of songs are the aforementioned “God Only Knows” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” along with 11 other songs, which together form an album worthy of all sorts of praise.