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Beach Boys: Our top 50 hits

Original members of The Beach Boys, from left,

Original members of The Beach Boys, from left, Mike Love, David Marks, Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston and Al Jardine appear onstage during ABC's "Good Morning America" summer concert series in Manhattan. (June 15, 2012) Credit: AP

The Beach Boys are synonymous with summer. Their vocal harmonies blended with images of surfin' and car cruisin' are timeless for any generation.

The band, featuring surviving members Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary with a new album, "That's Why God Made the Radio," and a tour. In preparation for their Sunday concert at Jones Beach, we've ranked our Top 50 favorite Beach Boys songs. 

1. SURFIN' U.S.A. (1963)

This song borrowed so much from Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little 16" that he ended up getting writing credit.


The band was pushing the creative envelope on this song, which Brian Wilson called "the biggest production of our life."

3. I GET AROUND (1964)

The single reached No. 1 in the United States on July 4, 1964, beating out the Beatles and turned out to be the band's first Top 10 hit in the United Kingdom.

4. HELP ME, RHONDA (1965)

Daryl Dragon, the Captain from the Captain & Tennille, played organ on this track.


The chords were written on Brian Wilson's LSD trip. Wilson called the song "the best record we've made."

6. GOD ONLY KNOWS (1966)

It was inspired by the Lovin' Spoonful's vocal layering on "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice." Brian Wilson was worried about putting the word "God" in the title of a love song.

7. SURFIN' SAFARI (1962)

The band's first single from Capitol Records premiering their counterpart harmonies.

8. SURFER GIRL (1963)

The melody was inspired by Disney's "When You Wish Upon a Star."


The song Brian Wilson spent the most time on from his masterpiece, "Pet Sounds."

10. IN MY ROOM (1963)

A somber ballad about teen alienation that inspired shock rocker Alice Cooper.

11. FUN, FUN, FUN (1964)

The song went to No. 5 in the United States after the band performed it on "The Steve Allen Show" March 12, 1964.

12. SLOOP JOHN B (1966)

The fastest-selling Beach Boys song to date, moving more than a half a million copies in less than two weeks.


DJ Roger Christian helped Brian Wilson with the authentic automotive lingo in the lyrics.

14. BARBARA ANN (1965)

Dean Torrence of the duo Jan & Dean provides the high falsetto on the hootenanny-style remake of the Regents' 1961 hit.

15. CATCH A WAVE (1963)

Mike Love sang lead vocal with a heavy cold, causing people think it was Dennis Wilson.

16. I CAN HEAR MUSIC (1969)

The first Beach Boys song where Brian Wilson had no involvement; brother Carl took the lead.


A tribute to the Wilson Brothers' alma mater, Hawthorne High School..

18. DON'T WORRY BABY (1964)

Brian Wilson calls this his Phil Spector's Wall of Sound song.

19. WHEN I GROW UP (TO BE A MAN) (1965)

This number was rarely performed live but is featured in the band's 2012 set list.

20. COME GO WITH ME (1978)

The song, a remake of The Del-Vikings' 1957 smash, was featured on the band's 1978 "M.I.U."album. But it didn't chart as a single until 1982 (reaching No. 18), using an alternative take from the compilation album "Ten Years in Harmony."

21. 409 (1962)

The hot rodder hit about the Chevrolet 409 was the b-side to “Surfin’ Safari.”

22. ALL SUMMER LONG (1964)

This upbeat pop song was a non-hit that broke the band's run of three consecutive U.K. hits.

23. LITTLE ST. NICK (1964)

A holiday radio staple often mistaking called “Run, Run Reindeer” due to the lyric in the bridge.

24. HEROES & VILLAINS (1967)

This song marked the beginning of Brian Wilson’s creative relationship with lyricist Van Dyke Parks.

25. KOKOMO (1988)

The band's comeback hit, written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, featured in the Tom Cruise film, “Cocktail.”

26. CAROLINE, NO (1966)

This song is essentially a Brian Wilson solo tune as it only showcases his voice. The rest of the band was on the road while Wilson made the recording.

27. DO IT AGAIN (1968)

A tune harking back to the summer days of the band’s early years that Brian Wilson calls his best collaboration with Mike Love.


This song was written as a reaction to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

29. DANCE, DANCE, DANCE (1964)

After recording the song in Nashville, Tenn. in September, Brian Wilson re-recorded a new version with different lyrics and arrangement in Hollywood, CA in October.

30. LITTLE HONDA (1964)

The title had to be changed to “Little Cycle” when the band performed the song on “The Andy Williams Show” not to provide free advertisement.

31. SAIL ON SAILOR (1973)

Genesis used this song’s piano rhythm as the basis for their 1980 hit, “Misunderstanding.”


The original version of “I Know There's an Answer,” which can be found on the expanded edition of “Pet Sounds.”

33. WENDY (1964)

Originally written by Brian Wilson, Mike Love’s name was later added to the credits as a result of a lawsuit.

34. DARLIN’ (1967)

Noted by Brian Wilson to be the most difficult song to sing between the vocal range and the way the words tie together.


The song, recently heard on “Mad Men,” features jazz musician Paul Tanner playing the electro-therem.


The Beach Boys song that inspired John Lennon to stop touring and focus on recording.

37. SURFIN' (1961)

The band’s first pre-Capitol hit single released Dec. 8, 1961 on indie label Candix Records.

38. SHUT DOWN (1963)

A drag racing tune where a Corvette Stingray takes out a Dodge Dart.

39. DO YOU WANNA DANCE? (1965)

This single features Dennis Wilson’s raspy tenor on lead.

40. SURF'S UP (1971)

This song has nothing to do with surfing. The title was merely a wink to the band’s past.

41. GIRL DON'T TELL ME (1965)

Brian Wilson called this the song he wrote for John Lennon. The chorus evokes the Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride.”

42. FRIENDS (1968)

A waltz type of song where a sneeze can be heard 2:01 in.

43. YOU'RE SO GOOD TO ME (1965)

In 2001, Wilson Phillips reunited to perform this song at Radio City Music Hall for the Brian Wilson Tribute concert.

44. FEEL FLOWS (1971)

A stoner tune prominently featured in the 2000 Cameron Crowe film, “Almost Famous.”

45. WIPE OUT (1987)

The band’s foray into rap as they collaborate with the Fat Boys.

46. WILD HONEY (1967)

The Beach Boys do Motown. The song was written as if Stevie Wonder was singing it.

47. GETCHA BACK (1985)

An ‘80s pop track that recalls Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart.”

48. JOHNNY CARSON (1977)

Brian Wilson’s tribute to the king of late night who was in the middle of his reign.


A politically charged remake of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller’s “Riot in Cell Block #Nine.”


The latest hit single featuring all five surviving members bringing back the magic.

This list was compiled by staff writer David J. Criblez, pop music critic Glenn Gamboa, assistant entertainment editor Kevin Amorim and entertainment editor Andy Edelstein.

WHO The Beach Boys

WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

INFO $150, $85; 800-745- 3000,

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