Don’t be too quick to put your Hawaiian shirt back into mothballs once the nights start drawing in as The Beach Boys are visiting the UK in September.
The seminal Californian band’s surviving members are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year with a world tour, which will see them play a show at London’s Wembley Arena on Friday 28 September.
Known for their extensive catalogue of feel-good hits including Good Vibrations, Surfin’ USA and Wouldn’t It Be Nice?, the group’s been recording and touring with fluctuating line-ups since 1962, and recently welcomed long-serving members Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks back into the band.
So seeing as it’s hot and the mosquitos are out (which is about as close as Blighty ever gets to aping California), why don’t you throw on some headphones, make sure the boss isn’t looking and enjoy some of the best Beach Boys tunes we could gouge out of YouTube? I’m loath to say it, but you’re bound to have fun, fun, fun… (Sorry.)
Brian Wilson’s “pocket symphony” (as his publicist dubbed it) sounds as good today as it did when it was first released in 1966, packing a veritable musical odyssey into three and a half minutes. This version comes from a gig the band did at Knebworth in 1980, when Wilson returned to the group following his years in the wilderness.
That’s Why God Made the Radio
The band aren’t just touring this year, they’ve got a new album coming out as well, and this charming ode to love, summer and rock ‘n’ roll radio is the first cut to be released from it. Even if you think the visuals are a little cheesy, stick with the song – some of the vocal harmonies at the end are overwhelmingly good.
California Girls/Help Me Rhonda
Apart from a spell in the early 1990s when the Boys lost their way with the album Summer in Paradise, the group have always been popular. In fact their stock was still high enough in the ’80s that they were chosen to perform at the original Live Aid (1985), which is where this performance is taken from.
Here’s one from the archives: the band’s first appearance on national TV in the States, a lip-synched rendition of Surfin’ USA on the Red Skelton Show. Bless ‘im, poor old Dennis Wilson didn’t even get to mime behind the dummy drum-kit…
God Only Knows
The band’s 1966 album Pet Sounds was choc-full of tender love songs, the most of emotive of which was this reflective number, which the Boys’ mimed along with during this vintage TV appearance.
Girl Don’t Tell Me
And finally, here’s a Beach Boys b-side that’s well worth hearing. Distinguished by Carl Wilson singing lead and bearing a striking similarity to the Beatles’ Ticket to Ride, this is a gorgeous little gem of a pop tune that’s not as showy as some of the Boys’ more famous stuff, but delightful nonetheless.
Will you be boarding your ‘Little Deuce Coupe’ and pootling down to the box office when tickets to the Wembley show go on sale? What’s your favourite Beach Boys song? Post a comment and let us know…