The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Interview Part 1: “It Naturally Evolved”
The Beach Boys are undeniably Southern California’s hometown heroes. They’ve created a signature sound that defines the laid back California beach lifestyle, infatuation with classic cars and young romance, and now after 50 influential years in music, the group has revisited its sunny roots for a brand new album.
Having just returned to their home state for two Southern California shows on their 50th Anniversary tour over the weekend, The Beach Boys are now celebrating the release of their new album off Capitol Records, That’s Why God Made The Radio, which hits stores today (June 5th).
The current Beach Boys lineup, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, all joined The K-EARTH 101 Morning Show with Gary Bryan in studio in honor of the record release day to talk about the new album, tour and the evolution of the group.
In the first part of the interview, The Beach Boys looked back 50 years ago to when the group first began.
Growing up next door to the “five geniuses” of the Wilson household in Hawthorne, CA, David remembers the three Wilson brothers, Brian, Dennis and Carl, having regular music sessions and sing-a-longs with their cousin Mike and him. It wasn’t soon after that their musical pastime would turn into something much more.
“It naturally evolved I think by default,” David explained to Gary.”The brothers were singing together with Mike all the time. Carl Wilson and myself started learning guitar together when we were very young. Al hooked up with Brian in high school and they were singing all the time, so it was just automatic I think.”
The group discussed being approached by a producer in LA to record a folk song, but not being interested in recording folk music, the group “stuck to [its] guns” and recorded the music they wanted to create.
“We like folk music. We like The Kingston Trio, we like Peter, Paul & Mary and all that, but Brian and I were more into the R&B and early rock and roll,” Mike explained. “So we said ‘let us come back to you with something,’ so we went back to his house and we came up with a song called ‘Surfin’ — our first song. It became a minor hit – a pretty good sized hit in LA.”
With local buzz growing for The Beach Boys, it wasn’t until after the release of the first breakout hit “Surfin’ Safari” in 1962 that the group really picked up steam. The hit peaked at No.14 on the U.S. charts, but The Boys soon followed up with what became their first international hit, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” in 1963.
“It was crazy because ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ was number one in a lot of places, even though it was only number three here,” said Mike.