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Some of The Beach Boys‘ hits made it all the way to No. 1, but the overwhelming majority did not. Some of their most important tunes got nowhere close. Here’s a look at five tunes that didn’t get as much love as they deserved.

1. ‘California Girls’

One of the best summer jams of all time, “California Girls,” only peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. While Mike Love’s lyrics are cute and sweet, the real star of the song is Brian Wilson’s production, especially the opening riff. Pop music has rarely been as complex or beautiful as the intro to “California Girls.”

The tune also helped cement California’s sun and fun image. Katy Perry nicked the title of this tune for her own track “California Gurls,” which reuses the line “I wish they all could be California girls.” While Perry’s song is great, it doesn’t compare to the original.

2. ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’

“Surfin’ U.S.A.” isn’t the best Beach Boys song, but it lives up to their name more than most of thrift other hits. The guitar riff was lifted from Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen.” Every 1960s rock star stole ideas from Berry, The Beach Boys were just more blatant about it. Today, Berry is one of the credited writers of “Surfin’ U.S.A.”

While pop music focuses on summer jams, too few pop songs are about the beach. Hats off to The Beach Boys for making the beach a consistent theme in their music. “Surfin’ U.S.A” peaked at No. 3.

3. ‘Don’t Worry Baby’

During a 2021 interview with Forbes, Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham had some insight into “Don’t Worry Baby.” He was asked to name the best pop songs ever. “I don’t know if there’s one, but as far as pop goes, I’ll give you one of my, probably at the top of my list for a great A and B side of a 45, how’s that?” he replied. 

“And that is, ‘I Get Around,’ by The Beach Boys on the A-side, and what’s on the B-side? ‘Don’t Worry Baby,'” he added. Despite that praise, “Don’t Worry Baby” only made it to No. 24.

4. ‘Barbara Ann’

Barber-shop music was a significant influence on The Beach Boys. “Barbara Ann” might be the most obvious example of that influence. Some Beach Boys tunes are great because innovative, but “Barbara Ann” is great because it’s one of the best songs of its type.

The original version of “Barbara Ann” was by an obscure group called The Regents. The Beach Boys’ recording became far more famous, charting at No. 2. The fact that The Beach Boys’ cover completely overshadowed The Regents’ version shows how talented The Beach Boys were. Most of The Beach Boys’ covers are obscure now, but “Barbara Ann” has stood the test of time.

5. ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’

When they weren’t singing about the beach, The Beach Boys were probably singing about cars. “Fun, Fun, Fun” is one of their best car songs, partly because of its joyously rebellious lyrics. While the group went on to record darker music, “Fun, Fun, Fun” embodied the innocence and sunshine of their early years, peaking at No. 5.


A Member of The Mamas & the Papas Co-Wrote The Beach Boys’ Last No. 1 Song

“Fun Fun, Fun” was used to advertise Barbieland in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which is portrayed as a pink, plastic California. All these years later, “Fun, Fun, Fun” still puts smiles on listeners’ faces. No summer is complete without a listen or two.