For five decades, The Beach Boys — America’s first pop band to reach the 50-year milestone — has recorded and performed the music that has become the world’s favorite soundtrack to summer. Founded in Hawthorne, California in 1961, The Beach Boys were originally comprised of the three teenaged Wilson brothers: Brian, Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and school friend Al Jardine. In 1962, neighbor David Marks joined the group for their first wave of hits with Capitol Records, leaving in late 1963, and in 1965, Bruce Johnston joined the band when Brian Wilson retired from touring to focus on writing and producing for the group.
The Beach Boys signed with Capitol Records in July 1962 and released their first album, Surfin’ Safari, that same year. The album spent 37 weeks on the Billboard chart, launching the young group known for its shimmering vocal harmonies and relaxed California style into international stardom. The Wilson/Love collaboration resulted in many huge international chart hits, and under Brian Wilson’s musical leadership, the band’s initial surf-rock focus was soon broadened to include many other themes, helping make The Beach Boys America’s preeminent band of the 1960s.Listen to the full episode