Did the Beach Boys Ever Have a Number-One Hit?
Did the Beach Boys ever hit number-one on the Billboard Hot 100? Yes, they did. Here’s a look back at the four pop masterpieces they rode to the top of the charts.
1. ‘I Get Around’
“Get around/get around/I get around.” Who could hear the Beach Boys sing those iconic lyrics and forget them? “I Get Around” is one of the greatest examples of the early Beach Boys formula.
Pop, rock, harmonies, and pure fun combine to create one of the most enduring songs of the 1960s. “I Get Around” is the soundtrack to the perfect summer that we all dream about. “I Get Around” is one of the songs that established the Beach Boys as a group with a distinct musical formula, one which they would both perfect, surpass, and recreate.
2. ‘Help Me, Rhonda’
The original version of “Help Me , Rhonda” was released on the band’s 1965 album The Beach Boys Today!. That version of the track was simple, jaunty, and catchy. It wasn’t the version of the song which became a hit.
The Beach Boys would take a second crack at “Help Me, Rhonda” on their 1966 album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!). Listening to the two versions is like night and day. One is a primo example of early rock but the second version encapsulates the amazing studio experimentation which makes the 1960s such a compelling musical era. Despite its buoyancy, “Help Me, Rhonda” sees a touch of sadness creep into the Beach Boys’ music, prefiguring the sadness and darkness of the band’s legendary unfinished album Smile.
3. ‘Good Vibrations’
The Beach Boys gave us several masterpieces. “Good Vibrations” is sometimes regarded as their uber-masterpiece. Regardless of where it stands in the Beach Boys canon, “Good Vibrations,” with its distinct sections, was a huge influence on the nascent genre of progressive rock.
“I’m picking up good vibrations.” Those lyrics say so much in so few words. That’s not to mention the glories of the song’s instrumentation.
No Beach Boys song was more polarizing than “Kokomo.” A laid-back song about a tropical vacation, this track was the musical equivalent to a tropical island breeze to many fans. However, other fans felt the song was a lazy cash-in. “Kokomo” has inspired enough derision to get dissed in a Lana Del Rey song over thirty years after its release.
Whether you love it or hate it, it’s undeniable “Kokomo” features none of the experimentation which made records like Pet Sounds and Smiley Smile so compelling. “Kokomo” hit number-one in 1988, long after the Beach Boys’ heydey. Regardless of the song’s quality, it’s amazing the band made it to the top of the charts after such a long absence. The track helped introduce the band to a new generation, helping them to have a cross-generational appeal.