The Beach Boys’ ‘Barbara Ann’ Was Originally by Another Group

TL;DR:

  • The Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann” was originally by a doo-wop group.
  • Mike Love had a strong reaction to the other group’s version of the song.
  • “Barbara Ann” almost reached the peak of the Billboard Hot 100.
The Beach Boys wearing striped shirts during the "Barbara Ann" era
The Beach Boys | Fox Photos/Getty Images

Doo-wop was a huge influence on The Beach Boys‘ songs. For example, the original version of The Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann” was by a doo-wop group. Mike Love revealed he was surprised when the band’s cover of “Barbara Ann” became a hit.

Mike Love explained how doo-wop music inspired The Beach Boys’ songs

During a 2022 interview with The Red Bulletin, Love said doo-wop music was a huge influence on his group. “We were inspired by all the doo-wop groups with their harmonies, the bass guitar, the lead, and all the harmonies,” Love recalled. 

Subsequently, Love discussed The Kingston Trio’s doo-wop version of the traditional song “Sloop John B.” “Those were fun songs — like ‘Sloop John B,’ which my cousin Brian Wilson did an incredible arrangement and production for, and our version ended up on the Pet Sounds album,” he said.

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Mike Love was a fan of the original version of The Beach Boys’ ‘Barbara Ann’

Afterward, Love discussed another cover by his band. “Our hit ‘Barbara Ann’ was a cover, as they call it,” he said. “It was done by a group called The Regents from the East Coast. They came up with a great arrangement.” Notably, The Regents were a doo-wop group.

Love said the public’s reaction to his band’s “Barbara Ann” surprised him. “My cousin Brian did that arrangement as well, and we used it on our Beach Boys’ Party album,” he recalled. “We didn’t even expect it to be a hit record for us, but it was. It was high on the charts, just before Pet Sounds came out.”

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How ‘Sloop John B’ and ‘Barbara Ann’ and their parent albums performed on the charts in the United States

While the band did not originate “Sloop John B” or “Barbara Ann,” both songs became hits in the United States. “Sloop John B” reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 11 weeks. The cover appeared on the album Pet Sounds. The album peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 47 weeks.

“Barbara Ann” became even more popular. The track reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 11 weeks. “Barbara Ann” appeared on the album Beach Boys’ Party! The album hit No. 6 and lasted 24 weeks on the chart.

“Barbara Ann” proves there was more of a connection between doo-wop and classic rock than one might think.

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