Surfin' U.S.A. is the second studio album released by American rock band the Beach Boys. It reached number two in the US, lasting 78 weeks on the albums chart, eventually being certified gold by the RIAA, and brought the group newfound national success. It was led by one single, its title track with the B-side "Shut Down". In the United Kingdom, the album was belatedly released in late 1965, reaching number 17.
The majority of the album's recording commenced in the first week of 1963, three months after the release of Surfin' Safari. Like the group's debut album, production was credited ostensibly to Capitol's representative for Artists and Repertoire, Nick Venet, although bandleader Brian Wilson was heavily involved in the album's composition. The album marks the beginning of his practice to doubletrack vocals, resulting in a fuller sound.
In 1990, Brian Wilson reflected on Surfin' U.S.A. in liner notes which accompanied its first CD issue:
By the time I got to the album, SURFIN’ USA, I was more experienced at producing. The album SURFIN’ SAFARI was practice for me. ... This album showcased our voices. We were just kids, but we were serious about our craft. The point being that when you are given the chance, you do your best. ... I think that I was a good coach for the boys. I didn’t like second-rate vocals. It was either the best or nothin’, in my opinion. The boys picked up. We had a good understanding between us and I was their leader. We got it done relatively fast in the studio. ... On this album, we had gotten into a fast pace: almost athletic in nature. It was because "Surfin’ USA" was such a smash hit on the radio. It was the big time for us. ... Production-wise, this album was an early Brian Wilson production.
The photograph that adorns the front sleeve was taken by artist/photographer/surfer John Severson during January 1960, showing California-based waverider Leslie Williams riding the winter swell at Sunset Beach (Oahu) in Hawaii. Intended for the front cover of Severson's Surfer magazine, the original negative was damaged during the color separation process and couldn't appear in print. When Capitol Records requested a suitable photograph for the new Beach Boys album Severson fixed the damaged image and sold it to them.
The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in 1961, who gained popularity for their close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting a Southern California youth culture of cars, surfing, and romance. Brian Wilson's growing creative ambitions later transformed them into a more artistically innovative group that earned critical praise and influenced many later musicians.
The group was initially composed of singer-musician-composer Brian Wilson, his brothers, Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. This core quintet was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 1988.
The Beach Boys have often been called "America's Band", and Allmusic has stated that "the band's unerring ability... made them America's first, best rock band." The group has had thirty-six U.S. Top 40 hits (the most of any U.S. rock band) and fifty-six Hot 100 hits, including four number-one singles. Rolling Stone magazine listed The Beach Boys as number 12 in the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time . According to Billboard, in terms of singles and album sales, The Beach Boys are the No.-1-selling American band of all time.
Many changes in both musical styles and personnel have occurred during their career, notably because of Brian Wilson's mental illness and drug use (leading to his eventual withdrawal from the group) and the deaths of Dennis and Carl Wilson in 1983 and 1998, respectively. Extensive legal battles between members of the group have also played their part. After the death of Carl Wilson, founding member Al Jardine left to pursue a solo career. Currently, the surviving members of The Beach Boys continue to tour in three separate bands: "The Beach Boys Band" with Love, Bruce Johnston, and a rotation of backing musicians; Al Jardine's "Endless Summer Band" with Jardine, his sons, and several former Beach Boys backup musicians; and Brian Wilson with a 10-piece band including members of The Wondermints and Jeff Foskett, who toured with the Beach Boys in the 1980s and 1990s as a backing guitarist/singer.
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