500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Load Previous
The Beach Boys, 'California Girls'

72. The Beach Boys, 'California Girls'

Writers: Brian Wilson, Mike Love
Producer: Wilson
Released: July '65, Capitol
11 weeks; No. 3

The first time Wilson took acid, he sat at the piano and wrote the brooding, beautiful opening bars to "California Girls." It was a breakthrough moment, Wilson has said, that led him to begin creating more complex, emotional music. The lyrics, written by Love, were inspired by Wilson's assertion that "everybody loves girls." And despite the teen-fantasy theme, the singing is tougher than earlier Beach Boys hits, with tightly wound harmonies and an aggressive lead vocal. "I taught Mike to sing with attitude," said Wilson. "I was trying to create a new Beach Boys sound."

Appears on: Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys (Capitol)


The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: The Beach Boys

The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time: Brian Wilson

Back to Top