By: The Beach Boys, formed in 1961 by Brian Wilson (born June 20, 1942 in Hawthorne, California); his brothers, Dennis Wilson (born December 4, 1944, died December 28, 1983) and Carl Wilson (born December 21, 1946, died February 6, 1998); their cousin Mike Love (born March 15, 1941 in Los Angeles, California), and friend Alan Jardine (born September 3, 1942 in Lima, Ohio).
The Beach Boys are one the most influential groups in rock and pop music history, with 36 US Top 40 hits (including four #1 singles) and many million-selling albums
"Surfin’ U.S.A." was written by Brian to the tune of Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen". It was released as a single and it also appeared on the 1963 album of the same name. The B-side of the single was "Shut Down". The song features Mike Love on lead vocals.
According to Brian, the song was also influenced by Chubby Checker's "Twistin' U.S.A.".
Wilson was aided by his then-girlfriend Judy Bowles' little brother Jimmy, who came up with the list of sixteen surfing spots included in the song.
Chart position: #3 (US), #34 (UK).
The Top Ten Songs: May 25, 1963 (US Billboard Hot 100).
- "If You Wanna Be Happy" (Jimmy Soul)
- "I Will Follow Him" (Little Peggy March)
- "Surfin' U.S.A." (Beach Boys)
- "Foolish Little Girl" (Shirelles)
- "I Love You Because" (Al Martino)
- "Losing You" (Brenda Lee)
- "Two Faces Have I" (Lou Christie)
- "Take These Chains From My Heart" (Ray Charles)
- "It's My Party" (Lesley Gore)
- "Another Saturday Night" (Sam Cooke)
Written by: Brian Wilson and Chuck Berry.
When the song was released in 1963, the original pressing listed Brian Wilson as the sole composer of the song.
As soon as the song became a hit, Chuck Berry claimed the melody was his (which was true, as it was a copy of "Sweet Little Sixteen".) However, Brian’s father, Murry Wilson, gave Berry the copyright without ever informing his son. Brian Wilson didn't know, for more than twenty-five years, that Murry also gave away Brian’s lyric royalties, which clearly weren't Berry's.
Despite there being tensions over the incident at the time, Chuck Berry later claimed that he actually liked the song. Carl Wilson later said the Beach Boys ran into Berry while on tour in Copenhagen, and told the Beach Boys that he loved "Surfin' USA".
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