The Beach Boys

Surfin' Safari

Composed by Brian Wilson / Mike Love

Song Review by

The Beach Boys' follow-up to the modest success of "Surfin'" added a stronger rock feel and became a bigger hit as a result. Like that song, "Surfin' Safari" is concerned with lifestyle of the average young Californian surfer, but it differs in that it focuses on one aspect of this lifestyle: the act of a surf run. Starting with the anthemic "Let's go surfin' now/Everybody's learning how/Come on and safari with me," the lyrics lay out a travelogue of surf spots that range from "Doheny" all the way to exotic Peru. This picturesque narrative is backed by a driving melody that breaks up its verse melodies with a complex, rhythmic chorus that pits two separate but complimentary vocal lines against each other to draw the listener in. The Beach Boys' recording ups the energy level even higher by punctuating it with cymbal-heavy drum work from Dennis Wilson and a short but nifty electric guitar solo performed in a Chuck Berry-inspired style by Carl Wilson. The end result is a tight, energetic slice of harmony-laden surf rock that gave the Beach Boys their first big U.S. hit. It also became a favorite cover for surf bands like the Lively Ones and Jan & Dean, but the Beach Boys' version remains the best-remembered recording thanks to its sharp arrangement and signature vocal harmonies. Even someone with no intention of going near a surf board could get sucked in by the infectious fun of "Surfin' Safari."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Surfin' Safari 1962 Nuova Fresca Edizioni Musicali 2:08
Surfin' U.S.A. 1963 K-Tel 2:08
All Summer Long 1964 Disky
No Image 1967 Capitol
No Image 1973 Axis/Capitol
Endless Summer 1974 Capitol 2:08
No Image 1978
Oldies But Goodies: Legendary Hits 1979
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:02
No Image 1983 EMI Music Distribution
No Image 1984
Various Artists
MCA
Made in U.S.A. 1986 Capitol
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1962 1986
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:06
Oldies but Goodies, Vol. 3 [CD] 1987
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:02
Surfin' Hits 1989
Various Artists
Rhino 2:06
Surfin' Safari/Surfin' U.S.A. 1990 Capitol 2:06
Summer Dreams [1990] 1990 EMI
Monster Summer Hits: Wild Surf 1991
Various Artists
Capitol
No Image 1991 Capitol
Surfin' USA [Dominion] 1991
Various Artists
Dominion / Dominion 2:03
No Image 1992 EMI-Capitol Special Markets
Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys 1993 Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 2:16
Summer Hits [Rhino] 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 2:07
Greatest Hits [Hollywood] 1994 EMI Music Distribution 2:05
Surf's Up: Surfing Music's Greatest Hits 1994
Various Artists
Pair
Best of Oldies but Goodies, Vol. 1 [1994] 1994
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment
Car Trax: California Cruisin 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:05
Born to Be Wild, Vol. 4 [Madacy] 1995
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 1:59
Surfin' Safari [Prime Cuts] 1995
Various Artists
St. Clair / Prime Cuts 2:05
Summer Breeze, Vol. 1 [K-Box] 1995
Various Artists
K-Box 1:59
Party Time, Vol. 1: Ultimate Party Album 1996
Various Artists
SPG 1:56
Surfer Hits 1996 Remember Records 1:57
Jenny McCarthy's Surfin' Safari 1996
Various Artists
Interscope
Cult of Surfin' 1996
Various Artists
ZYX Music 1:59
Double Gold Hits, Vol. 2 1996
Various Artists
Public Music
Pop History: 1962 1996
Various Artists
ZYX Music 1:59
Seasons in the Sun [Video] 1997
Various Artists
Galaxy Music 2:02
Golden Surf 1997 Public Music
Good Time Gold 1997
Various Artists
Compose Records 2:05
Sun Jammin' 1997
Various Artists
Madacy 2:05
Golden Summer [Flashback] 1997
Various Artists
Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 2:06
Kahuna Classics: Surf Music 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:01
Hits to Remember, Vol. 1 1997
Various Artists
Galaxy Music 1:59
Best Sellers of the 60's & 70's 1997
Various Artists
Best Music International 1:56
Fun in the Sun 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:02
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
The Best of Rock 'N' Roll Beach Party 1997
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings 2:03
Surf Box 1998
Various Artists
Riviere International Records 1:59
Best Sellers of the 60's, Vol. 1 1998
Various Artists
Wise Buy 1:58
All Summer Long [Compilation] 1998 EMI Music Distribution 2:04
Mods Vs. Rockers 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 1:59
Capitol Years 1999 EMI Music Distribution 2:05
Greatest 1999 Import 2:07
Surf Rock, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 2:16
Original Gold [2 CD Set] 1999 Original Gold (Netherlands)
4 Legendary Groups 1999
Various Artists
Double Play Records 2:04
No Image 1999 Disky 2:04
No Image 2000 Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol
Surfin' [Varése] 2000 Varèse Vintage / Varese 2:02
Party Time [SPG] 2000
Various Artists
SPG 1:56
Oldies But Goodies, Vol. 2 & 3 2000
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:02
Greatest Hits 1961-1965, Vol. 1 2000 Capitol/EMI Records
Studio Sessions 1961-1962 2000 Import 2:06
Rock N' Roll 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution 2:02
Surfin' Beach Party 2001 Legacy 1:57
Mega 60's 2001
Various Artists
Wagram Records 2:02
The Very Best of the Beach Boys 2001 Capitol 2:07
A Decade in Sound 2001
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 1:59
Shagadelic Hits of the 60's 2001
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill
A Year in Your Life: 1960's, Vol. 3 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 2:01
American Graffiti, Vol. 2 2002
Original Soundtrack
DJ Specialist 2:06
Golden Oldies, Vol. 6 [Original Sound 2002] 2002
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 1:59
Sommarklassiker 2002
Various Artists
Scranta Grammofon 2:04
No Image 2003 EMI Music Distribution 2:04
Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys 2003 Capitol / EMI 2:07
The Sixties [Goldies Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Goldies 2:00
Rock On 1962 2004
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:07
Spirit of Woodstock 2004
Various Artists
BMG International
Platinum Collection: Sounds of Summer Edition 2005 Mixed Repertoire 2:06
Dancin' on Sunshine: All Time Greatest Summertime Hits 2006
Various Artists
American Beat Records 2:04
The Great Beach Boys 2006 Goldies
Hits of the Beach Boys 2007 EMI 2:05
Forever Beach Boys 2007 Madacy 2:05
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Vanity Fair
Where Were You: 1962 2008
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:06
Joel Whitburn Presents: Top Pop Treasures 1962 2008
Various Artists
Curb 2:07
U.S. Singles Collection: The Capitol Years 1962-1965 2008 Capitol 2:07
60's Super Hits [Music Brokers] 2008
Various Artists
Music Brokers 1:57
Music Ages 2008 Music Ages / Proper Music Distribution 1:58
Forever 2008 Edge / Immortal
Superhits Collection 2008
Various Artists
Music Brokers 1:57
Holidays & Hits 2009 Capitol 2:07
Surf Music Hits [ZYX] 2010
Various Artists
ZYX 2:09
The Ramones: Heard Them Here First 2012
Various Artists
Ace 2:17
200 Sixties Hits: 200 Classic No. 1 Songs from the 60s 2012
Various Artists
Maximuze 2:03
Greatest Hits [Capitol] 2012 Capitol
Icon 2013 Capitol 2:07
Live: The 50th Anniversary Tour 2013 Capitol / Cobalt Music/ Helladisc S.A. / EMI / Universal / Universal Division Az 2:49
Salut Les Copains 1959-1968: Best of 2013
Various Artists
UMSM / Universal Music 2:04
Made in California 2013 Capitol 2:17
No Image 2013
Various Artists
Starbucks
Sweethearts and Stolen Kisses: From the Movies 2014
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:04
Ultimate Jukebox Hits of the 50s & 60s 2015
Various Artists
One Day Music 2:06
Ringing the Liberty Bell 2016 Gossip 2:24
Greatest Surf Hits [ZYX] 2016 Silver Star Records / ZYX / ZYX Music 2:05
21 Super Golden Oldies
Various Artists
Bescol
No Image Capitol 2:04
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 1:55
No Image
Various Artists
Sony BMG
Endless Summer, Vol. 2 [Red Dog]
Various Artists
Red Dog 2:01
Fab Hits, Vol. 5
Various Artists
Sound and Vision 2:06
Golden Oldies Hit Series, Vol. 18
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 1:58
Greatest Hits: The Danish Collection Capitol
No Image Spectrum Music
Mega Sunshine
Various Artists
Arcade Music
Oldies Hits A to Z, Vol. 11
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:00
Plein Sud
Various Artists
Columbia
Pop Anthology: 1962
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 1:59
No Image
Various Artists
Allegiance Records
Surf Essentials: The Best Surf Compilation Ever!
Various Artists
Allegro Corporation / Music Brokers 1:59
Surfin' Back to Back K-Tel Distribution
The   Rebirth of the Sixties
Various Artists
Music Brokers 1:57
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:18
The  Many Faces of Ramones: A Journey Through the Inner World of Ramones
Various Artists
Music Brokers 1:59
The  Sound of Summer [K-Tel]
Various Artists
K-Tel
The  Very Best of the Beach Boys: Fun, Fun, Fun EMI 2:28
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