The Beach Boys

Surfin' U.S.A.

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The real breakthrough, as Brian Wilson asserts himself in the studio as both songwriter and arranger on a set of material that was much stronger than Surfin' Safari. Besides the hit title track and its popular drag-racing flip side ("Shut Down"), this has a lovely, heartbreaking ballad ("Lonely Sea") and a couple of strong Brian Wilson originals ("The Noble Surfer" and "Farmer's Daughter"). There are also a surprisingly high quotient of instrumentals (five) that demonstrate that, before session musicians took over most of the parts, the Beach Boys could play respectably gutsy surf rock as a self-contained unit. Indeed, the album as a whole is the best they would make, prior to the late '60s, as a band that played most of their instruments, rather than as a vehicle for Brian Wilson's ideas. The LP was a huge hit, vital to launching surf music as a national craze, and one of the few truly strong records to be recorded by a self-contained American rock band prior to the British Invasion.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:30 Amazon
2 1:53 Amazon
3 2:06 Amazon
4 1:59 Amazon
5 2:23 Amazon
6 1:51 Amazon
7 1:53 Amazon
8 2:05 Amazon
9 1:48 Amazon
10 2:13 Amazon
11 2:01 Amazon
12 1:44 Amazon
13 2:29 Amazon
14 1:51 Amazon
15 2:06 Amazon
16 2:01 Amazon
17 2:23 Amazon
18 1:51 Amazon
19 1:53 Amazon
20 2:04 Amazon
21 1:41 Amazon
22 2:12 Amazon
23 1:59 Amazon
24 1:39 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick