The Beach Boys

Surfin' Safari

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 Capitol / EMI Records 2:07
No Image 1967 Capitol
American Graffiti 1973
Original Soundtrack
MCA 2:07
No Image 1973 Axis / Capitol
Oldies But Goodies: Legendary Hits 1979
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:02
No Image 1983 EMI Music Distribution
No Image 1984 Pair
No Image 1984
Various Artists
MCA
Made in U.S.A. 1986 Capitol 0:00
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1962 1986
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:06
Beach Classics 1987
Various Artists
Dunhill Compact Classics 1:59
Oldies but Goodies, Vol. 2 [Box] 1987
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:02
Golden Oldies, Vol. 3 [Original Sound 1994] 1989
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:00
Surfin' Hits 1989
Various Artists
Rhino 2:06
Surfin' Safari/Surfin' U.S.A. 1990 Capitol / EMI Records 2:06
Monster Summer Hits: Wild Surf 1991
Various Artists
Capitol 0:00
No Image 1992 EMI-Capitol Special Markets
Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys 1993 Capitol / EMI Records 2:16
Summer Hits [Rhino] 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 2:07
Surf's Up: Surfing Music's Greatest Hits 1994
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution 2:07
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
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
Groovin' Greats: Hits of the 60's, Vol. 7 1996
Various Artists
Creative Sounds 2:00
Pop History: 1962 1996
Various Artists
ZYX Music 1:59
Seasons in the Sun [Video] 1997
Various Artists
Galaxy Music 2:02
All Summer Long [Compilation] 1997 EMI Music Distribution 2:04
Good Time Gold 1997
Various Artists
Compose Records 2:05
Rock & Roll Beach Party 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:04
Sun Jammin' 1997
Various Artists
Madacy 2:05
Golden Summer [Flashback] 1997
Various Artists
Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 2:06
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
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Surfin' [Columbia River] 1997 Columbia River Entertainment Group
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
Mods Vs. Rockers 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 1:59
Capitol Years 1999 EMI Music Distribution 2:05
Endless Summer Legends, Vols. 1-3 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:04
Endless Summer, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:04
Greatest 1999 Import 2:07
Surf Rock [#1] 1999
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 2:16
Surf Rock [#2] 1999
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 2:16
Surf Rock, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 2:16
Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 1999 Capitol 2:06
Original Gold [2 CD Set] 1999 Original Gold (Netherlands) 2:04
4 Legendary Groups 1999
Various Artists
Double Play Records 2:04
No Image 1999 Disky 2:04
Surfin' [Varése] 2000 Varèse Vintage / Varese 2:08
Party Time [SPG] 2000
Various Artists
SPG 1:56
Oldies But Goodies, Vol. 2 & 3 2000
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:02
Oldies but Goodies, Vol. 1 [2000] 2000
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:31
Lost & Found: Studio Sessions 1961-1962 2000 DCC Compact Classics 2:09
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
Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys 2003 Capitol / EMI Records 2:07
Rock On 1962 2004
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:07
U.S. Singles Collection: The Capitol Years 1962-1965 2008 Capitol 2:07
No Image 2008
Various Artists
CMC Records 2:05
The Ramones: Heard Them Here First 2012
Various Artists
Ace 2:17
Fifty Big Ones: Greatest Hits 2012 Capitol / EMI 2:06
Greatest Hits [Capitol] 2012 Capitol / EMI 2:06
Salut Les Copains 1959-1968: Best of 2013
Various Artists
UMSM / Universal Music 2:04
Made in California 2013 Capitol / Universal 2:17
Sweethearts & Stolen Kisses: Dancehall Days 2014
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:04
Greatest Surf Hits [ZYX] 2016 Silver Star Records / ZYX / ZYX Music 2:05
Becoming the Beach Boys: The Complete Hite & Dorinda Morgan Sessions 2016 Omnivore 2:49
21 Super Golden Oldies
Various Artists
Bescol
No Image
Various Artists
EMI 2:04
No Image
Various Artists
Sony BMG
Endless Summer, Vol. 2 [Red Dog]
Various Artists
Red Dog 2:01
Greatest Hits: The Danish Collection Capitol
Surfin' Back to Back K-Tel Distribution
The Very Best of the Beach Boys: Fun, Fun, Fun EMI 2:28