Beatles and Beach Boys 50th Anniversaries

While the Beatles were at Hamburg’s Star-Club,
the Beach Boys were on a Surfin’ Safari

The Beatles wrapped up their two-week engagement at the Star-Club in Hamburg on November 14, 1962, and were about to start another round of club dates in Liverpool and other towns in the north of England. And while America was more than a year away from its first blast of Beatlemania, the country was beginning to catch a wave with the Beach Boys from sunny California.

The Beach Boys had signed with the Beatles future U.S. record company, Capitol Records, in the spring of 1962. Their first single, Surfin’ Safari b/w 409, was released on June 4, 1962. Surfin’ Safari got to number 14 on the charts, with the B-side, 409, stalling at 76. Based on the success of the single, Capitol recorded an album, which was released on October 1, 1962, four days ahead of the Beatles debut single in the U.K., Love Me Do. The Beach Boys album was named Surfin’ Safari to cash in on the popularity of the hit single of the same name. The album reached a respectable 32 on the charts.

During 1963, while the Beatles first three single releases flopped in America, the Beach Boys had three top ten singles, Surfin’ USA (#3), Surfer Girl (#7) and Be True To Your School (#6). Even the B-sides to these singles were hits. The first two singles, as was the case with their debut Capitol disc, had car songs on the B-side, Shut Down (#23) and Little Deuce Coup (#15). The third 1963 disc had the introspective In My Room (#23) on its flip side.

Capitol released three top ten Beach Boys albums in 1963, Surfin’ USA (#2), Surfer Girl (#7) and Little Deuce Coup (#4). This pattern of issuing multiple albums in a single year prepared the label for its 1964 release schedule for the Beatles, which included four studio albums and a documentary 2-LP set.

Although the Beach Boys and the Beatles both enjoyed huge success in 1964 – 1966, the Beatles were the more popular of the two groups, replacing the Four Seasons as the Beach Boys biggest rivals. It was a friendly rivalry, with Beatles and the Beach Boys pushing each other to greater musical heights.

Today’s trivia questions pertain to connections between the Beatles and the Beach Boys, who are both celebrating their 50th anniversaries of their first record releases this year.

Q: What Beatles song has Beach Boys style vocals and an assist in the writing of the lyrics from a Beach Boy?

Q: Which Beach Boy was with the Beatles in India when they studied with the Maharishi?

Q: What Beatles album inspired Beach Boy Brian Wilson to write and produce Pet Sounds?

Q: What Beach Boys album influenced Sgt. Pepper?

Q:  What Beach Boys song did Paul McCartney once call the greatest love song ever written?

Q: What five songs have been recorded and released by both the Beatles and the Beach Boys?

Q: What Chuck Berry song appears on the Beatles Live At The BBC album and on The Beach Boys Concert LP?

Q: What Beatles song did the Beach Boys record, but not release?

Back In The USSR was written by Paul while the Beatles were in Rishikesh, India, studying with the Maharishi. The song has Beach Boys style vocals and a lyrical assist from Beach Boy Mike Love, who suggested that Paul add the bit about the Ukraine and Moscow girls, giving the lyrics a touch of the Beach Boys’ hit single California Girls.


The Beatles album Rubber Soul inspired Beach Boy Brian Wilson to write and produce Pet Sounds, which influenced the Beatles LP Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Paul has called the Beach Boys song God Only Knows one of the greatest love songs ever written.

The Beach Boys recorded and released five songs previously issued on Beatles albums. I Should Have Known Better, Tell Me Why and You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away were on The Beach Boys Party! LP. The Chuck Berry song Rock ’N’ Roll Music is on 15 Big Ones. With A Little Help From My Friends was issued in 1983 on the Beach Boys Rarities LP.

The Chuck Berry song Johnny B. Goode appears on both the Beatles Live At The BBC album and on The Beach Boys Concert LP.

The Beach Boys recorded the Beatles song Ticket To Ride during the sessions for The Beach Boys Party! LP. It was not included on the album.

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