Surfin' USA

Surfin' USA

Before The Beatles and the onslaught of the British Invasion of 1964, The Beach Boys were keeping rock 'n' roll alive with a vital edge. Surfin' U.S.A., the band's second album, released in March 1963, features some of the strongest surf-rock ever released. Five instrumentals show the young band's tight and considerable chops, including "Surf Jam" (composed by 16-year-old Carl Wilson) and a strong rendition of Dick Dale's "Let's Go Trippin'." The group members clearly could hold their own, even though they'd be sacrificed on later albums for studio musicians. However, the album is best noted for its thick double-tracked harmony vocals, the Chuck Berry–inspired title track, and Brian Wilson's emergence as the band's dominant songwriter and deserving vocalist, with the heartbreaking "Lonely Sea," the energetic "Farmer's Daughter," and the playful "Lana," which centers on Wilson's gorgeous falsetto. Mike Love gave the band a commercial edge with the title track, but Brian was beginning one of pop music's most glorious songwriting streaks.

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