You hear that? That distant harmony basking in the hot sun? Those beautiful arrangements that, for some reason, make you want to pick up surfing? Yup, that’s The Beach Boys, alright. The iconic ‘60s harmony act has returned with the new expanded edition of their Sounds of Summer: The Very Best Of The Beach Boys compilation. Just in time for summer too! How about that…
The retouch of Sounds of Summer, originally released in 2003, celebrates the band’s 60th anniversary and beefs up the original’s 30-song tracklist with 50 additional tunes of young love, distant islands, and, yes, shredding the waves. Curated by Mark Linett and Alan Boyd, who oversaw the SMiLE Sessions compilation, Sounds of Summer also features over 20 new mixes for fans to enjoy.
Projects like Sound of Summer prove just how relevant The Beach Boys remain over half a century on. Children still grow up with hits like “Good Vibrations” and “Surfin’ USA,” megafans still obsess over unreleased material (as evidenced by SMiLE Sessions), and Pet Sounds still consistently ranks as one of the crowning achievements of pop music.
“We [get] rediscovered by another generation, which is happening right now as a matter of fact,” Beach Boys co-founder and guitarist Al Jardine tells Consequence by phone. “It seems like there’s a renewal in every generation. Every ten years, it feels like.”
Like The Beatles, the continued interest can sometimes lead to an over-mythologization of The Beach Boys and its five founding members. Tales of Brian Wilson’s mental health struggles and intra-band conflicts are nearly as famous as “God Only Knows” or “Kokomo.” But, also like The Beatles, it takes just one revisit to their music to remember why the frenzy remains — their songs are simply that timeless.
We spoke to Al Jardine, who has his own re-release coming up in August, about the legacy and lasting success of The Beach Boys. Though he left the band for about a year in 1962, Jardine remained an instrumental member of The Beach Boys throughout their recording and touring career. Along with Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Carl Wilson, and Dennis Wilson — as well as a rotating cast of extremely talented session musicians and temporary touring members — Jardine contributed his talents as both a singer and producer to the many Beach Boys hits.
Tracks like “Help Me, Rhonda,” “I Know There’s an Answer,” and “Vegetables” feature Jardine on lead vocals, and songs like “Cotton Fields” showcase the unique folk sensibilities he brought to Brian Wilson’s otherwise lush rock and roll arrangements. Though the Shakespearean tragedy of the Wilsons or the litigious actions of Mike Love outshine Jardine’s less controversial relationship with The Beach Boys, his fingerprints cover the band’s history much more than many casual fans realize.
Jardine is not blind to the cultural behemoth that he helped start. He’s well aware of the music’s longstanding, overwhelming success — and he couldn’t be more grateful. Check out Jardine’s thoughts on the expansion of Sounds of Summer, the frustrating aspects of the music business, and the one thing people get wrong when telling The Beach Boys’ story below.
Sounds of Summer: The Very Best Of The Beach Boys is available now on digital and physical formats. The Beach Boys’ SiriusXM channel “Good Vibrations” will also relaunch on July 1st; meanwhile, both Mike Love’s Beach Boys (get tickets here) and Brian Wilson with Al Jardine (get tickets here) are currently on tour.