Single by The Beach Boys
from the album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
B-side "Let Him Run Wild"
Released July 12, 1965
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded track: April 6, 1965 at Western Studios
vocals: June 4, 1965 at Columbia Records Studio
Genre Pop rock
Writer(s) Brian Wilson, Mike Love
Producer Brian Wilson
"California Girls" is a song by American rock band The Beach Boys, featured on their ninth studio album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) (1965).
Written by band-members Brian Wilson (who conceived the song during an LSD trip) and Mike Love, the song features contrasting verse-chorus form. Upon its release as a single, "California Girls" reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
It is one of The Beach Boys' most famous songs and has been included on countless greatest hits compilations. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included the song in its of the "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll".
In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it 71st on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. David Lee Roth covered the song in 1985, also peaking at #3 on the Billboard charts.
The music for the song came from Brian Wilson's first LSD experience. In the Beautiful Dreamer documentary, Wilson said that shortly after taking LSD, he ran up to a bedroom and hid under a pillow, shouting "I'm afraid of my mom, I'm afraid of my dad." Some time later he left the room and went to a piano.
He started playing in the bass the B-F#-G# pattern over and over, and then added in the right hand after a few minutes a B chord, moving to an A chord. Within a half hour, he had come up with the "well east-coast girls are hip, I really dig the styles they wear" part of the song. The next day, he and Mike Love supposedly finished off the remainder of the song.
"California Girls" was the first Beach Boys recording to feature vocals from Bruce Johnston, who had joined the group to substitute for Brian Wilson on concert tours.
In addition to reaching #3 in the US, other countries where the song was highly popular include Canada (#2 in RPMs national chart), Rhodesia (also #2), and Sweden (#6).
It peaked at #8 in Australia, and in South Africa it made one of the Beach Boys' best-ever international showings, staying six weeks at No. 1. Radio plays of the song in the United States alone are said to total between four and five million to date, thus making it the Beach Boys' biggest royalty earner.
The song has been prominently referenced by other artists on more than one occasion. Most notably, the Beatles' "Back in the U.S.S.R." is considered an homage to the song.
Hal Blaine - drums
Frank Capp - vibraphone
Roy Caton - trumpet
Jerry Cole - 12-string guitar
Al de Lory - organ
Steve Douglas - tenor saxophone
Al Jardine - vocals
Bruce Johnston - vocals
Carol Kaye - bass guitar
Mike Love - lead vocals
Jay Migliori - baritone saxophone
Jack Nimitz - bass saxophone
Lyle Ritz - upright bass
Howard Roberts - guitar
Leon Russell - piano
Billy Strange - tambourine
Brian Wilson - vocals
ske nas fla ro skeja ldkje-flute and trombone
Dennis Wilson - vocals