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The Beach Boys' key to success in 1966

The Beach Boys unleashed an incredible creative force in 1966 that started with “Pet Sounds” and ended with “Good Vibrations.” Here's a quick rundown of that magical year.
This Beach Boys article and many others were published in Goldmine's November issue, available by digital download by clicking here.

David Beard's full Beach Boys 1966 article is published in Goldmine's Special Beach Boys issue. The article includes interviews with Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and Al Jardine. It is available via digital download by clicking the above image.

For The Beach Boys, 1966 was a magical year.

By David Beard

In 1966, Brian Wilson and Mike Love cracked the code on the perfect marriage between jazz-infused rhythm and blues, exotica, doo-wop and psychedelic pop when The Beach Boys released “Good Vibrations,” a song that changed music overnight.

On “Pet Sounds” (released just before "Good Vibrations") you can hear Brian’s compelling personal storyline play out through the 13-track collection on “You Still Believe In Me,” “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder),” “Let’s Go Away For Awhile,” “God Only Knows,” “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” and “Caroline, No,” but in its entirety the overture to new horizons is enveloped with The Beach Boys’ influence. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “I’m Waiting for The Day,” “Sloop John B” and “I Know There’s an Answer” speak directly to the group’s vocal supremacy and each member’s musical acumen.



SINGLE RECORDED: January 31, 1966

RELEASED: March 7, 1966

CHART: U.S. Billboard Hot 100, Singles: No. 32



RECORDED: July 12-December 29, 1965

RELEASED: March 21, 1966

CHART: U.S.A.: No. 3 • Canada: No. 2 • U.K.: No. 2 • Australia: No. 17


RECORDED: July 12, 1965-April 13, 1966

RELEASED: May 16, 1966

CHART: 1966: U.S. Billboard 200 Albums

1966: U.K. Top 40 Album Chart, No. 10

1972: U.S. Billboard 200, No. 2

Albums: No. 50

1990: U.S. Billboard 200 Albums #162

2001: Top Internet Albums, No. 24


RECORDED: March 10-April 11, 1966

RELEASED: July 11, 1966 as A-Side b/w “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”

CHART: U.S.A.: No. 39 • U.K.: No. 2 • Australia: No. 17 • Norway: No. 6



RECORDED: January 22-April 11, 1966

RELEASED: July 18, 1966 as A-Side b/w “God Only Knows”

CHART: U.S.A.: No. 8 • Australia: No. 2 • Canada: No. 4 • New Zealand: No. 12

Cover art for the "Good Vibrations" single, released in 1966.

Cover art for the "Good Vibrations" single, released in 1966.


RECORDED: February 17 – September 21, 1966

RELEASED: October 10, 1966

STUDIOS: United Western Recorders, CBS Columbia Square, Gold Star Studios, and Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood

CHART: Australia: No. 1 • Austria: No. 9 • Belgium: No. 6 • Canadian: No. 2 • Finland: No. 3 • France: No. 10 • Germany: No. 8 • Irish Singles Chart: No. 3 • Italy: No. 12 • Malaysian Singles Chart: No. 1 • Netherlands (Dutch Top 40): No. 4 • Netherlands (Single Top 100): No. 4 • New Zealand: No. 1 • Norway: No. 2 • Rhodesian Singles Chart: No. 1 • Singaporean Singles Chart: No, 2 • South African Chart: No. 3 • U.K.: No. 1 • U.S. Billboard Hot 100: No. 1

Initially recorded during the “Pet Sounds” sessions, “Good Vibrations” takes over 10 months to record. Recorded in four different studios and costing $50,000 to produce (over $370,000 by today’s standards), it becomes one of the most expensive singles recorded up to that point. Upon release, the song enters Billboard’s Singles chart, and rises to the top, becoming The Beach Boys’ third No. 1 hit, and the band’s first Platinum-certified, million-selling single.

If you would prefer a physical copy of the special Beach Boys issue mentioned above, please call 715-445-4612, Ext. 13369 or email to order print copies.