5 Deep Cuts From the Beach Boys

Few bands have delivered quite as many sun-soaked hits as the Beach Boys. Brian Wilson and his bandmates penned songs that helped to usher in a new genre and defined a generation. Songs like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Surfin’ U.S.A,” and “Good Vibrations” earned the group a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame amongst many other accolades.

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But those songs are only one half of the Beach Boys’ story. We’ve dug into the group’s discography to find some lesser-known tracks for you less well-versed fans to check out.

Here are five great deep cuts from Beach Boys.

1. Feel Flows”

Carl Wilson was a teenager in the early days of Beach Boys’ rise to fame. His contribution to the band back then was largely confined to adding angelic harmonies and guitar lines to songs penned by his brother Brian and his cousin Mike. But in the late ’60s, when Brian was largely out of commission (due to his evolving battle with schizoaffective disorder), Carl began to try his hand at songwriting. Among his catalog is the trippy “Feel Flows,” which landed on the group’s Surf’s Up album. The song didn’t make much of a fuss upon its release, but it eventually garnered some attention after Cameron Crowe used it for his ode to rock & roll movie, Almost Famous.

2. Let Him Run Wild”

The Beach Boys’ won big with “California Girls” in 1965, but hiding on the B-side of the single was another gem: “Let Him Run Wild.” The song showcases the group’s unreplicable ear for harmonies and flexes Brian Wilson’s lyricism. Despite being a fantastic showcase of the group’s strengths, Wilson has since said it is one of his least favorite Beach Boys songs. Nevertheless, it’s a charming listen and worth checking out if you’re unfamiliar.

3. “Sail on, Sailor”

The Beach Boys received a personnel change in the early ’70s. Dennis Wilson was unable to play the drums because of an injured hand and Bruce Johnson walked away to work as a songwriter, prompting Carl to tap drummer Ricky Fataar and singer-guitarist Blondie Chaplin to work with the band. During his tenure with the group, Chaplin sang on the lesser-known gem, “Sail On, Sailor.” The song was a group effort from Brian, Van Dyke Parks, Raymond Louis Kennedy, Tadyn Almer, and Jack Rieley. Despite there being a lot of cooks in the kitchen, they managed to come together to write this stellar, bluesy anthem.

4. “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”

It’s a little dicey to dub any song on Pet Sounds a deep cut, but if there is one that deserves more attention, it’s “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.” The lyrics came from Tony Asher, a writer of commercial jingles. Brian saw a cross-over appeal in Asher’s work and tapped him to work on this song for Pet Sounds. Though Brian didn’t write the lyrics, they feel right in line with the content he was pushing out at the time – introspective and a little off-kilter.

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5. “California Saga”

It’s hard to imagine that the Beach Boys would ever glean inspiration from anywhere else than the sunny shores of California. Nevertheless, the band shipped off to Holland in the summer of 1972, hoping that a change of scenery would spark a fresh perspective. Despite being thousands of miles away, Mike Love and Al Jardine’s minds were never far from their home state. The “California” saga consists of Mike’s “Big Sur,” “The Beaks of the Eagles” and Jardine’s “California.” All three songs take things back to the basics of what made The Beach Boys household names in the first place.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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