By the end of 1964, the Beach Boys were established as one of America’s top groups. In less than three years, they’d placed no fewer than 17 singles on the Hot 100 and had scored their first No. 1 in July of that year with ‘I Get Around.’
They were now an international attraction as well, having mounted their first overseas trip with an Australian tour early in ’64, and after their first major US itinerary, November saw them in the UK for their first promotional trip. The one thing missing was a No. 1 US album, and that arrived on 5 December, in the form of their first live record.
Beach Boys Concert was recorded chiefly on 1 August at the Civic Auditorium in Sacramento, in their home state of California. The group had already charted with six albums by this time, four of which went gold and one, late 1963’s Little Deuce Coupe, was certified platinum.
Looking back on the live disc, it’s an invaluable memento of an era that was soon to be over, because Brian Wilson was about to retire from the touring Beach Boys to concentrate on studio work. As well as the Sacramento date, it featured some material from a show at the end of 1963, and captures the group in all its youthful exuberance.
Their own hits such as ‘Fun, Fun, Fun,’ ‘Little Deuce Coupe’ and ‘I Get Around’ sit alongside an interesting selection of rock ‘n’ roll covers, including Dion’s hit ‘The Wanderer,’ Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B. Goode’ and even Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett and the Crypt Kickers’ 1962 novelty US chart-topper ‘Monster Mash.’
The album took over at the top from Barbra Streisand’s ‘People’ on 5 December, 1964 and was America’s No. 1 all over the festive period, in a four-week reign into the new year. But the group would never top the Billboard chart with a studio album, only reaching the summit one more time when the first wave of Beach Boys nostalgia hit in 1974, with Endless Summer.
Beach Boys Concert can be bought here.
Follow the official Beach Boys Best Of playlist.