Mike Love’s vocals jumped straight in. “Fun is in, it’s no sin, it’s that time again,” he sang, and it was — time for the Beach Boys to deliver another summer anthem and land another hit from their 15 Big Ones album, with ‘It’s OK.’ The song made its US chart debut on 21 August 1976.
The 15 Big Ones LP had made its chart debut as America celebrated the bicentennial of its independence, and what greater symbol of cultural pride did the nation possess than the Beach Boys? As they continued to ride the new wave of popularity that had started two years earlier with their Endless Summer compilation, the group now went backwards to go forwards.
In other words, 15 Big Ones was comprised largely of new covers of old rock ‘n’ roll classics, including the lead single, a spirited take on Chuck Berry’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Music.’ That reached No. 5 in the US, remarkably their best singles chart ranking there since ‘Good Vibrations’ almost a decade earlier.
In the UK, a new 20 Golden Greats compilation topped the chart in that summer of ’76, although ironically ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Music’ was upstaged by a reissue of ‘Good Vibrations,’ released to promote the British retrospective. That 1966 classic returned to the UK top 20.
‘It’s OK’ had a British connection of its own. The saxophone on the track was played by longtime Beach Boys devotee and studio/songwriting mastermind Roy Wood, much loved for his records with The Move, the early ELO, Wizzard and his solo hits. Bolstered by an NBC TV special that aired in early August called The Beach Boys: It’s OK, the track rose to No. 29 in America, as 15 Big Ones went gold.
‘It’s OK’ is on 15 Big Ones, which can be bought here.