Meaning of California Girls by The Beach Boys & The Story Behind

In the popular music of the sixties of the last century, a direction was formed, which is commonly called the California sound. Critics consider the composition California Girls by The Beach Boys, which glorifies the beautiful girls of the Golden State, to be the embodiment of this style.

The wonderful song, which eventually became the hallmark of the legendary group, will be discussed later in the article.

California Girls by The Beach Boys Song Story

According to an unconfirmed version, Wilson conceived the future hit when he first tried “acid” and was “high”. It is difficult to say how reliable this story is, but it is known for sure that first a melody was born, which was composed by Brian Wilson, and then Mile Love wrote the lyrics to it.

Here are some excerpts from interviews with Wilson, where he talked about the inspirations and the process of creating the California Girls:

Her story goes back to 1965, when I was sitting in my apartment, thinking about how to write a song about girls, because I love girls. Indeed, everyone loves girls.

Synopsis for Today/Summer Days, 1986

I was thinking about music from cowboy movies. I sat down and started playing it: bam-boo-dee-da, bam-boo-dee-da. This went on for about an hour. I have these chords. Then there was a melody, it came shortly after that.

Los Angeles Times, 2007

First, I came up with an intro. I’m still proud of that entry. It has something classic. I wrote the California Girls song in the same vein as the intro. It took some time. I wanted to write a song with a piano left-hand melody in the traditional style of country music, like an old country song from the early fifties. I wanted to achieve something that would evoke an exciting feeling in the verses.

Goldmine, 2011

The Califonia Girls have a rhythm that they call a shuffle rhythm, and I definitely got it from Bach.

The Denver Post, 2015

California Girls recording and release

The track was produced by Wilson. He was extremely demanding, and on April 6, 1965, the band had to record forty-four takes of the instrumental. At that time, the composition did not yet have either the final version of the text or the title.

The Beach Boys recorded vocals on June 4th. The main part was performed by Mike Love, but the voices of other members of the group are also heard on the recording. In July, California Girls was released as a single from Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) and peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.

The composition was included in the famous list of the five hundred greatest tracks of all time according to Rolling Stone, and its original entered the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Interesting Facts

  • California Girls was the first The Beach Boys to feature vocals from Bruce Johnston (he enters at the end of the song).
  • It is known that the song became one of the sources of inspiration for Paul McCartney while working on Back in the USSR
  • Love has been officially listed as a co-author of the composition only since 1994, after a sensational trial.

California Girls Lyrics by The Beach Boys

well east coast girls are hip
I really dig those styles they wear
And the Southern girls with the way they talk
They knock me out when I’m down there
The Mid-West farmer’s daughters really make you feel alright
And the Northern girls with the way they kiss
They keep their boyfriends warm at night

I wish they could be California
I wish they could be California
I wish they could all be California girls

The West coast has the sunshine
And the girls all get so tanned
I dig a french bikini on Hawaii island
Dolls by a palm tree in the sand
I’ve been all around this great big world
And I saw all kinds of girls
Yeah, but I couldn’t wait to get back in the states
Back to the cutest girls in the world

I wish they could be California
I wish they could be California
I wish they could all be California girls

Lyrics of California Girls by The Beach Boys Alternate

Yeah, east coast girls are cool
It’s true, I’m obsessed with their style of dress.
And southern women with their dialect
They just kill me when I’m there
Midwestern farmer’s daughters are fine too
And the northerners are great kissers,
Their boys don’t get cold at night

Too bad they’re not from California
Too bad they’re not from California
Too bad all these girls aren’t from California

The west coast is full of sunshine
And all the girls are so tanned
I can’t take my eyes off the Hawaiian bikini dolls
Who sit on the sand under a palm tree
I’ve been to every corner of this vast world
And saw different girls
Yes, but I can’t wait to get back to the States
To the best girls in the world

Too bad they’re not from California
Too bad they’re not from California
Too bad all these girls aren’t from California

Song quote

I sit down at the piano and try, but all I want to do is rewrite California Girls. How can I do something better than this?

Brian Wilson, Rolling Stone, 2015

Add a comment