After two decades, pop icons The Beach Boys have released a new song entitled “That’s Why God Made The Radio,” to mark their 50th anniversary. This marks the first time the band has entered the studio since 1996.
The California natives are most famous for their pop-rock hits such as “Surfin’ Safari,” “California Girls,” and “409” but forever earned their place in music history after they steered away from the “surfs-up!” stereotype, and released the iconic “Pet Sounds” in May of 1966. Rolling Stone magazine later named the album the second greatest record of the top 500 albums of all time, next to The Beatles Sargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album experimented with new instruments and sounds to produce songs such as “Good Vibrations” and the lyrically vulnerable “Caroline, No.”
The surviving members, lead singer Mike Love, back up vocalist Al Jardine, and the band’s musical genius Brian Wilson will tour with David Marks, who was a neighbor and friend of the Wilson family and first played with the Beach Boys in 1962, and Bruce Johnston, who has been with the band since 1965. Brothers Dennis Wilson, original drummer for the band, died in 1983, and vocalist Carl Wilson, in 1998.
“It was not even my greatest fantasy that this would happen because I thought it would redefine the word ‘impossible,’ Johnston told Billboard in an article.
Which, with all things considering, is a fair statement. Most Beach Boy’s enthusiasts thought Hell would freeze over before Wilson and Love would acknowledge one another let alone work in a studio together again. But, to the fan’s surprise, the group announced the reunion tour in February after their Grammy tribute performance including Foster the People and Maroon 5.
With NPR stating its “the best Beach Boys song in 40 years,” and the Onion saying, well, not so positive things, the single certainly has had mixed reviews. But one thing the song does offer is elements of each era of the Beach Boys.
“That’s Why God Made The Radio” opens with a fifties intro to recognize the Boys early hero’s (you could stroll to it at the sock hop), the infamous 5-part harmonies in the middle of the song to focus on their greatest strength, a guitar power cord break to emphasize “ a whole new generation” and a God Only Knows “wall of voices” ending.
A new element to the upcoming record is producer Joe Thomas, who also co-wrote and produced Brian Wilson’s “Imagination” album. Within the first minute of the song, one can notice the Thomas’ influence on the track.
The 11 song-set album is, appropriately, set to release on June 5, from Captiol Records, the same record company that released the Beach Boys’ debut album “Surfin’ Safari” 50 years ago.
Sure to ensue nostalgia, for the generation that lived through the Beach Boy’s era, and for the one that has forever been influenced by it’s legacy and music, this pop tune is a sweet ode to 1965.
Now, if only I could find my surf board…