Brian Wilson Revealed His Favorite Beach Boys Songs

A legendary musician on some beloved songs

Brian Wilson, 1966
Singer and mastermind Brian Wilson of the rock and roll band "The Beach Boys" directs from the control room while recording the album "Pet Sounds" in 1966 in Los Angeles, California.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

As both a songwriter and a producer, Brian Wilson has had an impact on music that few others of his generation could claim. The influence of his work as a member of the Beach Boys has been massive, influencing artists working both in a similar vein and those who might not come to mind initially.

Over the decades, Wilson has inspired his own mythology — and it’s continued, even as he revisited legendary projects or reimagined his older work. But that, in turn, brings another question to mind — what, exactly, does Wilson think of his own discography? Are there any clear favorites of his that have emerged from it?

A new article at Far Out explores Wilson’s comments over the years to find an answer to that very question. As writer Jack Whatley notes in the article, Wilson “has claimed a whole heap of Beach Boys songs to be his favourite.” Ultimately, Whatley turned to comments that Wilson made upon the release of the 2002 compilation Classics Selected By Brian Wilson — which seems like a fine place to look.

“Well, my personal two favourite Beach Boys songs are ‘California Girls’ and ‘Surfer Girl,’” Wilson said at the time. “‘Surfer Girl’ was our best ballad achievement and ‘California Girl’ was like the most shuffle between the record, that was our highest achievement in shuffle rhythm, and then the opening was symphonic and Bach and whatever else you want to call it.”

As the article points out, Wilson also stated that his favorite songs often shifted from day to day. Still, those two seem especially iconic, and especially representative of the best parts of the Beach Boys’ sound.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.