Their sound is more recognizable, and more evocative of an American Summer - California sun and surf, cars and girls - than any other band's. The Beach Boys - three brothers, Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson; their cousin, Mike Love; and a friend, Al Jardine - began performing as The Pendletones in high school, before making their first demo recordings in 1961.
Click though to listen to landmarks from the California pop group's legendary recordings.
And don't miss Anthony Mason's interview with Brian Wilson on CBS' "Sunday Morning" July 19.
Their first single
As a result of the group's demo sessions, Candix Records released "Surfin'" (by the newly-renamed Beach Boys) in Fall 1961. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, it was a regional hit in California, and it would become the template of sorts for the group's surfing songs.
Their first film appearance
Dale Mallin's half-hour documentary "One Man's Challenge" (1962), about efforts to open up a teen dance club, featured a live performance of "Surfin'Safari" by The Beach Boys, shortly after they'd recorded their demo for Capitol. And they're wearing their Pendleton surf shirts! (Smallin also produced recordings for another Californa group, The Safaris.)
Two years later, The Beach Boys were among the stellar lineup of artists in "The T.A.M.I. Show" (1964), performing "Surfin' U.S.A.," "I Get Around," "Surfer Girl" and "Dance, Dance, Dance."
Their first Top 10 hit
The title track of the group's first album, "Surfin U.S.A.," was ultimately credited to Brian Wilson and Chuck Berry, after Wilson decided to write surfing lyrics to the melody of Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen."
It was the Beach Boys' first gold record. It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Their first No. 1 single
Released in May 1964, "I Get Around" was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. It was the first of only four No. 1 singles that the group would have, the others being "Help Me Rhonda" (1965), "Good Vibrations" (1966), and "Kokomo" (1988).
First "Ed Sullivan Show" appearance
The Beach Boys' album, "All Summer Long" (their sixth), had reached No. 4 on the Billboard chart in Summer 1964. In September they made their first appearance on CBS' "The Ed Sullivan Show," performing two songs from the album: "I Get Around" and "Wendy" (both written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love).
The Beach Boys returned to "The Ed Sullivan Show" on October 13, 1968, when they performed "Do It Again" and "Good Vibrations." Brian Wilson was absent for health reasons.
Their first No. 1 album
Recorded live at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, Calif., "Beach Boys Concert" (1964) was the band's first album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart.
In addition to their songs "Little Deuce Coupe," "Hawaii," "I Get Around" and "Fun, Fun, Fun" (which opens with a suspiciously Chuck Berry-sounding guitar lick), The Beach Boys also performed several covers, including "The Wanderer," "Monster Mash," "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena," and Berry's "Johnny B. Goode."
First psychedelic experience
Featured on the album, "Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) (1965), the harmonies of "California Girls" made the song a timeless Beach Boys classic, which Brian Wilson has said in interviews came to him after he'd taken LSD for the first time.
"I was thinking about the music from cowboy movies," he told the Los Angeles Times in 2007. "And I sat down and started playing it, bum-buhdeeda, bum-buhdeeda. I did that for about an hour. I got these chords going. Then I got this melody, it came pretty fast after that. And the rest was history, right?"
First pop single with "God" in the title
With the exception of Kate Smith's "God Bless America," songwriters (or maybe their publishers) were wary of invoking the name of God in a non-gospel song title.
According to David N. Howard's 2004 "Sonic Alchemy: Visionary Music Producers and Their Maverick Recordings" (Hal Leonard), Brian Wilson and Tony Asher's love song, "God Only Knows" (which he describes as "impossibly beautiful"), was the first pop single to contain the word "God" in its title.
The song was ranked 25 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.
First Grammy nominations
The Beach Boys earned four Grammy Award nominations for their recording of the Brian Wilson-Mike Love song, "Good Vibrations," in the categories of Vocal Group Performance, Rock & Roll Recording, Rock & Roll Group Performance, and Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist or Instrumentalist.
It actually would not be until 2001 that The Beach Boys would receive a Grammy trophy - a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, that is.
Last time all original Beach Boys performed together
This video features the 1965 Brian Wilson-Mike Love song, "Help Me Rhonda," performed by the Beach Boys at their historic concert at Knebworth House near Knebworth, England, on June 21, 1980, part of the group's European tour.
The tour proved to be the last time that the original Beach Boys - Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Alan Jardine, joined by Bruce Johnston - would sing together on stage.
Dennis Wilson died in 1983. Carl Wilson died in 1998.
First No. 1 hit without Brian Wilson
Released in conjunction with the Tom Cruise film, "Cocktail," "Kokomo" (1988) was written by Mike Love, Scott McKenzie, Terry Melcher (a producer for The Byrds), and John Phillips (formerly of The Mamas & The Papas).
It was The Beach Boys' only No. 1 hit not written or produced by Brian Wilson.