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The Teenagers From Hawthorne
Surfin USA, The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys perform "Surfin' USA," released as a single on March 4, 1963. The song lasted 78 weeks on the Billboard Album Chart and reached number two in 1963. The song is listed among the "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll." The song was representative of the so-called "California Sound," a sunny (although somewhat narrow and mythological) portrayal of Southern California teenage life.

In 1961, The Beach Boys began as teenage brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, cousin Mike Love, neighbor Al David Marks, and classmate Al Jardin. The father of the Wilson boys, Murry Wilson, was himself a song writer. The boys grew up in Hawthorne, a middle class suburban city that was not far from Los Angeles County’s beaches, but itself not actually a beach city. The boys attended Hawthorne High School.

As for the boys and their relationship to surfing, only Dennis Wilson was said to actually be a surfer. In his autobiography “I Am Brian Wilson,” brother Brian related that "I tried [surfing] once and got conked on the head with the board."

The group’s first hit song “Surfin” (“Surfin’ USA” was written later) was written by Brian Wilson, as were more than half of the group’s songs. Originally, when Wilson was a senior in high school, he submitted the song as a school project to music teacher, Fred Morgan. Morgan gave the song an F. In 2018, almost six decades later, the principal of Hawthorne High School had the grade changed from F to A.

High school classmate "Zeke" Monteñez occasionally jammed with the Wilson brothers in their Hawthorne home. Unlike almost all of the future Beach Boys, he was actually a genuine surfer. Under the performance name Chris Montez, Monteñez himself also went into a sucessful music career.