To celebrate the 50th anniversary of America’s Band, I thought it would be fun to start a feature that looks back at some of The Beach Boys’ official music videos. Most of them come from the MTV era in the ’80s and ’90s, but there are also promo videos for their earlier songs. Not all of their videos are that good, but I thought it would provide an interesting perspective on their music.
Also, I’m gonna try not to feature too many videos of live performances, but I’ll throw one in occasionally.
Sloop John B (1966)
This is the original promo video for the song “Sloop John B,” based on the folk song “The John B. Sails” previously made famous by the Kingston Trio. Al Jardine was a folk music fan, and he was the one who suggested that the group record it. The song ended up being a big hit, and was subsequently added to the Pet Sounds album, despite not being originally intended for it.
The video features all of the original members of the group goofing off around a swimming pool. Clips from this video would go on to be used in other Beach Boys promos and videos.
California Dreamin’ (1986)
In this video, the ‘Boys cover the classic song “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & the Papas. The song achieved minor success for The Beach Boys, and the video features the former group’s John and Michelle Phillips, as well as Roger McGuinn, who provides the 12-string guitar for the song.
The video, itself, is a bit heavy-handed, with a very literal interpretation of the song’s lyrics. Being black and white was also an interesting choice, as it perhaps makes the video feel more serious than it needed to be.