Surfer Girl (song)

"Surfer Girl" is a song by American rock band the Beach Boys from their 1963 album Surfer Girl. Written and sung by Brian Wilson, it was released as a single, backed with "Little Deuce Coupe", on July 22, 1963. The single was the first Beach Boys record to have Wilson officially credited as the producer.

"Surfer Girl"
Surfer Girl cover.jpg
Single by the Beach Boys
from the album Surfer Girl
B-side"Little Deuce Coupe"
ReleasedJuly 22, 1963[1]
RecordedJune 12, 1963[2]
StudioWestern, Hollywood[2]
Songwriter(s)Brian Wilson
Producer(s)Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"Surfin' U.S.A"
"Surfer Girl"
"Be True to Your School"
Endless Summer track listing
Audio sample


Wilson frequently referred to "Surfer Girl" as his first original composition. However, his closest high school friends disputed this, recalling that Wilson had written numerous songs prior to "Surfer Girl".[3] The lyrics were inspired by Judy Bowles, Wilson's first serious girlfriend, whom he had dated for three and a half years.[4] He explained the genesis of the song:

Back in 1961, I'd never written a song in my life. I was 19 years old. And I put myself to the test in my car one day. I was actually driving to a hot dog stand, and I actually created a melody in my head without being able to hear it on a piano. I sang it to myself; I didn't even sing it out loud in the car. When I got home that day, I finished the song, wrote the bridge, put the harmonies together and called it 'Surfer Girl'."[citation needed]

The song was based on a Dion and the Belmonts version of "When You Wish Upon a Star",[4] which has the same AABA form.[5][6] As a solo artist, Wilson later covered it for the tribute album In the Key of Disney (2011), saying, "We're doin' "When You Wish Upon a Star" for the new album. It kinda inspired "Surfer Girl.".[7]


The band first recorded the song at World Pacific Studios on February 8, 1962,[8] at an early recording session. However, the recordings from that session, engineered by Hite Morgan, would not be released until 1969.

The song is written in the key of D major, with a key change to E-flat major after the B section.

Single releaseEdit

The "Surfer Girl" single backed with "Little Deuce Coupe" was released on Capitol Records in the United States on July 22, 1963.[2]


Chart (1963) Peak
New Zealand (Lever Hit Parade)[9] 5
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[citation needed] 7
U.S. Billboard R&B Best Sellers[citation needed] 18


  1. ^ Badman 2004, p. 39.
  2. ^ a b c "Shows and Sessions 1963". Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  3. ^ Murphy 2015, p. 135.
  4. ^ a b Murphy 2015, pp. 135–136.
  5. ^ Lambert 2007, p. 28.
  6. ^ Covach, John (2005), "Form in Rock Music: A Primer", in Stein, Deborah, Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis, New York: Oxford University Press, p.70, ISBN 0-19-517010-5 .
  7. ^ Brian Wilson, in @BrianWilsonLive, February 16, 2011: "We're doin' "When You Wish Upon a Star" for the new album. It kinda inspired "Surfer Girl." - Brian".
  8. ^ "Sessions 1961-62". Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  9. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 17 October 1963


External linksEdit