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What Genre Did The Beach Boys Play?

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Robin Burden answered
The Beach Boys are probably best described as a 'rock' band - although the following sub-genres have all been attributed to their style of music:

  • surf rock
  • rock'n'roll
  • alternative rock
  • pop
  • pop rock
  • psychedelic rock
What kind of music did the Beach Boys play?
The difficulty with categorizing the Beach Boys comes from the fact that their music crosses over into several different genres.

The fact that the band used amplified guitars, a drummer, and a high-tempo sound means that they fit nicely into the definition of a 'rock band'.

Their melodic sensibilities and chart-friendly releases also make them popular music icons.

The Californian 'surf image' that the Beach Boys employed also means that their music is often described as 'Surf Rock'. This style of music first originated in Orange County, California - somewhere that the Beach Boys would have visited frequently.

Many of the band's songs also center around a surf theme, such as:

  • Surfin' USA
  • Surfin' Safari
  • Surfer Girl
The time-period during which the Beach Boys became popular was also known for hippie culture and recreational drug use. Music of this era was often influenced by this sub-culture, and was labelled 'psychedelic rock'as a result.

Whilst the Beach Boys might not have openly branded themselves as 'psychedelic' (which would have contravened the image their record label had developed for them), they certainly went through a period of writing music that sounded surreal and drug-fueled.

In fact, members of the band were renowned for their use of mind-altering substances like LSD during the creative process.

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