Surfer Girl is the third studio album by American rock band The Beach Boys and their second longplayer in 1963. Surfer Girl reached number 7 in the US during a chart stay of 56 weeks. In the UK, the album was released in spring 1967 and reached number 13. This was the first album by the Beach Boys for which Brian Wilson was given full production credit, a position Wilson would maintain for the next few years.
For the first time producing an album himself, Brian Wilson co-wrote with Mike Love, Gary Usher and Roger Christian some of his most cherished songs. The title track, a number 7 US hit, was the first song Brian had ever composed, written at the age of 19 using "When You Wish Upon a Star" as his inspiration. As a ballad, it was a risky move for a single, but its obvious quality overcame any potential commercial risks. Its flip-side, "Little Deuce Coupe", proved to be The Beach Boys' most successful B-side, reaching US number 15 and becoming a hot rod staple. It also continued the band's current trend of putting a surf-related song on the A-side of singles, and car songs on the B-side. "Catch a Wave" featured Mike Love's sister, Maureen, on harp, while "The Surfer Moon" was the first Beach Boys song to have a string arrangement. "In My Room" was perhaps Brian Wilson's first personal song, a reflection on having a place to go to feel a sense of security and safety from the stress of one's life. Despite some slight material ("South Bay Surfer", "Boogie Woodie"), it was clear that Surfer Girl was a significant step forward for The Beach Boys - and the first of many.
"South Bay Surfer" is co-credited to Al Jardine, who had rejoined The Beach Boys in the summer of 1963 in a limited capacity and does not appear on the album cover.
The instrumental track for "The Surfer Moon" (Brian's first known use of strings) was recorded (as "The Summer Moon") in early May for an extra-BB act he was recording, Bob & Vikki; this version was never released, although an acetate exists. Bob was Bob Norberg, Brian's room mate in 1962.
The recording date, July 16, given on the sleeve for album tracks not previously released as a single, is not so much questionable as almost certainly impossible. Although there is documentary proof (a tape box label) that "Surfers Rule", "South Bay Surfer" and "Boogie Woodie" were indeed recorded on that date at Western Sound Studios, it is noticeable that whilst Mike Love's lead vocals for "Hawaii" and "Catch a Wave" are hampered by a heavy cold, his other leads on album cuts are fine. Therefore, it is certain other dates/sessions were also used. Further, Alan Jardine is known to have played or sung on four tracks - bass on "Boogie Woodie", "Surfer's Rule" & "Catch a Wave" and vocals on "In My Room" - but not the others, while Hal Blaine contributed to "Our Car Club" (originally recorded for The Honeys as "Rabbit's Foot") and "Hawaii". Thus, it is likely there were at least four sessions for the album tracks, but as the AFM (musicians union) documentation is missing, confirmation cannot be supplied.
The front cover of Surfer Girl features (from left to right) Dennis Wilson, David Marks, Carl Wilson, Mike Love and Brian Wilson holding a surfboard from the same 1962 photo shoot that produced the cover of their album debut Surfin' Safari. The picture was taken by Capitol photographer Kenneth Veeder at Paradise Cove, north of Malibu. Beach Boys sport matching blue plaid Pendleton Woolen Mills shirts on the cover of their "Surfer Girl" album. Now called the "board shirt," the style is still a bestseller.