Beach Boys: 20 Good Vibrations, The Greatest Hits, Volume 1

Music review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Beach Boys: 20 Good Vibrations, The Greatest Hits, Volume 1 Music Poster Image
Surfer boys at their best in sunny, bouncy hits collection.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

There's plenty of fun, fun, fun in this album, and it's mostly pretty innocent. True bad behavior, from the hard-drinking crew of the "Sloop John B" to the teen who lies to her daddy and loses the keys to the T-Bird in "Fun, Fun Fun," doesn't turn out well. On the romantic front, lovers are yearning, steadfast, and honorable; "Be True to Your School" is an energetic ode to school spirit.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The surviving members of the Beach Boys are still touring the world and bringing to life an innocent era of beach life and good times. There are no real superheroes in these songs, but most of the characters are happy, upbeat, and positive in their values.


The singer of "Be True to Your School" is planning to smash his opponents in the upcoming football game.


Mildly risque lyrics, admiring California beach girls in bikinis and those from other regions who "make you feel all right" and "keep their boyfriends warm at night"; reference to "afternoon delight." "Wouldn't It Be Nice" has frustrated young lovers longing for the day when they can "say goodnight and stay together."


A number of songs praise particular makes and models of cars, from the Thunderbird in "Fun Fun Fun" to the title racers in "Little Deuce Coupe" and "409."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking does not turn out well for anyone in "Sloop John B," "the worst trip I've ever been on."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 20 Good Vibrations, The Greatest Hits, Volume 1 hits most of the sweet spots of the Beach Boys' career. The collection captures the Southern California surf, sand, hot cars, and pretty girls fantasy lifestyle in sunny, bouncy harmonies. Some sexual innuendo, from girls who "keep their boyfriends warm at night" to "afternoon delight."  A jock's plan to "smash" his football opponents is the most violent statement.

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Teen, 17 years old Written bymoviewannabe May 15, 2013

A few interesting songs

My favorite Beach Boys songs are "California Girls" and "Good Vibrations". I used "Good Vibrations" in one of my YouTube videos. I... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old December 14, 2012


I enjoy listening The Beach Boys.

What's the story?

The Beach Boys may not have invented the Southern California culture of sun, surf, hot rods and babes, but to this day they enjoy a highly symbiotic relationship, and it's shiningly reflected in 20 GOOD VIBRATIONS, THE GREATEST HITS, VOLUME 1. The collection gathers the Beach Boys' top singles of the '60s and shows the band at their best.

Is it any good?

As an introduction to the Beach Boys, or a collection for the casual fan who just wants the familiar hits, 20 Good Vibrations is hard to beat. Most of the songs are cheerful, upbeat two-minute singles about surfing ("Surfin' Safari," "Catch a Wave"), cars ("409," "Little Deuce Coupe"), and babes ("California Girls"), sometimes misbehaving a bit ("Fun, Fun, Fun"). The CD also showcases some of Brian Wilson's soulful love songs, including "Surfer Girl" and "God Only Knows."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why surf music in general, and the Beach Boys in particular, are so popular around the world, including in places thousands of miles from the nearest beach. What's the universal appeal?

  • When they recorded some of these songs, some of the Beach Boys were still teens themselves. Does their music have anything to say to teens today, or is it too old-school?

  • Do you like the beach and surfing, or do these songs make you think you might?

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