The Beach Boys’ unique blend of surf fuelled rock is one that made everybody go wild when they first took the world by storm in the early sixties. As you might expect, the first time that they appeared on British television in 1964 was a glimpse of the golden coasts of California. Amid all the fanfare and screams from the audience who couldn’t quite believe what they were witnessing, The Beach Boys served up a delightful rendition of ‘I Get Around’ whilst on Ready, Steady Go.
‘I Get Around’ is the track which handed The Beach Boys their big break in the UK. In 1964, the British chart was dominated by domestic artists and there was very little appetite to look further afield for music. ‘Surfin’ USA’ had managed to break the top 40 in 1963 but the next four singles from the Californian rockers failed to get any airplay across the Atlantic. Thanks to one man, however, their luck in Britain was about to change and that man was Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones frontman took it upon himself to spread the word of ‘I Get Around’ and personally handed it out to the independent pirate radio stations.
After Jagger’s intervention, Britain soon fell in love with The Beach Boys and ‘I Get Around’ became a huge hit which led to this iconic appearance on Ready, Steady Go, The B-Side for the single was the gorgeous ‘Don’t Worry Baby’, an all-round classic record and that is one of the finest singles ever released. It captured The Beach Boys as doe-eyed heartthrobs who had the entire world at their feet.
The moments around the release of ‘I Get Around’ was a peculiar time for the group. While they were in the studio working on the track, the decision was made to fire their manager over a disagreement about the song. Biographer Steven Gaines would later say that then-manager Murray Wilson was in the control room “criticising the song and Brian’s production techniques, rambling on about what a loser Brian was, how poor the music was, and how only Murry had the real talent in the family. At one point he insisted that Brian end the [recording] session because something was wrong with the bassline.”
Enough was enough for Wilson, he knew the song was gold and was prepared to stand up to his elder who he then relieved of his managerial duties following the argument. This was a coming of age moment for Wilson who was not going to be told what to do any longer, the singer would later say, “We love the family thing – y’know: three brothers, a cousin and a friend is a really beautiful way to have a [rock] group – but the extra generation can become a hang-up.”
The performance on Ready, Steady Go is utterly magical and the tangible feeling of excitement that you get from just watching the video would give Beatlemania a run for its money. In truth, The Beach Boys appear to be rather over-awed at the wild reaction that their performance elicited from the crowd, a glimpse into the sort of mania that would lay in front of them in the not so distant future.