Chart Rewind: On July 4, 1964, The Beach Boys Got Around to Their First Hot 100 No. 1


The group led on Independence Day, fittingly, given the chart’s British Invasion that year.

Dennis Wilson, Al Jardine, Carl Wilson, Brian Wilson and Mike Love of the Beach Boys perform onstage in circa 1964 in California.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“On the Fourth of July, 1964, the Beach Boys topped the Billboard Hot 100 with ‘I Get Around,’ the first No. 1 single by an American male singing group in eight months,” Fred Bronson wrote in The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. “The timing was appropriate, for the Beach Boys were … promoting little deuce coupes, surfin’ U.S.A. and California girls.” Plus, “the Beach Boys often performed concerts on the Fourth of July.”

“I Get Around” – which followed four leaders by The Beatles since February 1964, among chart-toppers by British acts – became the Beach Boys’ first Hot 100 No. 1, with their 12th entry on the survey. They’d previously hit the top 10 with “Surfin’ U.S.A.” (No. 3, May 1963), “Surfer Girl” (No. 7, September 1963), “Be True to Your School” (No. 6, December 1963) and “Fun, Fun, Fun” (No. 5, March 1964). Notably, Beach Boy Brian Wilson, who wrote “I Get Around” with bandmate Mike Love, hit No. 1 as a writer in that span, via Jan & Dean’s “Surf City,” which reigned for two weeks in July 1963.

Upon the Hot 100 reign of “I Get Around,” the Beach Boys comprised Wilson and Love (who shared lead vocals in the group), Wilson’s younger brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson, and Al Jardine.

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The Beach Boys have since upped their career count to four Hot 100 No. 1s, among 15 top 10s. Following a two-week command for “I Get Around,” they ruled again with “Help Me Rhonda” (for two weeks in 1965), “Good Vibrations” (two weeks, 1966) and “Kokomo” (one week, 1988). When “Kokomo” sailed to No. 1, the act ended the longest break between leaders to that point. (Paul Grein headlined the magazine’s Chart Beat column that week: Resurgent Beach Boys Still Get Around.)

This past holiday season, the Beach Boys’ classic “Little Saint Nick” jingled to a new No. 25 Hot 100 high, their highest rank since the run of “Kokomo.”

The Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. In 2001, they were honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy, while five of the group’s recordings have been voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, including “I Get Around” in 2017.

On April 2, the Beach Boys released a self-titled autobiography, and a Disney+ documentary premiered May 24.

Wrote Wilson (who in May was judged to be in need of conservatorship due to his health) in the official Amazon description of the 408-page book, “There’s love in the music and people can relate to the love, regardless of whether you’re two years old or 92 years old. For me, music is about love. Love is the message I want to share. That makes the hard work worth it.”

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