1 I'M SO YOUNG from 'The Beach Boys Today'
A classic Fifties song that Brian made into an excellent Beach Boys number. The whole vocal arrangement and the lead vocal in particular are amazing. The song is about being in love, too young to marry and very sad about it, which might not make sense to everybody now, but it sounds really convincing here.
2 WONDERFUL from 'Smiley Smile'
One of the songs that would have ended up on Smile but instead you can find it on Smiley Smile, where it is one of the strongest tracks. Like many of the other contenders for the "lost" album, it is wonderful.
3 GOD ONLY KNOWS from 'Pet Sounds'
Nothing needs to be said about this song really. We all know how great it is. On the Pet Sounds box set you can find a version with an alternative a cappella ending, which I strongly recommend.
4 I CAN HEAR MUSIC from '20/20'
This song was recorded in late 1968, without Brian. Carl took charge and arranged, produced and sang a wonderful lead vocal. Possibly one of the finest and most beautiful Beach Boys vocal performances ever, though nothing can defend the band's visual appearance at the time.
5 SURFER GIRL from 'Surfer Girl'
In the documentary Endless Harmony you can hear Carl sing this, and it's interesting to hear his harmony on its own. It sounds great and gives you a good idea of how The Beach Boys' harmonies are structured. It may be the first truly great Beach Boys song.
6 FARMER'S DAUGHTER from 'Surfin' USA'
A lovely little song that's quite stripped down, with Brian's lead falsetto carrying it with the help of some great harmonies.
7 CALIFORNIA GIRLS from 'Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)'
One of the best-known Beach Boys classics, and the first seconds of the intro spell magic, but I mainly included this one because of the completely wonderful backing harmonies in the second verse.
8 SPIRIT OF AMERICA from 'Little Deuce Coupe'
All the songs on this album seem to be about cars, and "Spirit of America" is no exception. It's the name of the car that broke the land-speed record in the early 1960s. What's important here, though, is Brian's lead vocal. He does the transition from high notes to falsetto to perfection. The song itself sounds quite a bit like a Fifties prom ballad, but that only adds to the charm.
9 LITTLE HONDA from 'All Summer Long'
After all these sweet songs, I need to include a few rock'n'roll songs. "Little Honda" is almost the ultimate Beach Boys rocker. I love the little drum rolls when it fades out in the end.
10 DON'T BACK DOWN from 'All Summer Long'
From the same album, this one is a bit weirder than "Little Honda" but nevertheless a great song. I'm a sucker for Brian Wilson falsettos, and in the pre-chorus and chorus you get more than enough of that. Great backing harmonies as well. Over in less than two minutes.
Razorlight's single 'Vice' is out now on Vertigo. The band tour from Tuesday to 14 OctoberReuse content