The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961. The group's original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Initially managed by the Wilsons' father Murry, the Beach Boys signed to Capitol Records in 1962. The band's early music gained popularity across the United States for its close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting aSouthern California youth culture of surfing, cars, and romance. During the early to mid-1960s, Brian Wilson's growing creative ambition and songwriting ability would dominate the group's musical direction. The primarily Wilson-composed Pet Sounds album and "Good Vibrations" single (both released in 1966) featured a complex, intricate and multi-layered sound that represented a departure from the simple surf rock of the Beach Boys' early years.
Starting in 1967, Wilson gradually ceded control to the rest of the band, assuming a reduced level of input due to mental health and substance abuse issues. Though the more democratic incarnation of the Beach Boys recorded a string of albums in various musical styles that garnered international critical success, the group struggled to reclaim their commercial momentum in America despite once being seen as the primary competitors to the Beatles. Since the 1980s, there has been much publicized legal-wrangling over royalties, songwriting credits, and use of the band's name. Dennis Wilson drowned in 1983, and Carl died of lung cancer in 1998. After Carl's death, a number of versions of the band, each fronted by surviving members from the original quintet, continued to tour into the 2000s. For the band's 50th anniversary, they briefly reunited as the Beach Boys for a new studio album, world tour, and career-spanning retrospective box set.
The Beach Boys have often been called "America's Band", and Allmusic has stated that their "unerring ability…made them America's first, best rock band." The group have had over eighty songs chart worldwide, thirty-six of them United States Top 40 hits (the most by an American rock band), four of those reaching number-one on theBillboard Hot 100 chart. The Beach Boys have sold in excess of 100 million records worldwide and are listed at number 12 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2004 list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". The core quintet of the three Wilsons, Love and Jardine were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.