13 Incredible Bands Similar To The Beach Boys

Written by Dan Farrant

You are not alone if you love The Beach Boys’ sunny and harmonious sound. This band from California started their musical journey in 1961. Soon, they became famous for their timeless classics like “Surfin’ USA,” “California Girls,” and “God Only Knows.”

But The Beach Boys are not the only band that can make you feel good with their catchy songs. There are many other bands with similar musical influences and genres that can offer you a similar listening experience.

Without further ado, here are 13 amazing bands like The Beach Boys to add to your next playlist. Let’s get started!

1. The Beatles

The most iconic and influential band in music history graces the top of our list. The Beatles have a lot in common with The Beach Boys. Both bands started in the early 1960s and drew inspiration from genres like rock, pop, and psychedelia.

The Beatles also admired The Beach Boys’ musical innovations and experiments. In particular, the latter’s use of complex harmonies and studio techniques. In fact, The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was partly inspired by The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, which they considered to be a masterpiece.

Both bands also showed growth when it comes to songwriting. As we all know, members of The Beatles contributed to songwriting. The Beach Boys, especially Brian Wilson, also explored this area. They wrote pop tunes and experimented with compositions.

Lastly, both bands contributed to the “British Invasion” in the US. The Beatles became popular with their young audiences. The Beach Boys, meanwhile, became known for the California lifestyle and surf culture. Nevertheless, both bands influenced many musicians and bands and shaped popular music.

2. The Hollies

Like The Beach Boys, the British band The Hollies emerged in the 1960s as part of the vibrant music scene. The Hollies are known for their superb vocal harmonies, catchy melodies, and professional musicianship.

The Hollies’ music is influenced by both American pop music and British rock music styles. The combination created a unique and appealing sound. Like The Beach Boys, The Hollies could carry out a three-part vocal harmony. Harmonizing was essential in creating both bands’ sounds.

Songwriting is another area of comparison between The Beach Boys and The Hollies. The latter’s Graham Nash contributed to the band’s success by creating songs on themes of love and relationships.

They also have a strong connection with The Beach Boys, as they performed together in the 1960s. In fact, Nash remembered how he and his bandmates were blown away by The Beach Boys’ harmonic structure. He also liked The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” praising it for its arrangement and the band’s harmony.

3. The Byrds

The pioneering rock band The Byrds was formed in Los Angeles in 1964. They experimented with different instruments and sounds, such as the 12-string guitar and the sitar.

Many musical sources influenced The Byrds, and one of them was The Beach Boys. Both bands shared a love for surf music and vocal harmonies. And they were part of the Los Angeles music scene in the 1960s.

Another similarity between the bands is their experimentation with blending musical genres. The Byrds’ music is characterized by the fusion of folk, country, and psychedelic music, creating a new genre called folk-rock. The Beach Boys, meanwhile, incorporated elements of rock and roll and surf rock.

If you’re looking into The Byrds, then start by checking out some of their popular songs, such as “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!”

4. The Monkees

The pop rock band The Monkees was created for a television show in 1966. They were composed of four actors who played as musicians. Their music was a mix of pop and rock that appealed to fans who liked upbeat and fun songs.

The Monkees’ sound resembles bands like Paul Revere & the Raiders, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and The Turtles. They also worked with some of the same musicians as The Beach Boys and The Byrds did at times. This led to some accusations that they were not authentic or original artists.

Of course, this was far from the truth. The Monkees were an artist in their own right. Like The Beach Boys, they have a pop music appeal with their radio-friendly pop songs. Their audiences resonated with their music.

In addition, The Monkees proved themselves to be talented singers and songwriters. They produced hit songs like “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Daydream Believer,” and “I’m a Believer.”

5. The Mamas & The Papas

The folk-rock group The Mamas & The Papas emerged in the mid-1960s and helped define the West Coast sound of music. They combined East Coast folk with rich harmonies to create a distinctive and memorable sound.

One interesting fact about them is that they were notorious for their scandals both on and off stage. One notable example was when Cass Elliot didn’t show up for a performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. This was due to her anger over being scheduled last on the lineup.

The Mamas & The Papas can be compared to The Beach Boys in that both used intricate vocal harmonies. The former became known for coming up with beautiful vocal blends. The male-female harmonies added a unique sound to their music.

If The Beach Boys had Brian Wilson as the main songwriter, The Mamas & The Papas had John Phillips. He penned songs that were introspective and emotional and reflected personal experiences.

Like The Beach Boys, The Mamas & The Papas left an impressive legacy on music and American culture.

6. The Turtles

Another band that fans of The Beach Boys might enjoy is The Turtles. This American rock band, formed in Los Angeles in 1965, is known for their hit song “Happy Together.”

What set the Turtles apart from other bands at the time was their ability to create catchy tunes without taking themselves too seriously as rock icons. Their music often had a lighthearted feel, making it perfect for listeners who simply wanted to have fun while enjoying classic oldies tunes.

And that’s exactly what makes them similar to The Beach Boys. Both bands injected lightheartedness and humor into their songs. This is evident in The Turtles’ hit songs “Happy Together” and “Elenore.”

7. Jan & Dean

Also gaining fame in the 1960s was the American rock duo Jan & Dean. They were also pioneers of the California Sound that The Beach Boys made popular.

One of Jan & Dean’s most famous songs is “Surf City,” which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. The song features catchy hooks and intricate vocal harmonies that are reminiscent of The Beach Boys recordings.

The influence between both groups didn’t end there. Jan & Dean recorded a cover version of The Beach Boys’ hit song “Fun Fun Fun” as part of an album tribute to William Dan Berry’s comeback after his near-fatal accident.

Although The Beach Boys had greater success than Jan & Dean, they were friends throughout the ’60s. It is clear that there was mutual admiration and respect between Jan & Dean and The Beach Boys.

8. The Lovin’ Spoonful

The American rock band The Lovin’ Spoonful was formed in New York City in 1965. They were a major force in the music industry during the mid-60s with their blend of jug band, folk, blues, rock & roll, and pop music.

Both The Lovin’ Spoonful and The Beach Boys found fame at around the same time. Their music, characterized by a combination of pop and rock, was a hit among audiences. While The Beach Boys explore themes of surfing, cars, and girls, The Lovin’ Spoonful focuses on love and summertime, among others.

One distinctive feature of The Lovin’ Spoonful is their ability to create infectious songs that appeal to both young adults and older generations.

So if you’re looking for bands that closely resemble The Beach Boys, look no further than The Lovin’ Spoonful.

9. The Association

Both The Beach Boys and the sunshine pop band The Association became popular in the 1960s. The latter was known for their harmonies and instrumental talents, making them one of the most unique bands of that era.

Like The Beach Boys, The Association incorporated harmonies into their music. They also created songs with catchy hooks and melodies. While The Beach Boys became popular with hits like “Good Vibrations” and “Surfin’ USA,” The Association became known for hits like “Windy” and “Never My Love.”

What made The Association stand out was its ability to collaborate with multiple artists. Unlike other bands at the time, they showcased a variety of voices and instruments in their music.

Despite the similarities, The Association and The Beach Boys have distinct musical styles and approaches. These helped them set apart from each other.

10. The Zombies

The British rock band The Zombies was formed in England at the same time The Beach Boys were founded in California. The Zombies were heavily influenced by the works of The Beach Boys throughout their career.

In fact, both bands shared similar music genres and histories that often overlapped. They blended elements of pop and psychedelic rock into their music. What came out was the distinct sound of each band.

Brian Wilson’s influence on The Zombies cannot be overstated either. He had become an icon in the world of music during the same time period, especially with his work as part of The Beach Boys.

This made it easy for musicians like The Zombies to learn from his musical techniques and collaborations with other artists.

11. The Everly Brothers

The legendary rock duo Everly Brothers consist of siblings Don and Phil. Their harmonies and guitar work have influenced generations of rock musicians. Not only that. They were pioneers of country rock.

Their hit song “Bye Bye Love” propelled them to stardom. It marked the beginning of their successful journey, including touring across the country.

Their influence on the development of rock music cannot be overstated, as they inspired musical greats such as Neil Young and Keith Richards.

Although The Beach Boys and Everly Brothers had different career beginnings, there are areas where they are similar. First, both groups are known for their vocal harmonies. And second, they had their roots in rock and roll. The Everly Brothers were significant in the development of this genre between 1950 and 1960.

12. The Four Seasons

Another rock and roll band that can be compared to The Bach Boys is The Four Seasons. This prominent group emerged in the American music scene at the beginning of the 1960s. Their doo-wop style quickly caught on with audiences, earning them numerous hit songs and commercial success.

Unlike some of their peers, their popularity remained unaffected by The Beatles’ invasion of America’s music scene.

Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys was inspired by The Four Seasons’ musical arrangements. He wrote or co-wrote all of his band’s songs based on this inspiration.

Just like most of the bands here, The Four Seasons is a vocal harmony group. They showcased tight harmonies that added a distinct sound to their music.

Some notable hits from The Four Seasons include “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Walk Like A Man.” These songs are proof of why they were so popular during their time.

13. Herman’s Hermits

Finally, we have the English pop-rock band Herman’s Hermits. They were part of the famous British invasion of the 1960s. The band was formed from two different local bands. They quickly gained attention with their catchy tunes and Peter Noone’s engaging stage presence as the frontman.

One similarity between Herman’s Hermits and The Beach Boys is their pop appeal. Both bands were known for their catchy songs. They tackled themes that resonated with a wide audience. Both also showcased a youthful image that targeted a teenage demographic.

Today, Herman’s Hermits may be considered a classic act. But they still have a loyal fan base that remembers them fondly from their heyday in the sixties.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like The Beach Boys

That’s it for our list of bands similar to The Beach Boys. With their unique sound and catchy songs, we can tell you’re going to find new favorites.

Whether you find The Zombies almost the same as The Beach Boys or Jan & Dean influenced by the same surf music genre, the list above has what you want and more.

Do you think we missed a band that should be on this list? Let us know so we can add it!

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.