‘California Gurls’ versus ‘California Girls’: Brian Wilson, Mike Love chime in on Katy Perry’s hit single*


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The runaway hit single of the still-young summer of 2010 is Katy Perry’s bubbly ‘California Gurls.’ More than just a bouncy ode to sun and fun in the Southland, it’s something of a long-delayed female take on the same theme famously celebrated 45 years ago in the Beach Boys’ ‘California Girls.’

Perry bypasses the region-hopping comparisons that the Beach Boys founders Brian Wilson and Mike Love engaged in for their song, but both salute the ongoing appeal of the sight of beautiful women in bikinis on a beach near the surf.


So I put the question out to Wilson: What do you think of this variation on your theme, and are you flattered or infuriated by it?

‘I love her vocal,’ the Beach Boys’ creative mastermind said Monday through his manager. ‘She sounds very clear and energetic.’

UPDATE on July 21 at 4:17 p.m.: Mike Love also has become a Perry fan.

“I think she’s really clever,” Love said Wednesday, reached at his hotel in Medford, Ore., where the Beach Boys were performing that night. “We have a lot in common now: We both have done songs called ‘California Girls’ and we’ve both kissed girls and liked it.”

Perry’s song, he said, “obviously brings to mind our ‘California Girls,’ it’s just in a different vernacular, a different way of appreciating the same things. The Beach Boys have always accentuated the positive, and hers is a positive message about California Girls, so what’s not to like?”

Wilson also liked the version that includes a guest rap by Snoop Dogg that makes a nod to the original.

‘The melody is infectious, and I’m flattered that Snoop Dogg used our lyric on the tag,’ Wilson noted. ‘I wish them well with this cut.’


Little wishing appears to be necessary. ‘California Gurls’ just completed a run of six weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and has sold more than 2.6 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, with the vast majority being digital downloads.

Perry’s musical homage has done so well that the obvious follow-up for the Santa Barbara-born singer might just have to be ‘Gud Vibrations.’

-- Randy Lewis

Left photo: Brian Wilson poolside at his home in 2008: Credit: Karen Tapia-Andersen / Los Angeles Times

Right photo: Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

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