The salute, which airs April 9, features a cavalcade of contemporary artists taking on the revered group’s classics.
“If you close your eyes and think of California, you can’t help but picture the waves, the sun, the sand,” narrates Tom Hanks as he opens A Grammy Salute to the Beach Boys, which airs on CBS this Sunday (April 9) at 8 p.m. ET/PT. “And if you listen closely over the crash of the surf, you can hear a guitar riff and the vocal harmonies of three brothers who grew up singing in the South Bay. In 1961 those brothers, Brian, Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike and their friend Al, formed a band. They weren’t just making music, they were exporting good vibrations to the rest of the world.”
Similar to past Grammy salutes to Paul Simon, The Beatles, and Stevie Wonder, the special features contemporary artists recreating some of the honorees’ most-loved songs. And, in the case of the Beach Boys, that’s a very deep well to draw from: The group charted 32 top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 — and, led by Wilson’s producing genius, created one of the most influential and revered signature sounds in pop music history.
Taped in February at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, and attended by Wilson and Mike Love (who sat at separate ends of a row in a loge box) as well as Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, the special featured (among others) Beck, Brandi Carlile, Michael McDonald, Pentatonix, St. Vincent, Weezer, Norah Jones, John Legend, Mumford & Sons and Hanson, all singing the soundtrack to everyone’s endless summer.
Below are the top six performances.
Hanson, “Barbara Ann”
Like the Beach Boys, the three brothers in Hanson have that built-in familial, glorious way with harmonies. As the trio tackled the Boys’ 1965 doo-wop classic (originally a hit for The Regents in 1961), they relied on their brotherly bond — with Zac getting a rare chance to sing lead and show off his falsetto, while Isaac and Taylor provided excellent support.