“California Girls” is a song by American rock band The Beach Boys, featured on their ninth studio album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) (1965). Written by band-members Brian Wilson (who conceived the song during an LSD trip) and Mike Love, the song features contrasting verse-chorus form. Upon its release as a single, “California Girls” reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
It is one of The Beach Boys’ most famous songs and has been included on countless greatest hits compilations. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included the song in its list of the “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it 71st on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
David Lee Roth covered the song on his 1985 EP Crazy from the Heat (with background vocals contributed by Beach Boy Carl Wilson along with Christopher Cross), and like the original it topped at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, which was the same position that the Beach Boys original version reached twenty years prior to Roth’s cover.
Crazy from the Heat was released while Roth was still a member of Van Halen. All four songs on the EP are cover versions.
David Lee Roth (born October 10, 1954) is an American rock vocalist, songwriter, actor, author, and former radio personality. Roth was ranked nineteenth by Hit Parader on their list of the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Singers of All Time.
Roth is best known as the original and current lead singer of the southern California-based hard rock outfit Van Halen. After departing Van Halen in 1985 Roth first enjoyed a successful career as a solo artist, which originated while still a member of that band and yielded several RIAA-certified Gold and Platinum records.
After more than two decades apart, Roth rejoined Van Halen in 2007 for a North American tour that became the most successful in the band’s history and one of the highest grossing of that year. Roth has remained the lead singer of Van Halen since his 2007 return and is currently rumored to be recording new material with the band for their first album since 1998.
The iconic music video for the cover, directed by Pete Angelus and Roth, was released in February 1985. Roth stars as a tour guide, showing tourists the beach and swimsuit models. One of these tourists is played by Jane Leeves, who went on to play Frasier’s Daphne Moon. The scenes follow the lyrics with bikini-clad women from all regions of the United States. An often imitated scene has Roth dancing down a sidewalk bordered by models frozen in mannequin poses.
It was nominated for several 1985 MTV Video Music Awards. In an interview with Howard Stern, Roth explained that he edited the video while wearing thick skiing goggles which greatly impaired his vision. Each time the editor would increase the red saturation, Roth would tell him to turn it higher, until finally proclaiming; “Now THAT’S red!”