The Beach Boys—and their record label—got a lot of value out of some blue plaid shirts.
The year was 1962, and brothers Brian, Carl, and Dennis, plus cousin Mike Love, and neighbor David Marks, were still pretty fresh as a band. Only a year before, the group had recorded its first ever track, the demo song Surfin’ in September 1961. A full recording followed the next month—although David Marks couldn’t make the session, because he was in school.
Their shirts, made by Pendleton, were more than just a look: The band had actually named itself “The Pendletones.” Pendleton heavy wool plaid shirts were the look of choice in those days for Californian sun-seeking teenagers.
To the band’s surprise, however, when their first LP Surfin’ Safari was released, The Pendletones were nowhere to be seen. Capital, the band’s label, had renamed the group “The Beach Boys.”
This itself was the label’s second choice of name. Their first choice was the more-literal ‘The Surfers.” But that name was taken, so “The Beach Boys” it was.
Despite the fact that only Dennis Wilson had anything approaching a passion for surfing, it was a no-brainer when it came to the photoshoot for their first full length disc, Surfin’ Safari.
The shoot, by Capitol’s in-house photographer, took place on the beach at Paradise Cove, near Malibu—under a distinctly non-blue sky, with the band fooling around on a palm-fringed jalopy and in the water. The results were augmented by a studio shot.
And while “The Pendletones” had disappeared, the Pendletons remained.