Kokomo – The Beach Boys – 1988
The infectious Kokomo was a massive hit in Australia in the summer of 1988, and it was because of this song that I bought my first piece of music at the height of its success – The Beach Boys’ compilation album, 20 Golden Greats. Yeah, that one over there, and that’s right, it was on cassette. My pocket money didn’t stretch to a CD.
The guy behind the desk who sold it to me said: you know Kokomo’s not on this tape, right? Cheeky so and so. Of course I knew: I was twelve, I wasn’t stupid. That collection was put together in 1976, and it acted as my introduction to the wider oeuvre of The Beach Boys, and perhaps oddly for a guy about to hit his teens in the late eighties, they soon became one of my favourite bands.
Kokomo was featured in the Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail and it was the perfect partnership, bringing The Beach Boys back into the spotlight for a whole new generation of listeners.
The song showcases their innate ability to write a memorable chorus and shows that although it had been over twenty years since their sixties heyday, their vocal harmonies were still up there with the best in the business. While it’s certainly not their best work, it was a good springboard for me to hunt out their earlier stuff, and to really appreciate the indelible mark The Beach Boys left on the music industry.