Early Beach Boys songs like this one dealt with issues important to teenagers - girls, cars, surfing, and in this case, pride in your school. Musically, the group stood out thanks to Brian Wilson's songcraft and their distinctive harmony vocals. The songs also connected because of lead singer Mike Love's lyrics, which captured a slice of life in the high school halls. It was something he learned from Chuck Berry, whose song "School Day
" provided a template for Rock n' Roll school songs. In our interview with Mike Love
, he explained: "You can feel the influence of Chuck Berry in songs like 'Surfin' U.S.A.
' which is patterned after 'Sweet Little Sixteen
,' and songs like 'Fun, Fun, Fun
' and 'Be True To Your School,' so many of the songs that have the lyrical impulse that Chuck Berry would put into his songwriting."
Until 1994, when Mike Love won a lawsuit awarding him composer credit on this and 34 other Beach Boys songs, Brian Wilson was the only credited songwriter on the track. The publishing rights to these songs was administered by Brian's father Murry Wilson, who Love claims often left him off the credits.