“Barbara Ann” is a song written by Fred Fassert that was first recorded by the Regents as “Barbara-Ann”. Their version was released in 1961 and reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The most famous cover version was recorded in 1965 by the Beach Boys, issued as a single from their album Beach Boys’ Party! with the B-side “Girl Don’t Tell Me”.
The Beach Boys version The Beach Boys recorded their version on September 23, 1965, five days after actress and model Barbara Anne Feldon made her first television appearance on Get Smart.[original research?] Dean Torrence is featured on lead vocals along with Brian Wilson. Torrance is not credited on the album jacket, but “Thanks, Dean” is said by Carl Wilson at the end of the track.
The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week ending January 1, 1966. The week ending January 29, the song leaped from #15 to #2 and was in position to replace We Can Work It Out by The Beatles as the next #1 song. However, My Love by Petula Clark unexpectedly vaulted into the #1 position the week ending February 5, 1966. Consequently, “Barbara Ann” peaked at #2 in the US Billboard Hot 100 (#1 in Cash Box and Record World) and at #3 in the UK in January 1966. It also topped the charts in Germany, Switzerland and Norway. It was The Beach Boys’ biggest hit in Italy, reaching #4.
Variations of the Beach Boys’ recording have seen release. A version without the party sound effects can be found on the Hawthorne, CA album. The group sang the song as an encore on their Live In London album. As a solo artist, Brian has a rendition on his live album Live at the Roxy Theatre, and in 2001, performed it himself, with the ensemble, on An All-Star Tribute to Brian Wilson.