Kokomo - The Beach Boys

Kokomo – The Beach Boys | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1); 1988

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

By 1988 all but the most ardent fans had written off the Beach Boys. Gone were Dennis Wilson, a victim of his own excesses, and brother Brian, gone solo after years wrestling with his own demons. Their most popular albums were repackaged of their 1960’s hits, yet, the Beach Boys name still had drawing power. So when their producer Terry Melcher contacted the music guy at Touchstone/Disney – which had a new Tom Cruise movie in the works – he listened. John Phillips (formerly of The Mamas & Papas), Scott McKenzie (singer of San Francisco; 1967), Mike Love of the BB, and Melcher came up with Kokomo. Never mind that the real Kokomo and Jamaica are worlds apart, everyone in both camps loved the song. For the California boys Kokomo ended a 24 year absence from the top slot they’d held with Good Vibrations in December of 1966.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Terry Melcher

Lyrics Written by:

  • John Phillips
  • Scott McKenzie
  • Mike Love
  • Terry Melcher


  • Nominated for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television at the 1989 Grammy Awards