This cardboard poster advertised a Beach Boys show at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania that took place on March 12. As a small-venue poster that only promoted one show, we imagine that very few were printed. It’s an outstanding picture of the band and they were at the height of their powers. According to the Muhlenberg Weekly, opening for The Beach Boys were Noel Harrison (son of actor Rex Harrison) and The Lovin’ Spoonful.
In July of 1965 the Beach Boys released their ninth album, Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) which rose to #2 (behind the Rolling Stones, Out of Their Heads) and stayed on the charts for 78 weeks. The singles Help Me Rhonda (#1) and California Girls (#3) were flooding the airwaves. “Sloop John B,” (#3) was about to be released – and was, just 10 days after this performance. Carl Wilson had taken over the live musical directions from an exhausted Brian Wilson, although Wilson had started work on “Good Vibrations,” just three weeks before this concert.
After a few dates in Oregon the Beach Boys came East and played The Cleveland Music Hall on March 11, then this show at Muhlenberg on the 12th and then the Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh, a brutal three-day back and forth on a bus. (the Syria Mosque Theatre held 3,800 people and had hosted Bob Dylan in February). Muhlenberg’s Memorial Hall, a multi-purpose gym, was packed with 6,000 people according to the school newspaper.
At Muhlenberg, students were voting to bring in more rock groups, even if they were then considered, “high-school” and “would be bad for Muhlenberg’s ‘collegiate’ image.” A list of possible contenders included the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Byrds. While the Beatles did not make it to Allentown, the Beach Boys did.