Saturday, March 19, 2022

PHIL NEE - March 19th

Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas recorded a Beatles penned song 'Do You Want To Know a Secret' in March of 1963.   

In 2016, Billy joined me by phone and we talked about those early days.


Billy J. Kramer has been a friend of Forgotten Hits for many, many years now.  We have always made it a point to get together whenever he's in Chicago for The Fest For Beatles Fans ... and he has often allowed us to "sneak peek"  tracks from whatever new album project he may have been working on at the time.  We love him ...
Billy was fortunate enough to have recorded several tunes written by Lennon and McCartney ...  I've included one of my personal favorites, "Bad To Me," above.  (kk)

Michael Martin Murphey was born March 14th, 1945.   He is best remembered for his many Country hits in the 80's and for the Spring of 1975 song Wildfire.  
In 2003 he joined me by phone for a discussion about his career.  
I had the chance to talk with him about his early days and his first success as Travis Lewis of the Lewis & Clarke Expedition in 1967 and a record called 'I Feel Good (I Feel Bad).


He was a friend of Michael Nesmith and that helped give him a big break when the Monkees recorded one of his songs for their fourth album, "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd."


"What Am I Doing Hanging 'Round" is one of my all-time favorite Monkees songs.  (I also think it's one of the most fun videos they ever recorded!  Keep your eye on Micky!)

Michael Martin Murphey went on to have an excellent career on the country charts, earning 16 Top 20 Country Hits, including the #1 Records "What's Forever For" in 1982 and "A Long Line Of Love" in 1987.

Phil Nee returns to the airwaves LIVE this evening!!!  (Hey, he might have been down ... but he was never out!!!)
Be sure to listen to Phil's THOSE WERE THE DAYS Show TONIGHT on WRCO ...  WRCO AM FM Radio Richland Center Wisconsin  ... 

Just click on the 100.9 headphones and start streaming!

(Welcome back, buddy!)  kk

Friday, March 18, 2022

The Friday Flash

The recent wave of pre-posts are playing havoc with our "Current Events" segments ...

So let's see if we can get ourselves a little caught up today.

(Not so much a "Friday Flash" this week ... as a FLOOD!!!)

This Sunday’s rebroadcast of The History Of Rock And Roll features a two hour spotlight feature on the music of The Rolling Stones from the ‘60’s … and includes interview segments with all five Stones from that era.  It airs March 20th on Me-TV-FM beginning at 10 pm Central Time.  (I looked at this episode as a real victory in moving forward in the way of accurately presenting The History Of Rock And Roll.  The Rolling Stones are not an artist that you will typically hear on Me-TV-FM … they just don’t quite fit their “soft rock oldies” images, a point I have always taken issue with … especially when you WILL hear them playing early garage band / punk things like “Pushin’ Too Hard” by The Seeds and “We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet” by The Blues Magoos.  I’ve always said present the WHOLE story … and you’ll likely widen your audience in the process.)  This one is definitely worth tuning in for.


In fact, Gary Theroux (who writes the series) sent us this schedule of upcoming features:


Hi, Kent.

Here are the HISTORY OF ROCK 'N' ROLL episodes running over the next few weekends.  "The Beach Boys Story" is a special favorite of mine (and host Wink Martindale's) as it covers all of the band's '60s hits and key album tracks, a magical montage of The Beach Boys in concert and even their comeback single, "Kokomo."  Along with all the music, this episode includes insightful interviews with group members Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Mike Love and Brian's replacement on the road, Glen Campbell. 

Check out the HISTORY OF ROCK 'N' ROLL Facebook page for a partial listing on the broadcast and online stations airing the series every week.

March 19-20: THE BEACH BOYS STORY (includes a spotlight profile of The Ventures “Walk Don’t Run”)

March 26-27: NUMBER ONE HITS OF 1978 (with Meatloaf “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”) 

April 2-3: THE MOST ROMANTIC HITS OF 1971 (with Neil Diamond “Crackin’ Rosie”)

April 9-10: LEADING MEN OF THE SIXTIES (with Bob Dylan “Blowin’ In The Wind”) April 16-17: LEADING LADIES OF THE SEVENTIES (with The Fifth Dimension “Wedding Bell Blues”) 

April 23-24: LEADING MEN OF THE SEVENTIES (with Peter Frampton “Show Me The Way”) 

April 30-May 1: MOST ROMANTIC HITS OF 1973 (with Paul Williams “Songs He Wrote”)

May 7-8: MOST ROMANTIC HITS OF 1967 (with The Doors “Light My Fire”)

May 14-15: NUMBER ONE HITS OF 1975 (Elton John “Honky Cat”)

May 21-22: MOST ROMANTIC HITS OF 1965 (with Tom Jones “It’s Not Unusual”)


The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll airs every weekend around the world.  Our Cleveland affiliate tells us it’s the most popular show they run!

And the hits just keep on comin'!


I was fortunate enough to hear an advance copy of The Beach Boys show before The History Of Rock ‘n’ Roll launched again … and it is indeed a “must listen.”

We always provide the Me-TV-FM Listen Live links for these broadcasts because they truly are the “anchor station” for this series.

New episodes air from 7-9 am on Saturdays … and a rebroadcast of the PREVIOUS week’s episode airs Sunday Nights from 10 pm – Midnight.  (all Central Time Zone)  kk

And THIS is the weekend when Rich Appel plays back the results of his recent WOW! Song Poll.  There are dozens and dozens of great stations that you can tune in to to hear this program … and, come next week, it will also be available as a podcast in the “That Thing With Rich Appel” archives.  Be sure to check it out!

In other radio-related news, our buddy Phil Nee returns to the airwaves LIVE tomorrow night to host is Saturday Night Oldies Show, "Those Were The Days" on WRCO out of Richland Center, Wisconsin.  (Phil just went thru an extended absence due to health issues, but assures me that he's feeling fine and can't wait to get back on the air.)  You'll find his regular Saturday feature tomorrow in Forgotten Hits, spotlighting interviews he's done with both Billy J. Kramer and Michael Martin Murphey ...

And because there was simply no way we could fit all of your recent comments into one Friday Flash, look for a rather large Sunday Comments posting this weekend as well!  (kk)

Dolly Parton has withdrawn her name from The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Ballot, leaving now 16 artists competing for the once coveted role of induction.

“I don't feel that I have earned that right … and I really do not want votes to be split because of me, so I must respectfully bow out.”

I’ve got to give her a lot of credit.  We couldn’t understand her nomination either!!! (And yet she was solidly in The Top Five for the last several weeks!)  At the time of her announcement, she was in 4th place, trailing Duran Duran, Eminem and Pat Benatar … and just ahead of Eurythmics.  Those 280,000 votes will not be redistributed … and Parton went on to say “"I do hope that the Rock & Hall of Fame will understand and be willing to consider me again — if I'm ever worthy.  This has, however, inspired me to put out a hopefully great rock ‘n’ roll album at some point in the future, which I have always wanted to do! My husband is a total rock 'n' roll freak and has always encouraged me to do one. I wish all of the nominees good luck and thank you again for the compliment. Rock on!"

(When I checked the site Monday night, Parton’s name was still on the ballot.  Maybe this is like that time when Pat Paulsen said, “If I’m nominated, I will not run … and if I’m elected, I will not serve” … or was that LBJ that said that?!?!)  kk

SO happy to see someone actually admitting they don't belong in the RNR Hall of Fame!  Good on you, Dolly!!!

Clark Besch

In the aftermath of Dolly’s announcement, Dionne Warwick took the opportunity to tell Andy Cohen how she felt about HER nomination to The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame …

“I’m not a rock and roller. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as I grew to know it many, many years ago was specifically for rock and roll acts.  I feel now, especially when I hear that Dolly Parton was nominated, they should rename the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and call it The Music Hall of Fame. It would bring so many other genres into it …  why not?”

This idea has been kicked around for the last two decades as the scope of nominees has shifted to include more genres.  Warwick is certainly NOT Rock And Roll … a more worthy candidate might be Burt Bacharach, just for the pure volume of music he has shared with the world over the years … but HE’s not really Rock And Roll either.

The lines have been blurred … but I don’t see The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ever changing their moniker … they were founded under the premise of honoring rock and roll music as an artform … and tracking its continued development thru the evolving artists inducted once the obvious list had been completed.  (Meanwhile, they continue to ignore dozens of legitimate rock and roll acts in the process.)  Incredibly, this is the SECOND time Dionne has been nominated for induction … but I think she’s still far enough down the list in terms of actual fan votes cast so as not to receive legitimate consideration this year either.  (kk)

Speaking of Dionne Warwick, Tom Cuddy tells us about a new documentary …


‘Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over’ Review: One of the Most Transcendent of All Pop Singers Gets a Solid Documentary


This has got to be at least the third in-depth Dionne Warwick profile released over the past several years.  (There are probably equally that many spotlighting the music of Burt Bacharach as well … and the two artists are forever intertwined due to the incredible catalog of music they produced together.)  But I’ll still be looking for it, as I just love watching Dionne perform her hits from back in the day.  (She has an upcoming appearance here at The Genesee Theatre with Ruben Studdard of American Idol fame, who’ll be singing the hits of Luther Vandross as her opening act.  This one is happening April 24th.)


You can also look for a new Sheryl Crow documentary premiering on Showtime in May.  (May 6th to be exact.)  The film was shown last weekend at the South By Southwest Festival ... and a 2-CD Soundtrack / Career Retrospective will be released in conjunction with the film's Showtime premier.  (kk)

More details can be found here:


UPDATE:  On Thursday, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame announced that it was NOT removing Dolly Parton's name from the ballot ... and that all votes cast for her will continue to be accumulated to arrive at a final total.  (Unfortunately, there's really no way of telling how many votes she may have missed out on by fans honoring her wishes this past week.)


The Rock Hall explained it this way: 

All of us in the music community have seen Dolly Parton’s thoughtful note expressing her feeling that she has not earned the right to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to her incredible talent as an artist, her humility is another reason Dolly is a beloved icon by millions of fans around the world.

From its inception, Rock & Roll has had deep roots in Rhythm & Blues and Country music. It is not defined by any one genre, rather a sound that moves youth culture. Dolly Parton’s music impacted a generation of young fans and influenced countless artists that followed. Her nomination to be considered for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame followed the same process as all other artists who have been considered. 

Dolly’s nomination, along with the other 16 artists for the class of 2022, was sent out earlier this month to our 1,200 general ballot voters, the majority of whom are artists themselves, for consideration for induction at our ceremony.  

We are in awe of Dolly’s brilliant talent and pioneering spirit and are proud to have nominated her for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

-- Shauna Wilson, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation Director of Communications

Dolly's response?

"It kind of would be like putting AC/DC in the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

That's enough to make me want to go to the site and vote for her right now!!!  (lol)

The problem here (and what becomes immediately clear) is that The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has done SO much to dilute the very purpose of its existence that NOBODY even knows what it means or even stands for anymore!

Dolly going out now to cut the rock and roll album her husband has always dreamed of doesn't make her a rock and roll artists ... heck, Pat Boone sold more records than anybody else in the '50's short of Elvis ... and introduced whitebread versions of classic R&B tunes to a whole new audience in the process ... and then decades later recorded a heavy metal album ... and NONE of this criteria ever even got him on the ballot ... which is just wrong. 

Is Pat Boone rock and roll???  

Of Course Not!!!

But did he advance the development of rock and roll and bring it to whole new heights and a whole new audience who might not have been paying attention otherwise?

Absolutely he did!

And that's what The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was originally founded on ... the advancement of rock and roll music as an art form ... and the acceptance of it as such.  And this is where The Rock Hall has failed for the last 20+ years ... they've lost their way ... they've COMPLETELY lost sight of why they were founded in the first place.

Am I campaigning for Pat Boone to be inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?

No ... although I did at one point in time ... because I believed (and I STILL believe) he deserves the honor ... but it'll never happen, so why waste any further effort on it.  There are FAR too many artists who continue to be ignored ... or, as we've always called them, Deserving and Denied.  

But I think Pat belongs in there more than Dionne Warwick does!  And, quite honestly, more than Dolly Parton, too.  What did Duran Duran (who currently lead the ballot) do to advance the genre of rock and roll?  They were pop idol poster boys with an allegiance of female fans (not that that doesn't count for SOMETHING ... but ONLY after you induct all of the other deserving rock and roll artists you've ignored for the past three decades first.  (And I'll include Ed Sullivan in my pitch once again, too.  How on earth is THIS guy not in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame???  Rock And Roll Music might not have even survived if Ed didn't go out on a limb and book EVERY major act on his show each and every Sunday Night.  He brought Rock And Roll Music into our homes and made it acceptable (and enjoyable) for the whole family to watch together.

Man ...

Like I said, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has TRULY lost their way!!!  (kk)

"It kind of would be like putting AC/DC in the Country Music Hall of Fame

Read More: Rock Hall Says Voting Will Continue for Dolly Parton |

All of us in the music community have seen Dolly Parton’s thoughtful note expressing her feeling that she has not earned the right to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to her incredible talent as an artist, her humility is another reason Dolly is a beloved icon by millions of fans around the world.

Read More: Rock Hall Says Voting Will Continue for Dolly Parton |

All of us in the music community have seen Dolly Parton’s thoughtful note expressing her feeling that she has not earned the right to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to her incredible talent as an artist, her humility is another reason Dolly is a beloved icon by millions of fans around the world.

Read More: Rock Hall Says Voting Will Continue for Dolly Parton |

And back, for a moment, to The History Of Rock And Roll, on June 7th, Don McLean’s #1 Hit “American Pie” will be immortalized (again!) as a children’s book!

“Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’: A Fable” traces the history of rock and roll, beginning with the death of Buddy Holly in 1959 (The Day The Music Died.)  It continues the story thru blind references to other artists like Bob Dylan (the Jester), Elvis Presley (the King), The Rolling Stones (Jack Flash), Janis Joplin (the girl who sang the blues) and The Beatles (the Sergeants), all of whom helped to build upon the legacy.  (The lyrics also directly or indirectly reference the death of John F. Kennedy, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Manson family, drug culture, fashion and royalty.)

In yet another example of just how messed up Billboard’s Pop Charts are these days, Dua Lipa just posted her 70th week on the chart, a new all-time high for a female artist.  (Is music REALLY this boring that the same song by the same artist can chart for a year and a half?!?!)  And this isn’t just ANY song … “Levitating” was the Biggest Song of the Year on their 2021 Year-End Chart.  Incredibly, it peaked at #2 on May 22nd, 2021 … and still falls short of the 90 weeks The Weeknds’s “Blinding Lights” posted in 2019-2021.  18 songs have now charted for 60 weeks or more during the 2000’s.  Wow.  (And not in a good way! Lol)  kk

Dear Friends, 

Today, March 14, 2022, marks the 8 year anniversary of the day I called Dick to ask if I could be the one to tell his story. He could hear the passion in my voice as we recalled his golden WLS-AM days when he was the #1 DJ in the country and I had my little grassroots fan club for him in the western suburbs.
We talked about how the kids would go downtown to the WLS studios on Saturday to meet the DJs and hang out with The Wild-Itralian. What a surprise when Dick invited my best friend Joan and I and our moms to watch his Saturday night show. What fun it was making faces through the big window. Dick even bought us a pizza. As Dick and I reminisced about his sock hops, personal appearances, and all the crazy antics coming out of our transistor radios, he answered my request by saying, "Yea, let's do it."
As you can imagine, I was over the moon, dancing on clouds for months. Now on this 8th year anniversary, I'm bursting with gratitude for all the wonderful people who have joined my tribute to the great Biondi, the most wonderful deejay and friend anyone could have. I can't wait for you to see Dick's movie. In fact, the movie is finished and we are having a test screening this month for a fact check with a select audience. After that, we are planning to hold fundraiser screenings in venues around Illinois, Indiana, and beyond. because we still have finishing funds to cover.

If you know of a venue and would like to help us, please email me

BTW, Dick has seen his movie and he approves! Please share this with all your Biondi lovin' friends and family. Again, THIS is a big day for us at The Dick Biondi Film. Thanks for your support and friendship.

And a HUGE THANK YOU to Dick for making my dream come true.

Pam Pulice

What an EXCITING time!!!  All these years spent working on the film of your dreams ... and I am SO glad you have invited me to the initial screening ... I can't wait to see it!  (kk)

This year’s Happy Together Tour Dates have been announced … and the final line-up has been confirmed.

The Turtles, of course, remain the headliners in the tour that was named after their monster 1967 #1 Hit.  They’ve been doing these shows for over 35 years now, with minor changes to the list of artists participating from time to time.

And, as has been the case for the last several years, original Turtles lead singer Howard Kaylan is sitting this thing out, replaced again by Ron Dante, who will also perform HIS two huge hits from 1969, “Sugar, Sugar” (recorded as The Archies) and “Tracy” (recorded as The Cuff Links)  Founding Turtles member Mark Volman will be there to provide the harmonies and comedy antics that we’ve come to expect from every Turtles performance.

In addition to The Turtles, this year’s line-up will include Chuck Negron (formerly of Three Dog Night), Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, and then three of the best vocal groups of the ‘60’s, The Association, The Vogues and The Cowsills.  (Mark Lindsay, former lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders, bowed out of the last couple rounds of this tour due to health issues.  He just celebrated his 80th birthday this month!)

This has always been a great show, jam-packed with many of your all-time favorite hits of this era.  (Between them, The Turtles, Three Dog Night, The Archies, The Cuff Links, The Union Gap, The Association, The Vogues and The Cowsills had 72 Top 40 Hits.  That’s a WHOLE lotta bang for your buck at this show! (kk)

2022 Happy Together Tour Dates:

June 1st –   Clearwater, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall
June 2nd –  Jacksonville, FL – Florida Theatre
June 3rd –   Biloxi, MS – IP Casino Resort and Spa
June 4th –   Hiawassee, GA – Anderson Music Hall
June 5th –   Melbourne, FL – King Center for the Performing Arts
June 6th –   Daytona Beach, FL – The Peabody Daytona Beach
June 8th –   Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall
June 9th –   Durham, NC – Carolina Theatre
June 10th –  New York, NY – Palladium Times Square
June 11th –  Westbury, NY – NYCB Theatre at Westbury
June 12th –  Lowell, MA – Lowell Memorial Auditorium
June 16th –  Jim Thorpe, PA – Penn’s Peak
June 17th –  Staten Island, NY – St. George Theatre
June 18th –   Northampton, MA – Calvin Theatre
June 19th –   Lynn, MA – Lynn Auditorium
June 21st –   Hyannis, MA – Cape Cod Melody Tent
June 22nd –  Cohasset, MA – South Shore Music Circus
June 23rd –   Morristown, NJ – Mayo PAC
June 24th –   Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Center for the Arts
June 25th –   Lancaster, PA – American Music Theatre
June 26th –   Hampton Beach, NH – Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
July 14th –    Tucson, AZ – Tucson Music Hall
July 15th –    Las Vegas, NV – The Smith Center
July 17th –    Costa Mesa, CA – Pacific Amphitheater
July 29th –     Greensburg, PA – Palace Theatre
August 1st –   Ocean City, NJ – Ocean City Music Pier
August 2nd –  Englewood, NJ – Bergen PAC
August 6th –   Waukegan, IL – Genesee Theatre
August 10th – Dayton, OH – Fraze Pavilion
August 13th – Owensboro, KY – RiverPark Center
August 18th – Shipshewana, IN – Blue Gate PAC
August 20th – Saint Charles, MO – Family Arena
August 21st – Kansas City, MO – Kauffman Center For the Performing Arts
August 24th – Effingham, IL – Effingham Perf. Center
August 26th – Wisconsin Dells, WI – Crystal Grand Music Theatre
August 28th – Deadwood, SC – Deadwood Mountain Grand

The Rolling Stones have announced their tour dates for their upcoming European Tour, now being billed as “The Rolling Stones: Sixty” …

June 1st - Wanda Metropolitano Stadium – MADRID, SPAIN
June 5th – Olympic Stadium – MUNICH, GERMANY
June 9th – Anfield Stadium – LIVERPOOL, UK
June 13th – Johan Cruijff ArenA – AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
June 17th – Wankdorf Stadium – BERN, SWITZERLAND
June 21st – San Siro Stadium – MILAN, ITALY
June 25th– American Express Presents BST Hyde Park – LONDON, UK

July 3rd - American Express Presents BST Hyde Park – LONDON, UK
July 11th – King Baudouin Stadium – BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
July 15th – Ernst Happel Stadium – VIENNA, AUSTRIA
July 19th – Groupama Stadium – LYON, FRANCE
July 23rd – Hippodrome ParisLongchamp – PARIS, FRANCE
July 27th – Veltins-Arena – GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY
July 31st – Friends Arena – STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

Don’t be surprised if dates are added to this one, too ... despite the poster shown below!  (kk)

Just got this note …

Timmy Thomas RIP

Ken Voss

Timmy Thomas scored a #2 hit on both the Pop and R&B Charts with the haunting sounds of “Why Can’t We Live Together” in 1973 … a GREAT tune.


In Beatles News, it was announced last week that Peter Jackson, who put together the new Beatles “Get Back” documentary,” will be a special guest at the upcoming New York Fest For Beatles Fans via zoom, scheduled for Sunday, April 3rd.  (The Fest runs three days … Friday, April 1st, Saturday, April 2nd, and Sunday, April 3rd.)  Hopefully, he will be able to tell us when the DVD and BluRay films will be available.

Also appearing (or scheduled to appear) are our FH Buddy Billy J. Kramer, Chris O’Dell of Apple Records, noted Beatles Historian Mark Lewisohn, Laurence Juber (former guitarist in Wings), Ringo’s drummer, Gregg Bissonette, Don Dannemann of The Cyrkle (who performed with The Beatles on their 1966 American Tour) and a host of other planned special events.

The fact that these fests are happening again is a positive sign after all the Covid derailments of late.  Chicago’s Fest is now scheduled for August.


Meanwhile, The Beatles / Get Back / Let It Be exhibit officially opens at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on March 18th as well.  It features artifacts from their Apple Records rooftop performance.

More information can be found here:


And Paul McCartney has added another US date to his upcoming Got Back Tour …

Macca will now be appearing May 8th at the Oakland Arena in addition to his previously scheduled May 6th show there.  I’m expecting more dates to be added along the way as well.  (kk)


In addition, there's a rumor going round that Sir Paul McCartney (already knighted 25 years ago!) will be made a LORD on his 80th birthday, coming up (get it?) this June 18th!  For all that Macca has done to better (and enhance the riches) of his Mother Country, it seems like the least they could do!  (So now the only question is, moving forward, do we all have to address him as My Sweet Lord???  Or would that just be too confusing???)  kk

We missed Mike Love’s birthday earlier this week (again, the downside of pre-posting so much material!), but Harvey Kubernik sent us this interview that we still wanted to run at some point in time …


And this is why it is finally making its way to our pages today!


Here are segments of a 1974 and a 2011 interview that I did with Mike Love in honor of his birthday, March 15th



Mike Love is a 1958 Dorsey High School graduate and was captain of his cross-country team. Love was a by-product of a multi-racial school near South Central L.A. that impacted his record collection and the way he crafted tunes with Brian Wilson. Love also attended summer school at Manuel Arts in Watts.

Love’s understanding of R&B music genres and styles gleaned from his exposure to the fifties and sixties melting pot culture of L.A. definitely informed his life and subsequent roles as the Beach Boys’ mainstay.

Brian Wilson, in a 2011 interview with me, praised Love’s involvement with the recording of “Good Vibrations.”

“Mike’s bass part was the one. Mike’s voice on it was the thing that sold me on it.  Mike’s singing got us famous. Because his voice has a quality to it that goes hand and hand with the song. He was the appropriate singer for the song.”

Further evidence of the influence of the Beach Boys, even on the Rolling Stones, can be heard on “What To Do,” a selection on the Andrew Loog Oldham-produced Aftermath.  An homage to the Beach Boys, spotlighting their harmonies, cut at RCA studios in Hollywood.

Mick Jagger initially remarked during that recording session to his producer and manager Oldham, “What do you want me to do? Brian Wilson?”

In 1974, I interviewed Love for the now defunct "Melody Maker" for an article titled “The Beach Boys: Stepping Out Of The Surf.”

Love stressed in our conversation, “The Beach Boys will last. We sing songs. We have melodies, and defined and refined harmonies, which will last way after the last psychedelic guitar lead.”


Harvey Kubernik, 1974 and 2011 Interviews with Mike Love:


Q: Just before the formal Smile recording sessions really started, you and Brian collaborated on “Good Vibrations.” Walk me through the process of the writing session and the recording.

A: Well, the thing is, Brian was experimenting with various versions of the “Good Vibrations” track. He didn’t have the lyric, but he had a phenomenal track. In fact, when I first heard the first version, it reminded me of the R&B outrageous groove of James Brown’s band, you know.


Q: The kind of records you heard in the late 1950’s and early and ‘60s on Los Angeles radio stations like KGFJ and KVOX.

A: Exactly. Really incredible. The R&B kind of groove to it. And the bass did what it did and it gave me the idea to say, “I’m pickin’ up good vibrations. She’s giving me the excitations.” Excitations may or may not be in the dictionary, but you know, I did it anyway. And so I came up with that chorus line and lyric and wrote all the words.  And because he was experimenting with various sections that were ultimately put together and what came out as the single, I didn’t actually write the lyrics until the day we were on the way to the session. And I dictated while I was driving to my then wife Suzanne, who was pregnant at the time. And she wrote it out.

See, it was in the midst of the flower power psychedelic era, as you would know. And I think I’ve always felt “Good Vibrations” was the Beach Boys’ tomb to the peace and love and flower summer of love type of deal. It just kind of, in our way, made that statement. Because it was talking about something. Originally, we were talking about, you know, girls, surfing, beach life, cars and all that kind of stuff. But with “Good Vibrations,” we began to come a little more subjective rather than objective. Meaning more feelings and more subtlety.

“Heroes and Villains” reminded me and made me think of “The William Tell Overture.” You know it’s so dynamic and powerful. And “Wonderful” is so beautiful and sensitive. And although I didn’t agree with Van Dyke’s lyrics on every single thing, I thought he did a marvelous job on that.

Like, when I first heard the track of “Good Vibrations” I said, “Wow. How are the people in Omaha gonna take this?” Cousin Brucie, the biggest DJ in New York, said when he first heard “Good Vibrations,” he hated it. He got to love it, but originally, he hated it. He told me because it was so different.

I loved the tracks on “Good Vibrations.” Here’s my frame of reference ...

“Good Vibrations” was the chorus Brian and I came up with and the lyrics I wrote went to number one. Thank goodness. And that was fabulously successful, phenomenal and the biggest hit of the sixties for us. And we had some pretty good size hits.

But then “Heroes and Villains” came out ... and it went top forty something ... I don’t know what it went to. The thing is an awesome track, the record stops. And Bruce [Johnston] recalls, being in a club in England and having the record played. I don’t know if he had it with him or had it played. And he was in a club when “Heroes and Villains” was played. Everybody was dancing and they stopped dead. And also the lyrics to me as far as commercial appeal did not cut the mustard. Is that the way you say it?

Anyway, it didn’t rise to the level of commercial appeal. Which, I admit, I am both appreciative of the artistic part of things but I also want it to be successful. That’s me. That’s Mike Love.


Q: Is it a different type of Mike Love vocally when you sing the words of other lyricists and not words you provided for Brian and the Beach Boys. I realize you sang some cover versions but what about when doing the vocals on Tony Asher lyrics for Pet Sounds and later Van Dyke Parks words on Smile then doing your own written songs.

A: Well, you know, I’m both a lead singer and a background singer. I love singing the bass parts on “Warmth Of The Sun,” on “In My Room,” “Surfer Girl” or “Don’t Worry Baby.” All those songs I enjoyed singing the bass. And on some of the Smile sessions that’s what I sang.

I don’t recall even singing the lead on the Smile type project. So I’m a team player as well as a lead singer, you know. No, there’s not really a difference. I mean, Tony Asher did some phenomenal lyrics. He did great lyrics. And Van Dyke just got for me, got a little obtuse. I call it acid alliteration. OK? That was the term I use. And people think I’m being disparaging and an asshole, but the fact is that I look at lyrics as a way to communicate to people.

I had nothing to do with shelving the Smile project. I sang on all the songs, you know, that I could.  And there’s some beautiful music. I mean, “Wonderful” makes you cry.  I just remember the tracks that Brian did were incredible. “Wonderful” was beautiful.

I love “Vege-Tables.” That was fun. Paul McCartney came to the session. That was delightful. That’s a sweet song. I love the whimsicality of “Vege-Tables.”


Q: What about “Surf’s Up?”

A: “Surf’s Up” is a beautiful song. With Brian at the apex of his vocal abilities and powers. Before he smoked four packs of cigarettes a day because he thought singing with his high falsetto voice was effeminate.

And I think it’s my nature along with his nature that combines to be incredibly artistic. But also lyrically, I try to relate to the widest possible amount of people without losing sight of the concept of the song. So, how do we groove with this thing a bit and also relate this thing. And that was my thought process in “Good Vibrations.” Now I was not involved in the writing of the Smile stuff, so it sounds like sour grapes when I say some of the things I say, but I don’t mean it.


Q: I first heard “Cool. Cool Water” on Sunflower and then again for the Smile Sessions” out in 2011.

A: Well, I came up with the lyrics to “Cool, Cool Water.” Using the word gas as a superlative. There’s a lot of cool double entendre. That song is such a trip to listen to.


Q: “Our Prayer” is on Smile.  You were pretty early on the spirituality tip in music regarding religion, or spirituality or quest, shall we say. The spiritual aspect of the Beach Boys. That’s not lost on you. Did you become maybe a messenger?

A: Well … I don’t know about messenger, but the appreciation of what, holiness there is that exists. And thank goodness it does. We played the acapella version of “Our Prayer” to the musicians you referred to as the Wrecking Crew and played it back to them and blew their minds. I blow my mind when I hear it because just the bass part moves around like Chuck Berry, so like a wayward summer breeze. That was intense.

Even learning that arrangement which Brian came up with that’s pure genius. But that’s religious genius, you know. But people don’t know that so well about the Beach Boys. ‘Cause we never proselytized.


Q: Did you ever have concerns or upset that session musicians were providing the tracks for albums like Pet Sounds and Smile?

A: No. Not at all. Leon Russell played on our stuff. Hal Blaine, the Wrecking Crew and company played on session stuff.  Glen Campbell was a session player who, as you know, did a six month stint with us when Brian left.

Bruce came on in 1965. In fact, the first song he sang with us was ‘California Girls.’ And he recalls me going out in the hallway while the track is being done and writing out the lyrics.


Q: So it was never a big deal session people played on your records.

A: No. It was a great deal. Because Brian was home and he would use these fantastic session players. Remarkable product was coming out of that. We would come home and we were the singing group. We would do our harmonies and our melodies and what have you. So it was a great, great asset.


Q: What about the Smiley Smile album?

A: He (Brian) retreated to his home in Bel-Air where we had a studio installed in his home. Where it was very much more intimate, relaxed and protected. He didn’t feel like he had to go out. Brian didn’t feel like he had to conquer the world. In fact, he retreated in more ways than one.


Q: Brian said it was a peaceful album.

A: Come on! “Wind Chimes.” I mean, give me a break. That is so beautiful. And we said silly stuff like “She’s Goin’ Bald.” But the point is that the Smiley Smile album, it is said, was used in drug rehab counseling to calm people down.


Q: Why does the music of the Beach Boys still connect with people?

A: It’s because of love. And I don’t mean Mike Love, either. I mean the love of harmony and it comes from the family origins. Literally. My first memory, recollection of Brian singing and sitting on Grandma Wilson’s lap and singing “Danny Boy.” That kind of says it all. It’s had its ups and downs. My heart has always been around. We’ve had our ups and downs and ins and outs, all kinds of stuff.


Q: Like any family.

A: Yes. But the core of it all and the reason it resonates is that sound is physics. If you’re coming from the heart and you’re just around that microphone, blending together and creating the greatest sound you can, I think at the core of it all is love. Love of music. Love of harmony, love of life. And when you take it out on stage the love of seeing people happy.


Q: Any favorite tunes of the Beach Boys?

A: I don’t really have any favorite Beach Boy song. We’ve had so many of them. I have favorites according to my mood and feelings. I’ve always felt Sunflower was one of the best albums we ever made. Our later stuff will have its day soon, especially Sunflower. I think Pet Sounds is still one of my favorites.

The beautiful thing about this group is that the albums and singles are so different. Every single has been different than the one before it. We never had to rely on the sound or success of prior singles and didn’t have to make one identical to it. A lot of songs we’ve done mean more than what is in the grooves. “Warmth Of The Sun” we wrote on the morning of November 22, 1963, a few hours before President Kennedy was assassinated.


Q: The influence of R&B music on your lyrics is very obvious. You worshipped Johnny Otis.

A: Absolutely.


Q: Some of that early R&B stuff never left Mike Love personally or the music you’ve done.

A: No.  “Kokomo” (written by Love, John Phillips, Scott McKenzie, and Terry Melcher and recorded by the Beach Boys), had a part that came from the influence or impulse of “Smokey Joe’s CafĂ©,” which Brian and I, and my sister and whoever we could grab, or Audree, his mom, or Carl, if we could get him interested, we would sing the harmonies of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.” R&B as you want to be. And the doo-wop and R&B was fantastic.


Q: Do you remember your first day in a recording studio?

A: Only when asked. (laughs). We all stood around one microphone while Brian hit a snare drum and Carl played the standup bass. We sang “Surfin’” and it was done in two takes. We’ve been going ever since. We stayed together basically because we grew up together. My cousins Brian, Carl and Dennis, along with Al Jardine, are the core of the Beach Boys. We’ve been singing together since we sang Christmas carols. We’re a basic fundamental family unit.


And, since we’re talking about The Beach Boys, check out this anniversary tribute to their “Today” album …,3WA1,OGL3I,IJ9E,1

(You’ll find a David Beard interview with Mike Love there as well!)  kk

And one more for good measure ...