Mike Love

Written By: Stomp

ZZZ009286-VXMichael Edward “Mike” Love (born March 15, 1941) is an American singer/songwriter with The Beach Boys. He formed the band along with his cousins Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, and their friend Al Jardine.

Although he played the saxophone in the early days, Mike Love was mainly the co-lead singer, along with Brian Wilson, of the Beach Boys. Love sang the lead vocal on many of the Beach Boys’ biggest hits, including, “Surfin’ Safari”, “Surfin’ USA”, “Little Deuce Coupe”, “Be True to Your School”, “Fun, Fun, Fun”, “Little Saint Nick”, “I Get Around”, “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)” and “California Girls”. His lead vocal roles later diminished as other members’ voices began to be heard more, but he remained one of the most recognized voices in the group, due in part to his nasal sound, on songs such as “Do It Again”. He is also known for his bass vocals, such as the vocal break in “I Can Hear Music” and the bass line in “Good Vibrations.” Onstage, Love has always served as the Beach Boys’, introducing songs and band members.

Love also wrote or co-wrote lyrics to many of the Beach Boys songs, mostly with the themes of surfing, cars or love, but also memorable ballads such as “The Warmth of the Sun”. In the 1990’s he initiated and won a legal proceeding to gain co-authorship credit for many of the Beach Boys hits. Throughout his career he continues to co-write numerous songs, and wrote some songs on his own.

In the late sixties, as founder Brian Wilson was sidelined by mental illness and drug problems, Love played an increasingly contentious role in the Beach Boys’ career. According to most sources, Love was the most vehement among group members in his opposition to the lyrical content and avant garde modalities of the Pet Sounds and SMiLE projects (see below), fearing that the band had strayed too far from their tried-and-true hitmaking formula.

Love was one of the first pop musicians to become involved in the practice of Transcendental Meditation, through his meeting with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. As a result he accompanied The Beatles, Donovan, Prudence Farrow, and Mia Farrow on their famous trip to the guru’s ashram at Rishikesh in India in early 1968. Love remains an advocate of the benefits of TM to the present day. Love became a teacher of Transcendental Meditation.

In the late sixties, with Brian no longer touring, Carl Wilson initially took over leadership of the band (with contracts reading that venues hired “Carl Wilson plus four other musicians”), but by the late 70s Love reasserted his dominance over the band; setlists were often limited to the hit catalog and a few songs from the most recent album. This approach alienated the Wilson brothers—especially Dennis, who after a hand accident had assumed co-frontman responsibilities—but it capitalized directly on the first wave of late 50s/early 60s rock and roll nostalgia (spurred by the success of American Graffiti and Happy Days) and managed to keep the group’s business interests viable. The success of this approach was confirmed in 1974 with the release of the compilation Endless Summer. (Love has claimed to be responsible for the title album, though it was supervised by Capitol Records staffer Michael Ross.) The album reached the top of the charts and introduced new generations of listeners to their music, cementing the creation of a cottage industry of touring and repackages that continues to this day.

ftmpz6In 1988 the Beach Boys had a US number-one hit with “Kokomo”, the only number-one song the band had without Brian Wilson’s involvement. Mike Love (along with “Kokomo” co-writers Scott McKenzie, Terry Melcher, and John Phillips) was nominated for a Golden Globe Award (1988) in the Original Song category, and was nominated for a Grammy Award as well.

As of 2009, Mike Love continues to tour with The Beach Boys, along with Bruce Johnston and a supporting band of new musicians. He has stated he is open to a reunion and something is in the works with Al Jardine.

Partly in response to the band’s concerns, articulated by Mike, Brian began writing songs that were easier to perform live, which turned up on the late 1967 album Wild Honey.

Love has attempted several times to have a career outside the Beach Boys. In the mid 1970s he recorded and released two albums with side band Celebration, including the top 30 hit single “Almost Summer” (co-written with Brian Wilson and Jardine), along with further songwriting contributions to the bands third (unreleased) album “Disco Celebration”. In the late 1970s he also recorded two unreleased solo albums, First Love and Country Love. Some tracks from First Love were used on later Beach Boys releases.

In 1981 he released a solo album, Looking Back With Love. Consisting mostly of cover versions, the album was neither critically nor commercially successful.

After that point he confined himself to guest spots on recordings alongside artists such as Dean Torrence of Jan And Dean and The Association, contributing to the albums “Rock’n’Roll City”, “Rock ‘n Roll Again,” “Winter Party On The Beach (aka “Scrooge’s Rock’n’Roll Christmas”)” and “New Memories”. He also developed a penchant for re-recording old Beach Boys’ hits, released on packages like “Catch a Wave” and “Salute Nascar” with Adrian Baker. He has also lent his vocal abilities to a 2003 Bruce Springsteen tribute CD (singing “Hungry Heart”), and a Bruce Johnston–produced album for the Kings Singers, amongst others.

Also, in 2003 he announced plans for a new solo album. This album, which has been announced under the working titles Unleash The Love and Mike Love, Not War (not to be confused with the Beach Boys bootleg of the same name), is still a work in progress (although bootleg recordings have appeared) and, to date, one new track from these sessions, “Cool Head, Warm Heart”, has appeared on an official Beach Boys–related collection.

This is an abridged extract from wikipeida