The Beach Boys have released songs on many topics, from tropical paradise islands to the genocide of Native Americans. One of their classic rock love songs was partly based on a honey pot that Mike Love saw in a cupboard. Here’s a look at how a hit was made and how well it compared to the band’s other songs.
How the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote songs together
Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys is one of the most notable avant-garde musicians of his time. Beach Boys’ Bruce Johnston said Mike Love helped make Wilson’s music palatable to the masses, according to The Guardian. He compared Wilson to a shy high school student and Love to a cool guy who helps him pick up girls.
“Well, that was my part, in the lyrics, the concept and the hooks,” Love said. “No one structures harmonies, chord progressions and melodies better than Brian, but I was lucky to have him as a first cousin, and we have a special chemistry together. We liked the same kind of music and we learned from the best: Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers and doo-wop stuff, The Four Freshmen. Love said he and Wilson enjoy harmony, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll.
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How Mike Love thought of wild honey when Brian Wilson wrote one of the Beach Boys songs
Dave Simpson of The Guardian asked Love if Beach Boys songs came easily to them. “Well, the reason ‘Wild Honey’ is called that is because Brian was doing this R&B type track,” Love recalls. “I went to the kitchen to make tea, looked in that cupboard and there was a jar of wild honey. So I wrote this song about a guy who was obsessed with this girl and didn’t care what his mom said. I wrote the lyrics while he was finishing the song. Just like that. It was like that between us.
How does ‘Wild Honey’ compare to other Beach Boys songs in terms of success?
“Wild Honey” was a moderately successful song from the moderately successful album of the same name. The track reached No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the charts for 6 weeks. It wasn’t as shattering as previous Beach Boys songs like “I Get Around”, “Good Vibrations” or “California Girls”. It also wasn’t as successful as the other single from Wild honey, “Darlin ‘”, who reached 19th place in the standings and stayed there for 9 weeks. However, this remains a classic track.
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“Wild Honey” and “Darlin ‘” helped their parent album reach No. 24 on the Billboard 200. The album remained on the charts for 15 weeks. “Wild Honey” never became a standard like other Beach Boys songs, however, it proved that inspiration can come from many places.
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