Singer and songwriter
Singer and songwriter Mike Love is best known as one of the founding members of the Beach Boys, whose infectious harmonies and unique California sound first hit the airways nearly 60 years ago, in 1961. Through the ups and downs of a long career, Love still considers it a “precious miracle” the way fans connect with his music. He shares his Brief But Spectacular take on his life as a Beach Boy.
Amna Nawaz: Tonight’s Brief But Spectacular features singer and songwriter Mike Love, best known as one of the founding members of the Beach Boys.
The band won over fans around the world with infectious harmonies and their unique California sound.
Mike Love: For our original fans, it’s nostalgic when we do “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” But if somebody is in grade school and listens to the Beach Boys and hears “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” for the first time, it totally relates to them at that stage of life.
The Beach Boys have always emphasized harmony. And what brought us together is the love of harmonizing, at Christmas parties and Thanksgiving.
My earliest memories of my cousin Brian sitting on my grandmother Wilson’s lap singing “Danny Boy,” and what an amazing voice he had. I enjoy personally sing the bass parts, with all the other parts above.
But the real specialness of it is when it all comes together, all the various parts and blending. That’s the secret sauce there, the blend, as well as the harmonies.
I remember the first time we ever heard our record on the radio in 1961. Our song, “Surfin'” was played on a radio station which played like four or five brand-new singles by various groups.
And the one that got the most call-in requests would become the record of the week the following week. And we had cousins and uncles and aunts and everybody phoning in. And we easily won the record of the week.
The problem was started with my uncle Murry not being very ethical. And he actually took and sold our publishing for a minuscule amount compared to what it really is worth. That was a tough thing to deal with. I know it was tough on Brian, Dennis, and Carl. It was tough on me, too.
He also didn’t credit me with writing so many of the songs that I created all the words for. I, unfortunately, because of that, had to go into a lawsuit situation to establish my authorship.
These are unfortunate things that happened. But if you focus on that stuff, it loses sight on the incredible positivity that our music has meant, transcended boundaries and borders and ethnic groups.
To be able to just go out on stage and sing these songs, and seeing that they’re so appreciated and people still love them, that is somewhat of a precious miracle.
My name is Mike Love, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on my life as a Beach Boy.
Amna Nawaz: And you can watch additional Brief But Spectacular episodes on our Web site. That’s PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.