|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2008)|
"Little Honda", written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love of The Beach Boys, was inspired by the popularity of Honda motor bikes in Southern California during the early 1960s. The band recorded the song for its 1964 album All Summer Long. Subsequently, producer Gary Usher gave former Castells vocalist Chuck Girard a copy of "All Summer Long" and instructed him to learn "Little Honda". Usher then recruited a group of studio musicians – including Glen Campbell and Hal Blaine – to record an album of Honda-related songs for Mercury Records, with production credited to Nick Venet, though Usher was the brains behind the record. Aside from "Little Honda", most of the songs were written by Usher and KFWB disc jockey and lyricist Roger Christian. The album's cover showed a four-member group and its liner notes contained an elaborate back story, penned by Christian, which posited one Ritchie Burns as the founder and leader of the band. At the time the album was delivered, the name of the group had not been decided. Under consideration were the names "The Rising Sons" and "The Hondells". Venet chose the latter and released "Little Honda" as a single under the new group name. As the song climbed the charts, Usher assembled a band to tour in support, and "Little Honda" eventually peaked at No. 9 on the U.S. pop singles chart. As soon as they saw The Hondells' version on the charts, The Beach Boys released their version and scored a minor hit as well.
The Hondells released another album and scored another modest hit single in 1966 with the Lovin' Spoonful song "Younger Girl" (Mercury 72562), before disbanding.
Gary Usher continued to mine this genre of music with numerous 'bands' made up of session musicians doing one-off recordings. They were from the conglomerate of session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew, which had a rotating lineup of the same basic people. For instance, if Hal Blaine wasn't the drummer, then it was Earl Palmer. These fictional bands issued recordings as The Sunsets, The Four Speeds, Gary Usher and The Usherettes (aka: The Honeys), The Competitors, The Go-Go's, The Devons, The Ghouls, The Super Stocks, The Indigos, The Revells, The Rip Chords, The Kickstands and The Knights. Most of these have been re-issued on CD and are meticulously cataloged on Beach Boys fan sites.
Girard became a popular and pioneering CCM artist.
- Go Little Honda (1964) US: No. 119 Mercury Records SR 60940 (Stereo) / MG 20940 (Monaural)
- The Hondells (1964) US: Mercury Records SR 60982 (Stereo) / MG 209820 (Monaural) - Black Denim, Night Rider, The Rebel, My Little Bike, My Buddy Seat, You're gonna Ride with me, Lay it Down, Cycle Chase, He wasn't Coming Back, The Sidewinder, Honda Holiday
- Greatest Hits (1996) Curb Records D2-77819
- "Little Honda" (1964) U.S.: No. 9
- "My Buddy Seat" (1965) U.S.: No. 87
- "Younger Girl" (1966) U.S.: No. 52