Help Me, Rhonda

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"Help Me, Ronda"
Song by The Beach Boys from the album Today!
Released March 8, 1965
Recorded January 8 / 19, 1965
Genre Rock
Length 3:04
Label Capitol
Composer Brian Wilson
Lyricist Brian Wilson, Mike Love
Producer Brian Wilson
Today! track listing
Endless Summer track listing
"Help Me, Rhonda"
Single by The Beach Boys
from the album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
B-side "Kiss Me, Baby"
Released April 5, 1965
Format Vinyl
Recorded February 24, 1965
Genre Rock
Length 2:46
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Brian Wilson, Mike Love
Producer(s) Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"Do You Wanna Dance?"
"Help Me, Rhonda"
"California Girls"
Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) track listing
Audio sample
file info · help

"Help Me, Rhonda" is a song written and composed by Brian Wilson with additional lyrics by Mike Love for American rock band the Beach Boys.[1] Originally released as "Help Me, Ronda" in March 1965 on The Beach Boys Today!, an alternate take was used for its single release. The single version titled "Help Me, Rhonda" peaked at number one in the United States, making it the second Beach Boys single to reach that position after "I Get Around" in 1964. The single version was later released on the Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) album in June 1965. "Help Me, Rhonda" was the first Beach Boys single to feature a lead vocal by Al Jardine.


The lyrics of "Help Me, Rhonda" tell a narrative of how a male was attracted to a girl who then found another man, and so to aid the healing process, he begs Rhonda to help him. Before a concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion, writer and composer Brian Wilson revealed that Rhonda was not based on anyone in real life.[2]

Brian Wilson cited the song as one he wished he had done better on, saying, "I would've made a better rhythm - it wasn't in the pocket."[3]


The original version was recorded over two dates at United Western Recorders in Hollywood on January 8 and 19, 1965, with Chuck Britz as the engineer and production by Brian Wilson. The instrumental track has Carl Wilson, and members of The Wrecking Crew:[4] Bill Pitman, and Glen Campbell on guitar, Billy Strange on ukulele, Ray Pohlman on bass guitar, Leon Russell on piano, Hal Blaine on drums and timbales, Julius Wechter on claves, Billy Lee Riley on harmonica, Steve Douglas and Plas Johnson on tenor saxophone, and Jay Migliori on baritone saxophone. Al Jardine sang the lead vocal with backing vocals by Carl, Dennis and Brian Wilson, and Mike Love. The track runs over three minutes with no guitar solo, has a number of false, fade in/fade out endings, and, instead of the song starting with Jardine's vocal, there is a brief ukelele intro.[citation needed]

Its first recording session was interrupted by the Wilson brothers' drunken father, Murry, who criticized the Boys' enthusiasm. His criticisms drove Brian to the breaking point; Brian screamed expletives, removed his headphones, and confronted his father. Shortly after defending his actions, Murry left the studio and the Beach Boys continued. The recording reel continued to record the confrontation, which circulates among fans.[5][better source needed]


"Help Me, Ronda" was originally considered an album cut, but radio stations began to play it, which inspired Brian to rework its arrangement for a single release.[citation needed] Respelled "Help Me, Rhonda", the song's remake was recorded at Universal and Radio Recorders studios in Hollywood on February 24, 1965, again with Britz as the engineer and Brian as producer. Featured on the instrumental track were regular Wrecking Crew members such as Hal Blaine on drums and Carol Kaye on bass guitar. Beach Boys who contributed to the instrumental track were Carl (guitar) and Brian (acoustic piano and Hammond B-3). The single version once again features Al Jardine on lead vocals with backing vocals by Carl, Dennis and Brian Wilson, and Mike Love. It's taken at a slightly quicker tempo, starts off with Jardine's vocal and features a changed lyric ("ruined our plans" from the previous version is changed to "shattered our plans").[citation needed]


The first version appears on the 1965 album Today! as "Help Me, Ronda". It is included on the Endless Summer compilation album (though the back album cover lists the song as "Help Me, Rhonda").[citation needed] The single version was released on April 5, 1965. In addition to topping the charts in the US, the single reached #1 in Canada (on the RPM national chart), #5 in Sweden, #10 in Germany and Australia, #2 in Singapore, #3 in The Philippines, #5 in Hong Kong and #9 in Ireland. It peaked at 27 in the United Kingdom. It was then included on the album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!), released June 28, 1965.[citation needed]

Alternate versions[edit]

The instrumental backing of this version was released in 1990 as a bonus track on the CD reissue of the band's 1968 Stack-O-Tracks album. A slight variation, "Help Me, Rhonda (Alternate Single Version)", is on the 1998 Endless Harmony Soundtrack album. This adds a wordless falsetto from Brian Wilson over the chorus.

Live performances[edit]

After becoming The Beach Boys' second number one in the United States, it became a regular in the live set. It has been on two Beach Boys live albums: 1973's The Beach Boys in Concert and Good Timin': Live at Knebworth England 1980.

The Beach Boys performed the version with the Grateful Dead on 4/27/71 at the Fillmore East in New York City. The venue closed a few months later. The Beach Boys sang the vocals while Garcia added his own touch to a one-time collaboration.[citation needed]

During the early 70's The Beach Boys began to change the lead vocalist on the song as both Carl and Dennis Wilson performed the lead during this time. However this experiment was brief as Al Jardine one again permanently took over lead vocals in 1974 until he left the group in 1998 when briefly Phil Bardowell and then John Cowsill took over the lead. However for the bands 50th Anniversary tour Jardine once again took the lead on his "signature song".[citation needed]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ Craig Slowinski (2007). "The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Today!" (PDF). Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ Will, George F. (2012-06-20). "The Beach Boys still get around". Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  3. ^ "Brian Answer's Fans' Questions In Live Q&A". January 29, 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew. St. Martin’s Griffin. pp. 261–263. ISBN 978-1-250-03046-7. 
  5. ^ WFMU's Beware of the Blog: I'm A Genius, Too! The Murry Wilson Tapes
  6. ^ "Jan and Dean's Discography Original Albums 2". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Ticket to Ride" by The Beatles
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
May 29, 1965
(2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Back in My Arms Again" by The Supremes