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 and roll|
|Lyricist(s)||Brian Wilson, Mike Love|
|Today! track listing|
|Endless Summer track listing|
"Help Me, Ronda"
|"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|
|Recorded||February 24, 1965|
|Songwriter(s)||Brian Wilson, Mike Love|
|The Beach Boys singles chronology|
"Help Me, Rhonda" (originally published as "Help Me, Ronda") is a song written and composed by Brian Wilson with additional lyrics by Mike Love for American rock band the Beach Boys. The song was first released as "Help Me, Ronda" in March 1965 on the album The Beach Boys Today!. A second recording, with a significantly different arrangement, was issued as a single under the revised title "Help Me, Rhonda". The single peaked at No. 1 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 album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) in June 1965.
The lyrics of "Help Me, Rhonda" tell a story of a man who was attracted to a woman who then found another man, and so to aid the healing process, he begs a woman named Rhonda to help him. According to songwriter Brian Wilson, "Rhonda" was not based on a real person.
Wilson later said of the song, "I would've made a better rhythm — it wasn't in the pocket."
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: 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 ukulele intro.
The first recording session was interrupted by the Wilson brothers' drunken father, Murry, who criticized the band's 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.[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. 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 (keyboards). The single version once again features Al Jardine on lead vocals with backing vocals by Carl, Dennis and Brian Wilson, and Mike Love. It features a slightly faster tempo, and features a changed lyric ("ruined our plans" from the previous version is changed to "shattered our plans").
The first version appears on the 1965 album The Beach Boys Today! as "Help Me, Ronda". This version is included on the Endless Summer compilation album, although it is listed under the revised title "Help Me, Rhonda". 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.
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.
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 April 27, 1971 at the Fillmore East in New York City. The Beach Boys sang the vocals while Jerry Garcia added his own touch to a one-time collaboration. The venue closed a few months later.
During the early 1970s, 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 once 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 band's 50th Anniversary tour, Jardine once again took the lead on his "signature song".
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- 1970 – Roy Orbison, The Big O
- 1975 – Johnny Rivers, New Lovers And Old Friends (with an assist from Brian Wilson on back-up vocals); reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- 1982 – Jan & Dean and the Bel-Air Bandits, One Summer Night/Live
- 1993 – ApologetiX, Isn't Wasn't Ain't (as "Help Me, Rhoda")
- 1998 – Kenny Young and the Eggplants, Toxic Swamp And Other Love Songs
- 2000 – Brian Wilson, Live at the Roxy Theatre
- 2001 – Ricky Martin, An All-Star Tribute to Brian Wilson
- 2001 – Kevin Max, Making God Smile: An Artists' Tribute to the Songs of Beach Boy Brian Wilson
- 2009 – The Rämouns, Rockaway Beach Boys
- 2010 – Al Jardine with Steve Miller, A Postcard from California
- Slowinski, Craig (2007). "The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Today!" (PDF). Retrieved October 27, 2012.
- Will, George F. (June 20, 2012). "The Beach Boys still get around". Washington Post. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- "Brian Answer's Fans' Questions In Live Q&A". Brianwilson.com. January 29, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew. St. Martin’s Griffin. pp. 261–263. ISBN 978-1-250-03046-7.
- "I'm A Genius, Too! The Murry Wilson Tapes". WFMU. October 10, 2005.
- "Jan and Dean's Discography Original Albums 2". Jananddean.com. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
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