Mike Love

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Mike Love
Mike Love 2018.jpg
Love performing in concert, 2018.
Background information
Birth nameMichael Edward Love
Born (1941-03-15) March 15, 1941 (age 78)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Origin Hawthorne, California, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active1961–present
Associated acts

Michael Edward "Mike" Love (born March 15, 1941) is an American singer and songwriter who co-founded the Beach Boys. Characterized by his nasal and sometimes baritone singing, Love has been one of the band's vocalists and lyricists for their entire career, contributed to each of their studio albums, and served as their frontman for live performances. He is the cousin of bandmates Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, and is often regarded as a maligned figure in the group's history, a reputation he acknowledges: "For those who believe that Brian walks on water, I will always be the Antichrist." [1]

The Beach Boys Rock band from Hawthorne, California

The Beach Boys are an American rock band formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961. The group's original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and their friend Al Jardine. Distinguished by their vocal harmonies and early surf songs, they are one of the most influential acts of the rock era. The band drew on the music of jazz-based vocal groups, 1950s rock and roll, and black R&B to create their unique sound, and with Brian as composer, arranger, producer, and de facto leader, they often incorporated classical elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways.

A baritone is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the bass and the tenor voice types. Originally from the Greek βαρύτονος (barýtonos), meaning heavy sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C (i.e. F2–F4) in choral music, and from the second G below middle C to the G above middle C (G2 to G4) in operatic music, but can be extended at either end. The baritone voice type is generally divided into the baryton-Martin baritone (light baritone), lyric baritone, Kavalierbariton, Verdi baritone, dramatic baritone, baryton-noble baritone, and the bass-baritone.

Brian Wilson American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer

Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer who co-founded the Beach Boys. After signing with Capitol Records in 1962, Wilson wrote or co-wrote more than two dozen Top 40 hits for the group. In addition to his unorthodox approaches to pop composition and mastery of recording techniques, Wilson is known for his lifelong struggles with mental illness. He is often referred to as a genius and is widely acknowledged as one of the most innovative and significant songwriters of the late 20th century.


Love was one of Wilson's collaborators during the Beach Boys' peak in the 1960s. Among the band's US Top 10 hits were the Wilson–Love songs "Fun, Fun, Fun" (1964), "California Girls" (1965), and "Good Vibrations" (1966). Love's lyrics primarily reflected the youth culture of surfing, cars, and romance, which helped fashion pop culture's perception of the "California Dream". [2] Starting in 1968, Love was a student of Transcendental Meditation (TM) under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and became a TM teacher in 1971. The experience influenced his lyrics to take on themes of astrology, meditation, politics, and ecology. In the late 1970s, Love began working on solo albums and released his first in 1981: Looking Back with Love . In 1988, Love was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with the other founding members of the Beach Boys. Also that year, the song "Kokomo", co-written by Love, reached number one in the US and was nominated for a Grammy.

Fun, Fun, Fun Single by the Beach Boys

"Fun, Fun, Fun" is a song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for American rock band the Beach Boys. It was released in 1964 as a single backed with "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", both later appearing on the band's album Shut Down Volume 2.

California Girls song by the Beach Boys

"California Girls" is a song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for the American rock band the Beach Boys, featured on their 1965 album Summer Days . Wilson conceived the song during his first acid trip, later arranging and producing the song's recording, and incorporating an orchestral prelude plus contrasting verse-chorus form. Upon its release as a single, "California Girls" reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was backed with "Let Him Run Wild", another track from Summer Days.

Good Vibrations The Beach Boys song

"Good Vibrations" is a song composed by Brian Wilson with lyrics by Mike Love for the American rock band the Beach Boys, of which both were members. Released on October 10, 1966, the single was an immediate critical and commercial hit, topping record charts in several countries including the US and UK. Characterized by its complex soundscapes, episodic structure and subversions of pop music formula, it was the costliest single ever recorded at the time of its release. "Good Vibrations" later became widely acclaimed as one of the finest and most important works of the rock era.

Many of Love's contributions to the group's hits were not officially recognized until the 1990s, when he successfully sued for writing credits on 35 songs. He remains uncredited for another 44 Beach Boys songs he alleged to have co-written. In 1998, following Carl Wilson's death, Love was given an exclusive license to tour as "the Beach Boys" with Bruce Johnston while their surviving bandmates embarked on solo endeavors. The group has since reunited once, for the band's 50th anniversary.

The Beach Boys live performances

The Beach Boys are an American rock band formed in Hawthorne, California, in 1961. Since then, the band has undergone many variations in composition, with representation by fill-ins onstage. As of 2019, the only principal members included in the Beach Boys' touring band are co-founder Mike Love and 1965 addition Bruce Johnston.

Bruce Johnston American singer, musician

Bruce Arthur Johnston is an American singer, musician, songwriter, and record producer best known as a member of the Beach Boys. In 1965, Johnston joined the band for live performances, filling in for the group's co-founder Brian Wilson, who had quit touring in order to spend more time in the studio. Johnston then became a contributing member on subsequent albums.

The 50th Reunion Tour

The 50th Reunion Tour was a 2012 world concert tour by The Beach Boys, an American rock band. The tour marked the first time since 1965 that founding member Brian Wilson had performed on a full tour with the band, although from 1965 to 1996 he did join them in select shows and appearances. The tour also marked the first time that The Beach Boys had played at the Hollywood Bowl since 1967, having sold it out both times. Brian Wilson stated that this Beach Boys tour, and the album associated with it, That's Why God Made the Radio, which was released in June 2012, is dedicated to the memory of his two brothers: Carl who died of cancer in 1998, and Dennis, who drowned in 1983.

Early life

Love's mother Emily (known as "Glee") Wilson was the sister of Mary and Murry Wilson; their family resided in Los Angeles since the early 1920s. Glee married Edward Milton Love, the son of the founder of the Love Sheet Metal Company, in 1938. Michael Edward, the first of six children, was born in the Baldwin Hills district of Los Angeles, in 1941; thereafter the family moved to the upmarket View Park area. Mike attended Dorsey High School and graduated in 1959. Unsure of a career direction, he pumped gas and briefly joined his father's company, whose fortunes dramatically declined in the late 1950s.

Murry Wilson American musician

Murry Gage Wilson was an American musician, record producer, and businessman who acted as the first manager of the Beach Boys, a rock band formed by his sons Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, his nephew Mike Love, and their friend Al Jardine. For most of the 1960s, Murry also worked as a music publisher for the band.

Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles Neighborhood of Los Angeles in California, United States

Baldwin Hills is a neighborhood within the South Los Angeles region of Los Angeles California. It is home to Kenneth Hahn State Regional Park and to Village Green, a National Historic Landmark.

Susan Miller Dorsey High School

Susan Miller Dorsey High School is a high school located in Los Angeles, California. It is a part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. The school serves Baldwin Hills, Baldwin Village, Jefferson Park, Leimert Park, and portions of Crenshaw and West Adams.

Both Milt and Glee Love were active in sports, and Glee had a distinct interest in painting and the arts. Like her brother Murry, however, she was also strong-willed and, according to her husband, a dominant personality.

The family was close-knit and regularly socialized with Murry and Audree Wilson and their sons. Murry Wilson was a part-time songwriter. [3]

Mike often sang at family get-togethers at the home of his cousins, the Wilsons, in nearby Hawthorne, especially at Christmas. It was here, under the vocal harmony guidance of Brian Wilson, that the Beach Boys sound was established, predominantly influenced by Brian's devotion to the Four Freshmen's arrangements. Musical accompaniment during this formative phase was solely Brian's self-taught piano, but this was quickly expanded by the guitar contributions of Brian's college friend Al Jardine (whose fundamental interest was folk music) and brother Carl Wilson (whose idol was Chuck Berry). [4] With the failure of Love Sheet Metal, the family was forced to move to a modest two-bedroom house in Inglewood, closer to the Wilsons. [5]

Hawthorne, California City in California, United States

Hawthorne is a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of 2010 it had a population of 84,293, up from 84,112 in 2000. In 2016 the population was 88,032.

Al Jardine American musician

Alan Charles Jardine is an American musician, singer, and songwriter who co-founded the Beach Boys. He is best known as the band's rhythm guitarist and for occasionally singing lead vocals on songs such as "Help Me, Rhonda" (1965), "Then I Kissed Her" (1965), and "Come Go with Me" (1978). His song "Lady Lynda" became a UK top 10 hit for the group in 1978.

Folk music Music of the people

Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century, but folk music extends beyond that.



Love (left) performing with the Beach Boys, 1964 The Beach Boys TV (Mike and Brian).jpg
Love (left) performing with the Beach Boys, 1964

Love played rudimentary saxophone in the first years of the fledgling garage band that evolved from the Pendletones to the Beach Boys. [6] He also established himself, along with his neighbor Gary Usher, [7] local DJ Roger Christian, and others, as a collaborator with Brian Wilson in the band's original compositions. [8] Carl Wilson commented, "It's not widely known, but Michael had a hand in a lot of the arrangements. He would bring out the funkier approaches, whether to go shoo-boo-bop or bom-bom-did-di-did-did. It makes a big difference, because it can change the whole rhythm, the whole color and tone of it." [9] He also credited Love, an avid fan of doo-wop combos, with influencing Brian to listen to black R&B records. Writer Geoffrey Himes stated that without "Mike's R&B influence ... Brian couldn’t have possibly become 'Brian Wilson.'" [10] To write many of the Beach Boys songs, Love drew inspiration from the lyrics of Chuck Berry along with Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who wrote many of the Everly Brothers' songs including "Devoted to You" and "All I Have to Do is Dream". He explained, "They were both the fun, descriptive pictorial vignettes as well as the more sweet, romantic and devotional lyrics. ... Even before that and more fundamental than that, I was always into poetry." [11]

Love, 1966 Dennis Wilson.gif
Love, 1966

In early 1964, Brian Wilson began shifting the Beach Boys away from beach-themed music. [12] That November, Love told a Melody Maker reporter that he and his bandmates wanted to look beyond surf music, and avoid living in the past or resting on the band's laurels. [13] Love is also credited with naming their album Pet Sounds (1966). [14] However, he has also been reported as resisting the group's new direction. In a 1971 Rolling Stone article, business associate David Anderle quoted Love as having said, "don't fuck with the formula". Over the ensuing years, the quote was repeated in myriad books, articles, websites, and blogs. [15] Music journalist Erik Hedegaard observed Love had gathered a reputation as "one of the biggest assholes in the history of rock & roll" due to such accusations. [16]

Anderle later said that his statement about "the formula" had been misinterpreted, explaining that the quote was in reference to affairs related to the band's management, not their artistic direction. [15] Love dismissed most of the reported claims as hyperbole: "I never said anything bad about any of the tracks. I admit to wanting to make a commercially successful pop record, so I might have complained about some of the lyrics on Smile ". [16] Brian said that the collapse of Smile was not due to Love's opposition to the lyrics. [17] Session musician Van Dyke Parks, whom Brian hired as the album's lyricist, blamed Love with putting "a stop" on the album. [18]

Love returned to co-writing with Brian for the Beach Boys' 1967 album Wild Honey , the group's first foray into R&B. [19] Also that year, Love became one of the many rock musicians who discovered the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi following the Beatles' public endorsement of his Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique in August 1967. In December, Love and his bandmates attended a lecture by the Maharishi at a UNICEF Variety Gala in Paris, [20] and were moved by the simplicity and effectiveness of his meditation process as a means to obtain inner peace. [21] In January 1968, the Beach Boys attended the Maharishi's public appearances in New York [22] and Cambridge, Massachusetts, after which he invited Love to join the Beatles at his training seminar in Rishikesh, in northern India. [23] Love stayed there from February 28 to March 15. [22] He later recalled helping Paul McCartney with the lyrics of "Back in the U.S.S.R.", recorded for the Beatles' White Album (1968). [24]

Also while in Rishikesh, Love planned a US concert tour that would feature the Beach Boys and the Maharishi as co-headliners. [25] [26] The tour, begun in May 1968, ended abruptly after five shows due to the disappointing audience numbers and the Maharishi's subsequent withdrawal to fulfill film contracts. [27] In his 2016 autobiography, Love wrote: "I take responsibility for an idea that didn't work. But I don't regret it. I thought I could do some good for people who were lost, confused, or troubled, particularly those who were young and idealistic but also vulnerable, and I thought that was true for a whole bunch of us." [28] Despite the ignominy of the tour, the Beach Boys remained ardent supporters of the Maharishi's and TM. [29] Love became a TM initiator in 1972 and later progressed to more advanced levels such as the TM-Sidhi Course. [30]


Love (front-right) performing with the Beach Boys in 1971 Beach Boys Good Vibrations from Central Park 1971.jpg
Love (front-right) performing with the Beach Boys in 1971

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Love wrote the words and music of several Beach Boys songs, including "Big Sur" (1973), "Everyone's in Love With You" (1976), and "Sumahama" (1978).[ citation needed ] In 1978, he co-founded the band Celebration, which achieved the US top 30 hit single "Almost Summer" (co-written with Brian Wilson and Jardine). [31] In 1981, he released his first solo album, Looking Back with Love (1981), with production by Curt Boettcher.

In 1988, the Beach Boys had a US number 1 hit with "Kokomo", the only number 1 the band achieved without Brian's involvement. [32] Love (along with "Kokomo" co-writers Scott McKenzie, Terry Melcher, and John Phillips) was nominated for a Golden Globe Award (1988) in the Original Song category, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for "Kokomo".[ citation needed ] Also in 1988, Love was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the other founding members of the Beach Boys. At the induction ceremony Love delivered a hostile speech, criticizing, among others, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney. [33] When asked in 2016 if he regretted anything about the night, Love said "Yeah, I regret that I didn't meditate [earlier that day]." [16]

In 1992, Love, along with Al Jardine and several of Wilson's family members, sued Brian for defamation regarding claims made in Brian's 1991 memoir Wouldn't It Be Nice: My Own Story . The case was settled out of court by publisher HarperCollins, which awarded Love $1.5 million. It was the first of numerous lawsuits that Love would file against Brian. [16] Two years later, Love won a legal proceeding to establish what he considered to be proper authorship credit for many of the Beach Boys songs he co-wrote; he successfully argued that Murry Wilson avoided crediting him with his early lyrical contributions to Brian's songs, denying Love accrued royalties. [16] Love later called it "almost certainly the largest case of fraud in music history". [34]


After Carl Wilson's death in 1998, Love continued to tour with the Beach Boys, along with Bruce Johnston and a supporting band of new musicians, occasionally including actor John Stamos. Love leased exclusive rights to tour under the Beach Boys name, as negotiated in a boardroom settlement with Brother Records, the Beach Boys' company. However, former band mate Al Jardine had been touring under the banners "Beach Boys Family & Friends," "Al Jardine, Beach Boy", and "Al Jardine of the Beach Boys" during this time, and Love decided to sue him in order to prevent his use of the name. The courts ruled in Love's favor, denying Jardine the use of the Beach Boys name in any fashion. Jardine appealed this decision in addition to seeking $4 million in damages. The California Court of Appeal ruled that "Love acted wrongfully in freezing Jardine out of touring under the Beach Boys name" and allowed Jardine to continue with his lawsuit. [35] The case ended up being settled out of court with undisclosed terms. [36]

In 2000, ABC-TV premiered a two-part television miniseries, The Beach Boys: An American Family , that dramatized the Beach Boys' story. It was produced by John Stamos and Love was an advisor to the film, which was criticized for historical inaccuracies. Some critics accused Love of having the film overstate his role in the group and portray negative depictions of Brian and Smile collaborator Van Dyke Parks. [18]

On November 3, 2005, Love sued Brian and The Mail On Sunday newspaper because the Beach Boys' name and Love's image were used in a promotional CD that was given free with the paper to promote the 2004 Brian Wilson presents Smile release. Love argued that the unauthorized (by Brother Records Inc.) free CD resulted in loss of income for the band. The lawsuit was dismissed on May 16, 2007 on the grounds that it was without merit. [37] [ clarification needed ]

In 2011, Love reunited with Brian, Jardine, Johnston, and David Marks for a new Beach Boys album and 50th anniversary tour beginning in 2012. [38] In September 2012, Love and Johnston announced via a press release that following the end of the reunion tour the Beach Boys would revert to the Love/Johnston lineup, without Wilson, Jardine, or Marks, all of whom expressed surprise. Although such dates were noted in a late June issue of Rolling Stone, it was widely reported that the three had been "fired". [39]

Love's autobiography, Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy , was published on September 13, 2016. He wrote the book as a response to "many inaccuracies" that had been said about him over the decades. [40] It was published one month before the release of Wilson's autobiography, I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir . When asked about the latter book's negative comments about Love, Love responded: "He's not in charge of his life, like I am mine. His every move is orchestrated and a lot of things he's purported to say, there's not tape of it." [41] As of November 2016, he has not read Wilson's book. [41]

On November 17, 2017, Love released his second solo album Unleash the Love . On October 26, 2018, he released his third solo album, Reason for the Season , featuring traditional and original Christmas music. Love announced his fourth album 12 Sides Of Summer will be released on July 19, 2019.

Personal life

Marriages and family

Love has been married to Jacquelyne Piesen since 1994 and has eight children: two with Piesen and six from his four previous marriages. [42]

Love is a vegetarian who practices and teaches Transcendental Meditation, wears Indian Ayurveda rings, and partakes in traditional Hindu ceremonies. [43] [44] He currently resides in Incline Village at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. [16]

In addition to being a cousin of the Wilson brothers', Love is the brother of former NBA basketball player Stan Love and of Pink Martini harpist Maureen Love, and is the uncle of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player Kevin Love.

Political views

The Beach Boys with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan at the White House, June 12, 1983 Reagans with the Beach Boys.jpg
The Beach Boys with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan at the White House, June 12, 1983

Love describes himself as a progressive,[ citation needed ] although his photographed handshake with Ronald Reagan in the 1980s led many to label him as a political conservative. [45] Love has expressed support for Donald Trump's presidency and was present at the signing of the Music Modernization Act in October 2018. [46] The Beach Boys were asked to perform in the festivities for the Inauguration of Donald Trump, [47] and Love responded positively, saying Trump had "been a friend for a long time. Does that mean I agree with everything he says? No. But... if we were asked [to play his inauguration], I’m sure that we would.” [48] During the evening of Trump's inauguration day, the Beach Boys performed at the Texas State Society's "Black Tie & Boots" Inaugural Ball. [49]


Love has been a longtime supporter of environmental causes and was among speakers at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Earth Day 2000 on the Mall in Washington, DC. Love was instrumental in forming StarServe ("Students Taking Action and Responsibility to Serve") which enlisted high-profile celebrities to inspire America's youth to help serve their communities. [50] He also created the Love Foundation, which supports national environmental and educational initiatives.[ citation needed ] Love personally donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina and helped the foundation raise an additional $250,000. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Lake Tahoe School in Incline Village, Nevada,[ failed verification ] and was responsible for raising over $1 million to benefit the school. [50]

In 2010, Mike Love contributed to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's More Hope For The Holidays album with vocals on "Closing of the Year" as well as contributing his self-penned "Santa's Goin' To Kokomo". On the album he appears alongside Weezer, Brandi Carlile, and Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. [51] He performed a benefit concert for the foundation for the Children of the Californias which raised one million dollars to support the expansion of three new surgical suites. During the 50th Reunion Tour Love alongside the Beach Boys partnered with Operation Smile to raise funds for those in need of cleft lip and palate repair surgeries. In May 2013, Love was recognized for his decades of investment in education and national service by being awarded City Year's "Seven Generations Award". [50]

Awards and honors


Studio albums

With Celebration

Other albums


Related Research Articles

David Marks American songwriter and musician

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In May 1968, the American rock band the Beach Boys undertook a concert tour of the United States with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, their Indian meditation guru. The tour preceded the release of the Beach Boys' Friends album, which similarly reflected the influence of the Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique on the band, and was a commercial and artistic failure. The program comprised a set of songs by the Beach Boys, followed by a lecture from the Maharishi on the benefits of meditation. Twenty-nine concerts were originally scheduled, many of them in college venues, but the venture was abandoned after three days of low ticket sales and hostile audience reaction to the Maharishi's segment. The guru's commitment to making a documentary film about himself, for Four Star Television, was cited as a further impediment.



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