Mike Love

From Academic Kids

Mike Love (born March 15, 1941) was one of the lead singers and lyrical composers of The Beach Boys, along with Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, and a school friend Al Jardine. Mike Love is a first cousin to the Wilson brothers.

Mike Love continues to perform the Beach Boys' hits, touring with longtime band member Bruce Johnston in this, his 43rd year with the band.

He wrote many of the Beach Boys hit lyrics and was the lead vocalist for many of the Beach Boys hits, including the hit version of their famous 1966 single Good Vibrations, although the song also has an earlier set of lyrics written by Wilson's main Pet Sounds collaborator, Tony Asher (which Wilson restored on the 2004 SMiLE version. Love mostly wrote lyrics for songs with the themes of surfing and love; the band's early car song lyrics were generally by Gary Usher or Roger Christian, although a lawsuit established Mike's composing credits on many of the hits).

In the late Sixties, as founder Brian Wilson was sidelined by mental illness and drug problems, Love played an increasingly contentious role in the Beach Boys career, and rightly or wrongly, he has often been identified as one of the 'villains' in the band's story. Probably motivated in part by anxiety over his replacement as Wilson's writing partner (as Wilson increasingly relied on Pet Sound lyricist Asher and, later, SMiLE collaborator Van Dyke Parks), Love became increasingly hostile towards Wilson and his new material between late 1965 and early 1967, a period that critics and fans now widely acknowledged as the most creative phase of Wilson's career.

He reportedly led the group's opposition to the Pet Sounds material and particularly objected to the song Hang On To Your Ego, which, at his insistence, was partly re-written and re-titled; it was eventually released as I Know There's An Answer. However, at this stage Brian Wilson still held sufficient sway to overrule his opponents and the album was completed more or less as Brian had intended. Although Love clearly had a strong personal dislike for Parks' writing he has often said that he was concerned that the band risked losing popularity by abandoning their successful formula.

Another factor that is likely to have influenced Love's views is that, while Brian had withdrawn from touring in late 1964, Love and his bandmates had to perform Brian's increasingly complex music on stage. There is no doubt that Brian's rapid musical development placed the group in an increasingly difficult position, since they were being asked to perform material that, in the case of "Good Vibrations" Brian had recorded over a period of many months using the best musicians available. While the Beach Boys were of course equal to the task as vocalists, Brian's intricate arrangements were becoming all but impossible for them to perform as a five-piece band.

Love's trenchant opposition to Wilson's new direction came to a head over the songs they were recording for their follow-up to Pet Sounds, the legendary SMiLE album, which was begun in mid-1966 but was eventually shelved in mid-1967. Anyone who has ever listened to "Smiley Smile", the album that was released after "Pet Sounds", would have to concur that Love's pleas to Brian to "not f__k with the formula" made plenty of sense.

Love is reported to have vehemently objected to Parks' oblique lyrics, reserving particular scorn for the song Cabinessence. During a heated argument at a recording session, Love demanded that Parks explain the song's meaning; Parks demurred and walked out; some few weeks later he officially terminated his partnership with Wilson, effectively scuttling the album only weeks before its scheduled release.

Many critics feel that Love's dogged opposition to Smile was the major reason that Brian finally abandoned it, and that his opposition was motivated by in part by professional jealousy, as well as the fear that Wilson's departure from the Beach Boys' proven formula would cause them to lose ground. In a 2004 intervierw with Mojo magazine, Love argued that he was not opposed to Smile, as claimed, and that he liked and repsected Parks' work, but this claim was strongly denied by Parks himself, who wrote to the magazine to protest at what he described as Love's "revisionism" and stated unequivocally that it was Love's hostility to Smile was indeed the chief reason why the project was shelved.

Partly in response to the band's concerns, articulated by Mike, Brian began writing songs that were easier to perform live, which turned up on the late 1967 album Wild Honey, which would be the last Beach Boys album with Brian dominating the songwriting as well as producing until the mid-1970s.

In the late sixties, with Brian no longer touring, Carl Wilson took over leadership of the band (with contracts reading that venues hired 'Carl Wilson plus four other musicians'), but by the early 80s, Love grew to increasingly dominate the band, who fell in line with his desire to play the early 60s hits and record new material dealing with similar lyrical subjects.

Despite his conservatism in other areas, Love was one of the first pop musicians to become involved in the practice of Transcendental Meditation, through his meeting with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and as a result he accompanied The Beatles and Donovan on their famous trip to the self-styled guru's ashram at Rishikesh in India in early 1968. Love has been a lifelong advocate of the benefits of TM and contributed a song on the subject to the Beach Boys' 1968 album Friends.

While Love has generally (and wrongly) been perceived as a negative force in the Beach Boys creatively, there is no doubt that he has on occasion exhibited sound commercial instincts, as for example on his co-writing the 1988 US number one hit Kokomo, the only number one the band had that wasn't co-written by Wilson.

In the late 1990s Brian Wilson went to court to regain his rights to the publishing company, Sea Of Tunes, which owned the right to most of his songs. The suit stemmed from Wilson's forced decision to sell his publishing rights to his father Murry Wilson in 1969, but when the suit came to court it was found that the contract Wilson had signed was not valid because of the mental problems he was suffering from at the time (it was even suggested that Murry had signed his son's name on the document).

Following Wilson's win, Love launched a lawsuit, claiming that he had made significant writing contributions to many Beach Boys songs, including two titles on Pet Sounds, and California Girls. Love won the case, due in no small part to Brian's statements that Mike's assertions were correct, and, as a result, his name was retrospectively added to the writing credits on all subsequent releases of those songs.

After the death of Carl Wilson in 1998 Mike Love took over the name, touring with longtime member Bruce Johnston, but not with Al Jardine, and with various musicians formerly of tribute bands.fr:Mike Love

Mike Love Fan Club (http://www.mikelovefanclub.com/bio.html)


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