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"Help Me, Ronda"
Song by The Beach Boys

from the album The Beach Boys Today!

Released March 8, 1965
Recorded track: January 8, 1965
vocals: January 19, 1965
Genre Pop
Length 3:04
Label Capitol
Writer Brian Wilson/Mike Love
Producer Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys Today! track listing
"When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)"
(4)
"Help Me, Ronda"
(5)
"Dance, Dance, Dance"
(6)
"Help Me, Rhonda"
Single by The Beach Boys
from the album Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!)
Released April 5, 1965
Format Vinyl
Recorded February 24, 1965
Genre Pop
Length 2:46
Label Capitol
Producer Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"Do You Wanna Dance?"/"Please Let Me Wonder"
(1965)
"Help Me, Rhonda"/"Kiss Me, Baby"
(1965)
"California Girls"/"Let Him Run Wild"
(1965)

"Help Me, Rhonda" is a song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for their American pop band The Beach Boys. The song is notable for being the first Beach Boys song (with the exception of their Christmas Album) to feature a lead vocal by Al Jardine. It was first released in March 1965 on the album The Beach Boys Today! as "Help Me, Ronda". By that time, it had already been re-recorded; this version was released as a single through Capitol Records in April 1965, re-titled with the more well-known "Rhonda" spelling.

The single peaked at number one in the United States, becoming their second U.S. number one single after "I Get Around". The song is featured on most Beach Boys hits compilations; typically the single version is used.

Contents

Recording

The original version of the song was recorded over two dates at Western Recording Studios 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, 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 song was originally considered to be an album cut only, but radio stations began to play the track and Brian decided to rework and re-record it. The single version of the song was recorded at Universal and Radio Recorders studios in Hollywood on February 24, 1965, again with Chuck Britz as the engineer and Brian Wilson 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 Wilson (guitar) and Brian Wilson (acoustic piano and Hammond B-3). The single version features Al Jardine on lead vocals with backing vocals by Carl, Dennis and Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Bruce Johnston.

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Interruption by Murry Wilson

The recording session of this song was infamously interrupted by the Wilson brothers' father, Murry, who openly criticized the Boys' enthusiasm. His criticisms drove Brian Wilson to breaking point and Brian screamed an expletive, removed his headphones and confronted his father. Shortly after defending his actions, Murry Wilson left the studio and The Beach Boys continued with the session. The recording reel continued to roll and recorded the entire confrontation which circulates among fans.[1]

Versions and releases

The first version of the song appears on the 1965 album The Beach Boys Today! as "Help Me, Ronda", released March 8, 1965. This version runs over three minutes with no guitar solo, and has a number of false endings with the volume fading in and out; it is included on the Endless Summer compilation album.

The single version, which has a noticeably different arrangement, and one word changed in the lyrics, was released on April 5, 1965. In addition to topping the charts in the US, the single also 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 number twenty-seven in the United Kingdom.

The new single version was subsequently included on the album Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!), released June 28, 1965. The instrumental backing track of this version was released in 1968 on the band's Stack-O-Tracks album.

A slight variation, called "Help Me, Rhonda (Alternate Single Version)", is included on the 1998 Endless Harmony Soundtrack album. This version adds a wordless falsetto from Brian Wilson over the chorus.

Live versions

After becoming The Beach Boys second number one hit in the United States, it immediately became a regular in the band's live set. It has been released on two Beach Boys official live albums: 1973's The Beach Boys In Concert and Good Timin': Live at Knebworth England 1980. The song was also released by Brian Wilson on his own 2000 live album Live at the Roxy Theatre.

The song was performed by Ricky Martin at 2001's "An All-Star Tribute to Brian Wilson".

Cover versions

Johnny Rivers' cover in 1975 on his New Lovers And Old Friends album (with an assist from Brian Wilson on back-up vocals) reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100.

A slow, reflective cover of the song appears on the 1998 album Toxic Swamp And Other Love Songs by Kenny Young And The Eggplants.

In pop culture

  • On the 80s sitcom Alf and the spinoff cartoon series. Alf's girlfriend from his home planet Melmac was named Rhonda as a reference to this song.
  • In the 1997 remake of That Darn Cat, the song is used to help Patti Randall figure out the riddle of the "Hell" watch realizing the message really means, "Help".
  • In an episode of Seinfeld, "The Soul Mate", Jerry says, "Oh, help me Rhonda", in response to George's comment that his boss believes George killed Susan.
  • One episode of season one of the CW series 90210 is titled "Help Me Rhonda". The episode is centered over a guest appearance of a character with that name.
  • In a Honda commercial from the early 1990s, the tune is heard to the lyrics, "Help me Honda".
  • In the Full House episode, "Road To Tokyo", Jesse tries to sing the song in Japanese, but then his interpreter drops the cue cards and Jesse starts naming Japanese related stuff (Honda, Godzilla, etc.) instead.

See also

References

External links

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

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