The Beach Boys-Help Me, Rhonda
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The Beach Boys - Help Me, Rhonda

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The Beach Boys Help Me, Rhonda


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"Help Me, Rhonda" is a song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for their American rock band The Beach Boys. The song is the first Beach Boys song (with the exception of their Christmas Album) to feature a lead vocal by Al Jardine. It was released in March 1965 on the album 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, their second U.S. number one single after "I Get Around". The song is on most Beach Boys hits compilations; typically the single version is used.The original version 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 an album cut but radio stations began to play it and Brian decided to rework and re-record it. The single was recorded at Universal and Radio Recorders studios in Hollywood on February 24, 1965, again with 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.The recording session was interrupted by the Wilson brothers' father, Murry, who 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. The recording reel continued to record the confrontation, which circulates among fans.The first version appears on the 1965 album Today! as "Help Me, Ronda", released March 8, 1965. This 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, however the back of the album cover lists the name as "Help Me, Rhonda".The single version, which has a 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 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.The new single was included on the album Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!), released June 28, 1965. The instrumental backing of this version was released in 1968 on the band's 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 song was also released by Brian Wilson on his 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".
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