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This song is about a guy who is devastated when the girl he was hoping to marry takes up with another guy. He's now pleading to Rhonda to relieve his pain because she looks good to him. Despite the desperation in the lyrics, it's a very light and uptempo song.
Is there a real Rhonda? Mike Love tells us
there isn't, adding, "There are a lot of people, a lot of girls named Rhonda out there who have gotten remarks related to that song all their lives."
This was the first Beach Boys single where their guitarist Al Jardine sang lead. The song was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Wilson explained to Goldmine in 2011: "We did two versions of 'Help Me Rhonda.' We did one with the ukulele and we did one with guitars. We chose to use the guitar version. I heard myself singing lead on it originally and then I turned it over to Al. I produced the Beach Boys so I decided who would sing lead. I just had a sixth sense about who should sing what songs. Some of the songs I wrote specifically for Mike, Al and Carl to sing."
For the entire song, the words "get her out of my heart" appears 5 times, the words "help me, Rhonda, help, help me, Rhonda" appear 18 times, the song's title appears 41 times, the words "help me" appear 43 times, the name Rhonda appears 45 times, and the word "help" appears 61 times. (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA)
Daryl Dragon, The Captain from The Captain & Tennille, played organ on this. As was the case with many of Brian Wilson's productions, he also used some of the top Los Angeles session players on the track, including Glen Campbell on guitar, Hal Blaine on drums, and Carol Kaye
on bass. Kaye, who had a great relationship with Wilson, says that he pushed it a bit on this session. "That's a tune I got pissed off at Brian about," said Kaye. In those days I had my strings yay high and really played hard. I worked hard. He did take after take, and then the last take he did of that, he had us doing it for about 8 minutes while he held the phone up to the speakers. I guess he wanted the rest of the Beach Boys to hear the track. And there we were, my fingers were almost bleeding."
Johnny Rivers covered this in 1975 and took it to #22 in the US. Brian Wilson sang backup on his version.
Mike Love discussed with Uncut magazine March 2008 his songwriting collaboration with Brian Wilson on The Beach Boys early hits: "The song writing process itself was very spontaneous. It was either an idea that I had, or one that Brian had. On 'Help Me, Rhonda' he had a great track going, and I went and wrote the lyrics, tailoring the lyrics to the melody. We'd go into the studio with a couple of musicians, and with Carl and Dennis, and we'd bang out a track, Brian on piano or bass. My forte was literature and poetry. I was very enamored of all that, so it meant that he could focus 100% on the music."
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Songs Discussed in Movies
, Reservoir Dogs
, Willy Wonka
. Just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.