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Looking into the origins on this song on Forgotten Hits
, Artie Kornfeld recalls riding with Wilson on a 60 cc motorcycle that the Honda corporation gave him for writing this song. Wilson pushed it way too hard and wiped out, inspiring the bloody riders to compose the Jan & Dean hit "Dead Man's Curve
"Little Honda" charted for the first time on September 12, 1964, while "Dead Man's Curve" made its debut on March 7, 1964. Investigating this discrepancy, Kornfeld contacted Wilson's mentor P.F. Sloan, who recalls Wilson writing the song for a Honda commercial.
This was originally recorded and released by The Beach Boys in 1964 on the album Four By The Beach Boys. As The Beach Boys were enjoying a #1 hit ("I Get Around") and had another song scheduled for release (#9 "When I Grow Up (to Be a Man"), producer Gary Usher assembled a studio group consisting of Brian Wilson, Kurt Boetcher, Glen Campbell, Chuck Girard, Joe Kelly, and Ritchie Burns to record this and an accompanying LP.
Background singer Ritchie Burns worked in a bank. He asked 3 of his co-workers to pose for the cover photo of the Hondells' LP. The group didn't actually exist until the single charted - then Burns toured with a Hondells group that he put together at the behest of Usher. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for above 2)
In 1966, The Beach Boys performed this song on The Andy Williams Show, but took out all references to "Honda," changing the song to "Little Cycle" so as not to provide a free advertisement. Williams sang with the group on the performance.
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