Help Me, Rhonda

Album: Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) (1965)
Charted: 27 1


  • 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" appear five times; "help me, Rhonda, help, help me, Rhonda" appears 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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," she told Songfacts. "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 eight 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."
  • Wilson Phillips, the trio comprised of Brian Wilson's daughters Wendy and Carnie along with The Mamas & the Papas progeny Chynna Phillips, hit #1 with "Hold On" on June 9, 1990. Exactly 25 years earlier, "Help Me, Rhonda" was in its second week at #1.

Comments: 25

  • Judge from Santa Monica Its interesting to note that On July 6th 1975, "Help Me, Rhonda" by Johnny Rivers entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #86; 
    Jonny Rivers was a pop musician in the 60s that almost exclusively sang other bands hits. He charted often and had a great voice but he always sang covers. In The 1965 Help Me Rhonda sessions, Brian Wilson's father Murray in a famously drunken rant came into the studio and started berating the Beach Boys, three of them his sons, on how they were singing. He was fairly drunk. at one point Brian Wilson took his father over to the corner near a recorder and argued with him about how he was disrupting the session. Murray then tells Brian after telling him that the band is singing flat and off that "success never comes from singing phony" and Brian quips "why don't you go tell Johnny Rivers that." Johnny Rivers was quite successful just singing songs the way he wanted them to sing them a la Jose Feliciano who also made the songs his own. I don't think it was a slight at Rivers, who was respected in the industry, but it might have been a way for Brian to get his father off his back
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaWill always remind me of a Rhonda I went to school with who died young. Only bad thing about this song is parts of the first verse you can't understand the words.
  • Moanin' Lisa from Chillicothe Mo.Gasp! What memories from '65. When "Help Me, Rhonda" was topping the charts, I was graduating from high school. I met a young guy that fall when I started college who was dumped by his previous girlfriend. We got married & had some great years & six kids. Then he left me for a guy! Go figure. (sigh) I've been a Beach Boys fan since '63, even through all the social changes in rock & roll. This is one of their great #1 hits. Enjoy.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 6th 1975, "Help Me, Rhonda" by Johnny Rivers entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #86; and on August 17th, 1980 it peaked at #22 (for 2 weeks) and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100...
    And exactly ten years earlier on July 6th, 1965, the Beach Boys' original version was at #25 on the Top 100, six weeks earlier on May 23rd, 1965 it had peaked at #1 for two weeks.
  • Dt from Gulf Breeze, FlGreat catchy tune about meeting a new gal on the rebound after getting dumped. Who can't identify with that? Al Jardine did a great job on the lead vocals, wished the BB had used him more often in that role.
  • George from Belleville, NjThis is what a hit song should sound like.A very catchy phrase and melody.As usual,great harmonies were a trademark of the Beach Boys sound.A fun upbeat song.Good story by Barry from N.Y. I'm sure those were good memories.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyFor Charlie:
    1. I Get Around - 1964 {#1 for 2 weeks)
    2. Help Me, Rhonda - 1965 {#1 for 2 weeks}
    3. Good Vibrations - 1966 {#1 for 1 week}
    4. Kokomo - 1988 {#1 for 1 week}
    Source: Billboard Top 100
    {The Beach Boys still hold the record the longest time span between #1 records, 22 years}
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyI was in the US Navy in 1965 and stationed in Norfolk, VA. The Beach Boys played in the Norfolk area during the summer of 1965; the only thing I remember about the concert was that it was held on a high school football field, Glen Campbell was playing the bass, Help Me Rhonda was their big hit at the time {they played it twice}, it was an afternoon concert, and just about whole audience sat on blankets on the playing field {a local AM station had encouraged people to bring their own blanket}...
  • Terry from Walnut Creek, CaI heard that Rhonda referred to in the song is Rhonda Caldwell who lived in Walnut Creek, CA at the time the song was released.
  • Charlie from Cape Girardeau, MoWould someone check again on the #1 US chart position. I distinctly remember Mike Love saying at a Beach Boys concert that they only had two #1 records - I Get Around and Kokomo.
  • Laura from Providence, RiI think my birthmother named me after this song. She was 17 at the time and was unable to keep me. I was adopted in 1966 and given the name Laura. Old lady that I am, I had a son in 2002 and that has been awesome. What an amazing thing to be a mother! The experience has, however, lent itself to the feeling(s) that I never knew my birthmother and the mother that I have who raised me ---"kiss your mother" she did alot out of love for you~ My birthmother was apparently one of ten children living in RI with her grandparents. My birthfather was a Marine in the Korean war. The details suspend me with wonder ...because of these two people I am here and now so is my beautiful boy. I will always think of them when I hear the husband calls me Rhonda and if I get the chance I would like to say "hey", I am alright. Thank you and well...I can't say I love someone I dont know but I feel that I must have been very special to them in a very unique way. Love being what it is in all its forms and expressions. Look me up! Cheers!, R
  • Wendy from Seattle, WaOkay so a VERY UNKNOWN FACT !! My father in fact wrote this song, "Help me Rhonda". He was only 18 years old at the time. Him and his band were in the recording studio in TX and the Beach boys heard them recording it. To make a long story short when the song came out, (yes they did make a few changes. It originally had a country western tune to it. Same lyrics though.) after being promised recognition by the Brian Wilson himself, his name was no where to be seen. He was not given ANY credit for the song he wrote from scratch. It left him devastated. There is nothing worse then to have something you created taken from you, the whole world to love, go down in history as a classic song and receive none of the credit for it. So ever wonder who the girl Rhonda whose name appears 45 times is? A girl he liked in his High school that he was too afraid to talk too at the time. Bet Brian Wilson couldn't answer that question!
  • Mario from Esky, MiThe master take of this song is Take 6, The backing track can be heard as a bonus track on The Beach Boy's stack-o-tracks album. The intro was orignally recorded with a 12 string guitar played by guitarist Bill Strange, but it was played too low and played sloppy on the fade, so Brian had Carl redo the intro and fade out with a higher 12 string guitar part over the lower part. The song has an awesome fade out that contains, drums played over the intro style parts. while the song was being mixed down to mono the solos and slide you hear on the intro and fadeout, were added live in the studio. An alternate single version of this song exsists, it's on the 2002 endless harmony soundtrack.
  • John from Adelaide, Australiarhonda was an Aussie girl Mike Love met in Sydney
    Australia during a 60"s tour
  • Star from Middle Of Nowhere, CaBrilliant song and I don't hear any page turning in any of the 5 different copies I have of the song.
  • Reg from Kemptville, OnRe fading in and out at the end:
    I had never noticed this until I bought "Endless Summer" in the 1970s. It is a 'best-of' album and the ending surprised and delighted me.
  • Henry from Kingston, NyOne of the BB's best.
  • Andy from Arlington, VaAfter the 2nd chorus, you can clearly hear someone turning a page.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesI can only assume that this is about a girl named Rhonda, and not the Rhondda Valleys in South Wales? :-)
  • John from Millersville, MdI think it's 'give you lotsa reasons why'. That's what I hear.
  • David from Wichita, KsOf course there is the 45 version and later the album version,same song but different. The album version is the one you'll always hear on the radio but the 45 is pretty neat with the fading in and out at the end.

    David in the Midwest
  • Joyce from Urbandale, IaEverytime I here this song I'm reminded of comedian, Gary Muledeer's misheard lyrics...
    "Well since you've been around theres been owls puking in my bed!"

    Puts a smile on my face, silly mood and all!!!
  • Henry from Kingston, NyI think the lyric "and I could give you lotsa reasons why", shown here is actually "and I could give a list of reasons why". That's what I hear, and I think it sounds better, too.
  • Robert from Trumbull, CtA #1 for the Beach Boys in 1965. I remember winning the 45 single at a carnival that year. I rediscovered it when I purchased a live Beach Boys album in 1974. What a great song!
  • Mr. Chimp from Brno, Czech RepublicAl Jardine, the Beach Boys´ rhytm guitarist, sang lead vocal on this.
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