Little Honda

Album: Go Little Honda (1964)
Charted: 9
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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 three 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.
  • 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.

Comments: 21

  • Kaze from Silver Springs, NevadaThe song was written about the Honda Super Cub, which went into production in 1958 and is still in production in 2021 -- the largest-selling motor vehicle in the world, with over 100 million sold. There never was a 60cc version -- Wilson's was a 50cc. Sloan was misremembering, "Little Honda" was not written for a commercial. In fact, it was a shock to the Honda sales manager, who said that by the time they knew about song, it was too late to shift advertising to put the "little Honda" phrase into the 1964 campaign. He added that their brand-new campaign was "You Meet the Nicest People On A Honda," and would never have hired a song that didn't include that phrase. In fact, the Hondells did a follow-up song by that title, which was used for advertising.
  • Hickory Mccay from Portland, OrThere's a great cover of this song by Yo La Tengo, they make it sound really noisy and fuzzed-out.
  • Ross Whitlow from Auckland New Zealand What about Mustang Sally
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 18th 1966, the Hondells performed "Younger Girl" on the ABC-TV week-day afternoon program 'Where The Action Is'...
    At the time the group's covered version of the song was at #67 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; just over three weeks earlier on June 26th it had peaked at #52 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the Top 100 for 9 weeks...
    On the same 'Action' show they also performed "Little Honda"; it was their only Top 10 record, it reached #9 {for 1 week} two years earlier on October 25th, 1964...
    The day the Hondells' "Younger Girl" entered the Top 100; May 22nd, 1966 at #93; the Critters' covered version of the same song also debut on the chart at three positions higher, at #90.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 3rd 1965 the Hondells performed "Little Honda" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    Five months earlier on September 6th, 1964 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on October 25th, 1964 it peaked at #9 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    The group had two other Top 100 records; *"My Buddy Seat" (at #87 in 1965) and a covered version of the Lovin' Spoonful's *"Younger Girl" (at #52 in 1966)...
    In 1964 the Beach Boys charted with the original version of "Little Honda"; it reached #65 on the Top 100 (was the B-side of "Wendy", which peaked at #44)...
    R.I.P. Jimmy O'Neill (Shindig's host; 1940 - 2013)...
    * Both songs are on You Tube.
  • Joe from Wauchula, FlI am not sure about how the chart or song release dates work, but we were listening to this great little tune in July '64, in Michigan off the 50000 watt WLS in Chicago.I could pick up that monster on the car radio till it finally faded somewhere in Alabama. I remember Little Honda so well because 3 sweet mid-teen girls and I did an impromptu rendition of our own. Me blowing through a pocket comb for the musical effects while the girls sang and each did a gear solo : RoseMary, hang on tight; Bobby Sue, Lean right ; and 3rd gear 'It's Alrighttt' by Summer Sweetie Patsy. No digital stuff, no FM even,just a little AM did us fine. Yeah, loved the Shindig bit...
  • Al Ferguson from Big Bear Lake Ca 92315, CaBy the way, As the newer guitar player in The Hondells I never witnessed any negativity as far as Wayne Edwards was concerned except, when a certain (former manager) tried some unethical funny business. Then "look out" Wayne will have you.. Al Ferguson, Hondells guitar player.
  • Al Ferguson from Big Bear Lake Ca 92315, CaDick Burns asked Al Ferguson, lead guitar, from Alhambra Ca. to join The Hondells and played guitar with Glen Campbell on the "Younger Girl" sessions. Al went on tour with the group for a couple of years along with the Beach Boys etc, including the USO tour to Viet Nam in 1966. Al was also on the Pepsi and Cotie cosmetics commercials. Al said the USO tour was his fondest memory.He later Played for the Frederick Apcar production, The Sands Playmate Review in Las Vegas until 1972.
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaHearing this tune off the 4 By the Beach Boys Ep...I really enjoyed the sound...
    I'm a bit hazy on the Hondells version...although I know they had the "hit" on it...
  • Jackie from North Hills, CaWayne Edwards is my husband and on the cover of the album "Go Little Honda" Anne is right in her post, Wayne was not a co-worker, there was only Richard Burns and a co worker, the other guy was a friend Wayne had grown up with. I don't know where people got the idea Wayne had bad feelings in the Hondells. I noticed on a lot of the posts on other sites it said that Hal Blaine was the drummer on Little Honda, Wayne Edwards was the drummer and Hal Blaine was on tympana's, I have the recording sheets from the studio. Wayne was a studio drummer who had recorded with other groups also.
  • Matty from Maryland, MdI have a Question about Richard Burns of the Hondells. My friend Jim Daugherty, say's that he was neighbors of Richard Burns in the Wheaton Maryland area in the early 60s..Does anyone know for sure if Richard Burns lived on Centerhill street in Wheaton during the early 60s??
  • James from Sepulveda, CaJust reading the post here. My father (Wayne Edwards) was the drummer for the Hondells and Richard Burns is my brothers god father. My dad did not have a bad expierence while with the Hondells and still talks fondly of that time in his life. I am the lucky one, because I still get to hear about the old days and now his grandchildren are the beneficiaries of the stories.
    James Edwards, Burbank CA
  • Dave from Broadmoor, CaHey Gang:

    The version by the Beach Boys is on the "All Summer Long" L.P. (Long Play, 12 inch 33 1/3 R.P.M.) Vinyl Record and "Four By The Beach Boys" E.P. (Extended Play 45 R.P.M. 7 inch Vinyl record). The "E.P." is a 45 with, typically, two songs on each side but could have up to three songs on each side. E.P.s came in a Cardboard cover, like and Album/L.P. You might call them ?Mini? albums. "Picture Sleeves" of 45 R.P.M. single records with one song on each side, were made of photo paper. The singles, generally, sold for $1.00, the E.P. , generally, sold for $1.29 and Album/L.P. Mono was $2.98 and a Stereo Album/L.P. (New technology for the time) was $3.98.

    The E.P. was a format developed in the 1950?s to help stimulate sales of L.P./Albums. Many times an Album would be broken down into multiple volumes. A good example is Elvis Presley?s second L.P./Album titled ?Elvis?. This was broken down into three E.P.s titled ?Elvis Vol.1? , ?Elvis Vol. 2? and ?Strictly Elvis?. Billboard even had an ?E.P.? Top-10 sales chart from Oct. 7th, 1957 to Oct. 10th, 1960.

    My band just learned this one, the Hondell?s version not the Beach Boys version. However, The Hondell?s version is almost identical to the Beach Boy?s version?almost. The Beach Boys version, as a single not the E.P. hit Billboard?s charts on Oct. 17th , 1964 and peaked at b No. 65. The Hondells version made it?s debut on the charts on Sept. 12th, 1964 and peaked in the Top-10 at No. 9 on Oct. 31st 1964. The complete Top-10 looked like this:

    1) Baby Love by The Supremes
    2) Do Wa Diddy Diddy by Manfred Mann
    3) Last Kiss by J.Frank Wilson and the Cavalliers
    4) We?ll Sing In The Sunshine by Gale Garnett
    5) Dancing In The Street by Martha & The Vandellas
    6) Let it Be Me by Betty Everett & Jerry Butler
    7) Have I The Right by The Honeycombs
    8) Oh Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison
    9) Little Honda by the Hondells
    10) Chug-A-Lug by Roger Miller

    My best to Anne Burns who?s father was in the Hondells, thanx for the info. Also to Richard Burns & Wayne Edwards for being a part of Rock ?n Roll history. There are many of us who are working musicians who give their all every weekend in clubs and bars and would ?Die? (a figure of speech) to be on a record that made the Top-10 in Billboard Magazine. I feel sad for Wayne who must have had a bad experience with the music industry and hope that one day he can reconcile his feelings .

    Okay gang that?s my ?Preamble?. Good job by everyone who posted a comment cause we?re all wanting to get the ?Record? straight. ?

    Dave , Daly City, Ca.
  • Darrell from EugenePatty, I know that this is not a personal ad service, but it seems like you are in love with me. I am 64 years old, I am probably completely incompatible with you, and I already have a 25-year-old Hawaiian/Caucasian crossbreed girlfriend named Serena. She would probably hate you.
  • Patty from Bakersfield, Caoops...That's "know" not "no"
  • Patty from Bakersfield, CaThis is for Darrell...As the lyrics clearly state, the song is about a "motorbike". Chill, babe. I don't know what you're all up in arms about. Anyone who actually listens to the lyrics will no it is NOT inspired by a car. But thanks for the car facts, anyway.
  • Bill from Potrero, CaI worked for Wayne Edwards at Spancrete of California, he was a VP at the company, he's a great guy my son still works for him. I would like to add that It is well known not to mention his days as a drummer for the Hondells I think he would like to forget that time in his life.
  • Darrell from Eugene, United StatesThis song was NOT, I repeat NOT inspired by a car. Although the first Honda car was built at roughly the same time that "Little Honda" was released, it was a 12-cylinder Grand Prix car and thus not little and not street-legal. The first road-legal Honda came out in about 1967, and it was roughly the size of an MG Midget and not officially imported to the US. The extremely tiny and extremely cramped Honda 600 came out in 1970, making it too new to be the subject of this song. Furthermore, the line about a "Matchless" proves, once and for all, that this song is NOT about a car.
  • Anne from Los Angeles, CaMy father, Richard Burns, was in the Hondells. The album "Go Little Honda" pictures him on the cover with three other guys. The guy in the middle, Wayne Edwards, was actually the drummer of the band, not a co-worker posing for a picture as mentioned above. Wayne, along with my father, toured as part of The Hondells as well.
  • Rick from San Juan, United StatesThe Beach Boys version of "Little Honda" was released in the 1964 "All Summer Long" album.
  • Rick from San Juan, United StatesThe "Shindig" TV presentation of "Little Honda" with the Shindig dancers riding Honda motorbikes with The Hondells was memorable.
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