Michael Edward Love (born March 15, 1941) is an American singer, songwriter, and musician who co-founded the Beach Boys. Characterised by his nasal and sometimes baritone singing, Love has been one of the band's vocalists and lyricists for most of their career, contributing to each of their studio albums. He is often regarded as a malign figure in the band's history, a reputation he acknowledges: "For those who believe that Brian walks on water, I will always be the Antichrist."
In the 1960s, Love was one of Wilson's collaborators during a string of US top 10 singles for the Beach Boys, including "Fun, Fun, Fun" (1964), "California Girls" (1965), and "Good Vibrations" (1966). His lyrics primarily reflected the youth culture of surfing, cars, and romance, which helped fashion pop culture's perception of the "California Dream". Starting in 1968, Love was a student of Transcendental Meditation (TM) under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and became a TM teacher in 1971. The experience influenced his lyrics to take on themes of astrology, meditation, politics and ecology. In the late 1970s, Love began working on solo albums, releasing his first in 1981: Looking Back with Love. In 1988, he, along with the other founding members of the Beach Boys, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The same year, the song, "Kokomo", co-written by Love, reached number one in the United States and was nominated for a Grammy.
Many of Love's contributions to the group's hits were not officially recognized until the 1990s, when he successfully sued for writing credits on 35 songs. He remains uncredited for another 44 Beach Boys songs he alleged to have co-written. In 1998, following the death of cousin Carl Wilson, Love was given an exclusive license to tour under the name the Beach Boys. His surviving bandmates, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine, embarked on solo endeavors. In 2011, the group reunited to produce a new album and embark on a tour for their 50th anniversary. Following the 50th anniversary reunion shows, Love resumed touring only with Bruce Johnston.Love's mother, Emily (known as "Glee") Wilson, was the sister of Mary and Murry Wilson, a family resident in Los Angeles since the early 1920s. Glee married Edward Milton Love, the son of the founder of the Love Sheet Metal Company, in 1938. Michael Edward, the first of six children, was born in the Baldwin Hills district of Los Angeles, in 1941; thereafter the family moved to the upmarket View Park area. Mike attended Dorsey High School and graduated in 1959. Unsure of a career direction, he pumped gas and briefly joined his father's company, whose fortunes dramatically declined in the late 1950s. Both Milt and Glee Love were active in sports, and Glee had a distinct interest in painting and the arts. Like her brother, Murry, however, she was also strong-willed and, according to her husband, a dominant personality. The family was close-knit and regularly socialized with Murry and Audree Wilson and their sons. Murry Wilson was a part-time songwriter.
Mike Love often sang at family get-togethers at his cousins, the Wilsons', home in nearby Hawthorne, especially at Christmas. It was here, under the vocal harmony guidance of Brian Wilson, that the Beach Boys sound was established, predominantly influenced by Brian's devotion to the Four Freshmen's arrangements. Musical accompaniment during this formative phase was solely Brian's self-taught piano, but this was quickly expanded by the guitar contributions of Brian's college friend Al Jardine (whose fundamental interest was folk music) and Carl Wilson (whose idol was Chuck Berry). With the failure of Love Sheet Metal, the family was forced to move to a modest two-bedroom house in Inglewood, closer to the Wilsons.
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1960sSee also: Collapse of Smile and The Beatles in India Love (left) performing with the Beach Boys, 1964
Love played rudimentary saxophone in the first years of the fledgling garage band that evolved from the Pendletones to the Beach Boys. He also established himself, along with neighbor Gary Usher, local DJ Roger Christian, and others, as a collaborator with Brian Wilson in the band's original compositions. Carl Wilson commented that "It's not widely known, but Michael had a hand in a lot of the arrangements. He would bring out the funkier approaches, whether to go shoo-boo-bop or bom-bom-did-di-did-did. It makes a big difference, because it can change the whole rhythm, the whole color and tone of it." He also credited Love, an avid fan of doo-wop combos, with influencing Brian to listen to black R&B records. Writer Geoffrey Himes stated that without "Mike's R&B influence ... Brian couldn’t have possibly become 'Brian Wilson.'" To write many of the Beach Boys songs, Love drew inspiration from the lyrics of Chuck Berry along with Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who wrote many of the Everly Brothers' songs including "Devoted to You" and "All I Have to Do is Dream". He explained, "They were both the fun, descriptive pictorial vignettes as well as the more sweet, romantic and devotional lyrics. ... Even before that and more fundamental than that, I was always into poetry."Love, 1966
In early 1964, Brian Wilson began shifting the Beach Boys away from beach-themed music. That November, Melody Maker reported that Love and the group wanted to look beyond surf rock and avoid living in the past or resting on the band's laurels. Love is also credited with naming their album Pet Sounds (1966). However, he has also been reported as resisting the group's new direction. In a 1971 Rolling Stone article, business associate David Anderle quoted Love saying "don't fuck with the formula". Over the ensuing years, the quote was repeated in myriad books, articles, websites, and blogs. In the description of music journalist Erik Hedegaard, Love gathered a reputation as "one of the biggest assholes in the history of rock & roll" due to such accusations. Anderle later said that his statement had been misinterpreted, explaining that the quote was in reference to affairs related to the band's management, not their artistic direction. Love dismissed most of the reported claims as hyperbole: "I never said anything bad about any of the tracks. I admit to wanting to make a commercially successful pop record, so I might have complained about some of the lyrics on Smile". Brian denied that the Smile album was scrapped because of Love's opposition to the lyrics.
Along with Dennis Wilson and Al Jardine, Mike Love was one of the many rock musicians who discovered the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi following the Beatles' public endorsement of his Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique in August 1967. In December that year, Love and his bandmates attended a lecture by the Maharishi at a UNICEF Variety Gala in Paris, and were moved by the simplicity and effectiveness of his meditation process as a means to obtaining inner peace. In January 1968, the Beach Boys attended the Maharishi's public appearances in New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts, after which he invited Love to join the Beatles at his training seminar in Rishikesh in northern India. Love stayed there from February 28 to March 15. He later recalled helping Paul McCartney with the lyrics of "Back in the U.S.S.R.", recorded for the Beatles' White Album (1968).
While in Rishikesh, Love planned a US concert tour that would feature the Beach Boys and the Maharishi as co-headliners. The tour begun in May 1968 ended abruptly after five shows due to the disappointing audience numbers and the Maharishi's subsequent withdrawal to fulfill film contracts. In his 2016 autobiography, Love wrote: "I take responsibility for an idea that didn't work. But I don't regret it. I thought I could do some good for people who were lost, confused, or troubled, particularly those who were young and idealistic but also vulnerable, and I thought that was true for a whole bunch of us." Despite the ignominy of the tour, the Beach Boys remained ardent supporters of the Maharishi and TM. He became a TM initiator in 1972 and later progressed to more advanced levels such as the TM-Sidhi Course.
1970s-1990sSee also: Love v. Wilson Love (front-right) performing with the Beach Boys in 1971
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Love wrote the words and music of several Beach Boys songs, including "Big Sur" (1973), "Everyone's in Love With You" (1976) and "Sumahama" (1978). In 1978, he co-founded the band Celebration, which achieved the US top 30 hit single "Almost Summer" (co-written with Brian Wilson and Jardine). In 1981, he released his first solo album, Looking Back with Love (1981), with production by Curt Boettcher.
In 1988, the group had a US number 1 hit with "Kokomo", the only number 1 the band achieved without Brian's involvement. Love (along with "Kokomo" co-writers Scott McKenzie, Terry Melcher, and John Phillips) was nominated for a Golden Globe Award (1988) in the Original Song category, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for "Kokomo". Also in 1988, Love was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the other founding members of the Beach Boys. At the induction ceremony Love delivered a hostile speech, criticizing, among others, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney. When asked in 2016 if he regretted anything about the night, Love said "Yeah, I regret that I didn't meditate ."
In 1992, Love, along with Al Jardine and several of Wilson's family members, sued Brian for defamation regarding claims made in the 1991 memoir Wouldn't It Be Nice: My Own Story. The case was settled out of court by publisher HarperCollins, who awarded Love $1.5 million. It was the first of numerous lawsuits that Love would file against Brian. Two years later, Love won a legal proceeding to establish what he considered to be proper authorship credit for many of the Beach Boys songs he co-wrote. Love successfully argued that Murry Wilson avoided crediting him with his early lyrical contributions to Brian's songs, denying Love accrued royalties. He later called it "almost certainly the largest case of fraud in music history".
2000s-2010sThe touring line-up of Mike Love and Bruce Johnston's "the Beach Boys Band", plus guest member David Marks, in 2008
After the death of Carl Wilson in 1998, Love continued to tour with the Beach Boys, along with Bruce Johnston and a supporting band of new musicians, occasionally including actor John Stamos. He leased exclusive rights to tour under the Beach Boys name in a boardroom settlement with Brother Records, the Beach Boys' company.
On November 3, 2005 Love sued Brian Wilson and The Mail On Sunday newspaper because the Beach Boys' name and Love's image were used in a promotional CD that was given free with the paper to promote the 2004 Brian Wilson presents Smile release. Love argued that the unauthorized (by Brother Records Inc.) free CD resulted in loss of income for the band. The lawsuit was dismissed on May 16, 2007 on the grounds that it was without merit.[clarification needed]
In 2011, Love reunited with Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks for a new Beach Boys album and 50th anniversary tour beginning in 2012. In September 2012, Love and Bruce Johnston announced via a press release that following the end of the reunion tour the Beach Boys would revert to the Love/Johnston lineup, without Wilson, Jardine or Marks, all of whom expressed surprise. Although such dates were noted in a late June issue of Rolling Stone, it was widely reported that the three had been "fired".
His autobiography entitled Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy was published on September 13, 2016. Love wrote the book as a response to "many inaccuracies" that had been said about him over the decades. It was published one month before the release of Wilson's autobiography, I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir. When asked about the book's negative comments toward Love, Love responded: "He's not in charge of his life, like I am mine. His every move is orchestrated and a lot of things he's purported to say, there's not tape of it." As of November 2016, he has not read Wilson's book.
On November 17, 2017, Love released his second solo album Unleash the Love.
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Marriages and family
Love has been married to Jacquelyne Piesen since 1994 and has eight children: two with Piesen and six from his four previous marriages. Love is a vegetarian who practices and teaches Transcendental Meditation, wears Indian Ayurveda rings and partakes in traditional Hindu ceremonies. He currently resides in Incline Village at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
In addition to being cousin to the Wilson brothers, Love is the brother of former NBA basketball player Stan Love and of Pink Martini harpist Maureen Love and is the uncle of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player Kevin Love.
Political viewsThe Beach Boys with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan at the White House, June 12, 1983
Love describes himself as a progressive, although a photographed handshake between him and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s led many to label him as a political conservative.
Love has been a longtime supporter of environmental causes and was among speakers at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Earth Day 2000 on the Mall in Washington, DC. Love was instrumental in forming StarServe ("Students Taking Action and Responsibility to Serve") which enlisted high-profile celebrities to inspire America's youth to help serve their communities. He also created the Love Foundation, which supports national environmental and educational initiatives. Love personally donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina and helped the foundation raise an additional $250,000. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Lake Tahoe School in Incline Village, Nevada,[not in citation given] and was responsible for raising over $1 million to benefit the school.
In 2010, Mike Love contributed to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's More Hope For The Holidays album with vocals on "Closing of the Year" as well as contributing his self-penned "Santa's Goin' To Kokomo". On the album he appears alongside Weezer, Brandi Carlile, and Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He performed a benefit concert for the foundation for the Children of the Californias which raised one million dollars to support the expansion of three new surgical suites. During the 50th Reunion Tour Love alongside the Beach Boys partnered with Operation Smile to raise funds for those in need of cleft lip and palate repair surgeries. In May 2013, Love was recognised for his decades of investment in education and national service by being awarded City Year's "Seven Generations Award".
Awards and honors
- 2014: Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award.
DiscographySee also: The Beach Boys discography
- 1981: Looking Back with Love
- 2017: Unleash the Love
- 2018: Reason for the Season
- 1978: Almost Summer: Music from the Original Motion Picture Score
- 1979: Celebration
- 1979: Disco Celebration
- 1996: Catch a Wave
- 1998: Salute NASCAR (with Bruce Johnston and David Marks)
- 2001: Summertime Cruisin (with Bruce Johnston)
- 1967: "Gettin' Hungry" b/w "Devoted To You" (with Brian Wilson)
- 1978: "Almost Summer" b/w "Island Girl" (with Celebration) - #28 Billboard Hot 100
- 1978: "It's Ok" b/w "Lookin' Good" (with Celebration)
- 1979: "Starbaby" b/w "Getting Hungry" (with Celebration)
- 1981: "Looking Back With Love" b/w "One Good Reason"
- 1981: "Runnin' Around The World" b/w "One Good Reason"
- 1982: "Be My Baby" b/w "Teach Me Tonight"
- 1982: "Be True To Your Bud" b/w "Be True To Your Bud" (Instrumental) (Released as Mike & Dean) with Dean Torrence
- 1982: "Da Doo Ron Ron" b/w "Baby Talk" (Released as Mike & Dean) with Dean Torrence
- 1983: "Jingle Bell Rock" b/w "Let's Party" (released as Mike Love & Dean Torrence)
- 1983: "Jingle Bells" by Paul Revere & the Raiders b/w "Jingle Bell Rock" (released as Mike Love & Dean Torrence)
- 2006: "Santa's Goin' To Kokomo"
- 2007: "Hungry Heart"
- 2015: "(You'll Never Be) Alone on Christmas Day"
- 2017: "Do It Again" (with Mark McGrath & John Stamos)
- 2017: "Unleash the Love"
- 2017: "All the Love in Paris" (with Dave Koz)
- 2017: "Darlin'" (with AJR)
- 2018: "It's OK" (with Hanson)