The controversial Beach Boy Mike Love turns 78 today

Love his often regarded as a malign figure in the Beach Boys history despite the enormous musical contributions he had made for the band

The controversial Beach Boy Mike Love turns 78 today

Michael Edward Love was born on March 15, 1941, in Los Angeles, California. He co-founded the Beach Boys with the Wilson brothers in 1961.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 [Wilson] walks on water, I will always be the Antichrist.” Love collaborated with Wilson and was a lyricist on singles including “Fun, Fun, Fun” (1964), “California Girls” (1965), and “Good Vibrations” (1966). During this period, his lyrics primarily reflected the youth culture of surfing, cars, and romance, which helped fashion pop culture’s perception of the “California Dream”.However, many of Love’s contributions were not legally recognized until he successfully sued for writing credits decades later. Starting in 1968, Love became a teacher of Transcendental Meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The experience influenced his lyrics to take on themes of astrology, meditation, politics, and ecology. Following this, Love’s lyrical direction shifted to attempt to recapture the band’s earlier, lighthearted sound. In the late 1970’s, 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. In 1998, following the death of cousin Carl Wilson, Love was given an exclusive license to tour under the name the Beach Boys. The other surviving Beach Boys, 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 Johnston.

Watch the Beach Boys performing “California Girls” in 1965 with lead vocals by Mike Love



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