Go Little Honda
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Digitally re-mastered two-fer for the Surf Rock/Pop outfit. The band was the vehicle for Gary Usher, a producer, musician and songwriter, who found fame and his niche during the early 1960s in California. Usher was the first outsider to collaborate with the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, co-writing 10 songs with him, including 'In My Room' and '409'. He also produced the Byrds and Sons of Adam. Gary initiated The Hondells project, produced the hit singles and the groups two long players and created the sound so synonymous with the name The Hondells. Go Little Honda produced the band's biggest hit, 'Little Honda' a Beach Boys song, penned by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for their album All Summer Long, released in '64. The Beach Boys hadn't put out their original as a single and noticing how well the cover was doing quickly released it but ironically, it was only a minor hit for the surf legends. The Hondells self-titled follow up (again released in 1964) produced a hit with their version of the Lovin' Spoonful's 'A Younger Girl', which charted at #52 in the States.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Of course he ran afoul of Murry Wilson, who saw any non-family member as an interloper and called Gary a "demon,"making sure he never got near Brian again. But Gary was already his own composer and continued in the business as a producer. He liked to make recordings of his songs using studio musicians and singers and making up group names for the recordings for release. Like Bob Keane with his Del-Fi label he was fond of putting out surf and car compilations with multiple groups who were essentially the same studio musicians. The Hondels were the most successful of these.
It's true, there actually were no Hondells. Even the booklet says "there was no real band in the first place". The four guys in the sweaters and on TV appearances remain unnamed though one of them may have been Ritchie Burns, a frequent studio musician for Usher who was called the group's founder on the original liner notes. On the other hand it is unclear if there ever was a tour band who had to play anything and the pictured band may have been actors since they only had to lip-sync for television appearances.
Little Honda itself was a Brian Wilson song included on the Summer '64 All Summer Long album. Though he was urged to put it out as a single he got cold feet about it and decided not to, instead working on When I Grow Up To Be a Man (which reached #9). This left a really good Beach Boys song open and Usher took it and made it a #9 hit in the Fall of '64. Capitol was so impressed with the Hondells rise on the charts that they released the ill-fated EP, "Four by the Beach Boys", which included Little Honda, Wendy, Hushabye and don't Back Down. EP's weren't well-understood in America so it didn't sell well, though it got them more airplay that fall and Wendy and Little Honda did chart (at # 44 and 65). The Hondells follow-up, My Buddy Seat is one of the better songs on the albums, co-written by Brian Wilson, but didn't do well. There was a Hondells version of the Lovin' Spoonful album track, Younger Girl, in the Spring of '66 but the Critters did better with it.
So what we have here are the Hondells two albums complete with 24 songs. Two are by Wilson & Usher, two by Mike Curb and 20 by Uhher & Christian. Roger Christian was not only a top L.A, disc jockey for KFWB but also a top car-song lyricist with Brian Wilson, Jan Berry and others. It's a fun and light album with songs full of the early California sound. The harmonies are mostly heavily influenced by the Beach Boys. The songs are pleasant but it's not unfair to say that Gary Usher was no Brian Wilson, since virtually no one was. These songs are mostly B-side and 60's album track material, which is to say they're well produced but there is nothing really striking about them. I find the instrumental tracks, and there are eight of them, actually the most interesting. Despite titles like Haulin' Honda, most of them are out-and-out really good surf instrumentals without saxophone
This CD is good for those who actually remember the Hondells and the Fall of '64 as well as anyone who wants more of the early California vocal sound beyond the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean. Most others would probably be happier with a collection of various artists hits that includes Little Honda.
The songs on that LP vividly painted vignettes of people’s lives using two-minute songs to where I feel I have met these people. For example, the small-town girl that falls for, and gets suckered-in by a guy’s lies (He Wasn’t Coming Back). On the other hand, there is the James Dean type enigma that everybody knew; yet NOBODY knew (Night Rider). How about, “That Crowd” of people who enjoy life for what it is and just enjoy what they do and enjoy each other (Black Denim). These songs painted pictures in my mind as a good book or an opera does now.
I was at just the right age and starting to imagine a bigger world outside of my neighborhood when The Hondells came into my life. I could shut my eyes, listen to these songs and imagine a red taillight zooming past me while standing on a dark, long & flat stretch of highway on a sweaty night. I still dream like that, but not as often anymore. Funny though, I can put on “The Hondells” and I can still see that small-town beauty’s dreams ruined by a city boy with a badass bike. If I was coming fresh to this music now as a senior citizen (almost ;-)), I know I would still enjoy the good-time rock and roll, but I doubt I would “feel” the mosquitos or smell the burning rubber out side the Dairy Queen quite so vividly!
Still, these are both good records!!!! ENJOY - JKH