The Hondells Biography

The Hondells were a non-existent group when they released their Top 10 single ‘Little Honda’ in 1964. The mastermind behind the record was producer Gary Usher (1938, Los Angeles, California, USA, d. 25 May 1990), a friend and songwriting partner of Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson. Usher had created a series of surf music records using a revolving team of musicians and singers and assigning different group names to the finished products. The Hondells were one such creation. Usher and his hired hands for the day, including Glen Campbell, Curt Boettcher, and Chuck Girard and Joe Kelly of the Castells, recorded a version of the Brian Wilson song extolling the virtues of Honda motorcycles, which was released on Mercury Records and reached US number 9 in September 1964. With the record a success, the company asked Usher to assemble a touring group of Hondells. He hired Ritchie Burns, one of the background singers on the record, to lead the group. Burns still had not left his job at a bank when the album cover photos were taken, and he had friends of his (who were not involved with the record) pose for its cover. The Hondells continued to make records, and appeared on popular television programmes and in a number of ‘beach party’ films, includingBeach Blanket Bingo. Only two further singles charted, ‘My Buddy Seat’ in December 1964, and a cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Younger Girl’ in May 1966. Following this release the group assembled to masquerade as the Hondells began to sing and play on the records, recording a version of Bob Lind’s ‘Cheryl’s Going Home’. Subsequent singles on Columbia Records and Amos did not chart and only the first of the Hondells’ albums made the charts. The group and the Hondells name were retired in 1970.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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