Beach Boys’ frontman Mike Love addresses each one on his latest solo album “12 Sides of Summer.”
Among original material, revamped band classics and covers, listeners will find a poignant reimagining of The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” written by friend, George Harrison.
“There was something very special about singing ‘Here Comes the Sun’ — a song that was so meaningful to me and millions of other people — on the album,” says Love, who plans to perform the track in tribute to Harrison with The Beach Boys in Saratoga on Sunday. “Doing it with the traditional harmonies that we’re known for was a beautiful and mystical experience.”
Love’s friendship with George, dating back to the 1960s, was strengthened after The Beach Boys singer traveled with The Beatles to Rishikesh, India in 1968 to study under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the guru known for developing Transcendental Meditation. Over the two months they spent in India, the musicians attended lectures, played music and celebrated each other’s birthdays: Harrison’s on Feb. 25 and Love’s on March 15.
“He was such a cool person,” Love says. “People would say, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ was the best album,’ and George would say, ‘No, it’s just another album.’ He was so down to earth and yet so into spirituality.”
Along with sharing an astrological sign and an interest in metaphysical teachings, Love with The Beach Boys and Harrison with The Beatles remain part of a small, elite group of artists to have achieved 12 Top 10 hits within five years. While some, including Paul McCartney, may have regarded the bands as rivals, Love saw them like a “mutual admiration society.” And Love was the one who convinced McCartney at the breakfast table in India to “talk about all the girls around Russia” in the song that eventually became “Back in the U.S.S.R.”
In a track called “Pisces Brothers” on his 2017 double album “Unleash the Love,” Love shared his feelings about that time and place and Harrison, in particular. He often pairs the tune with “Here Comes the Sun” on the current Beach Boys tour, as a reminder that there’s light and warmth even after the “long, cold, lonely winter” of Harrison’s loss.
“When he passed away, I felt very melancholy about that,” Love says. “But he was a great guy, a great soul, who left us some great music. He was always looking at things in the positive. It’s winter, it’s cold, there’s still ice and snow around, but here comes the sun. That’s the way I approach a negative and try to find a silver lining in the cumulonimbus cloud.”
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