Memories of Michael Love!
Submitted by Michael E. Williams
My chance meeting with Mike Love of the Beach Boy at WNCR, in the Penthouse of the old Stouffers Hotel in downtown Cleveland's Playhouse Square, went down Saturday, November 20th 1971.
I was an intern at the station answering phones and learning radio from David Spero who was a pioneering Dj and manager. (He is currently with The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.).
I would go to hang out with the Dj’s (David, Billy Bass, Doyle, Shauna, Denny Saunders and Jeff Gelb, Martin Perlich). The place was pure magic high above city where the view was great. The smell of sandalwood and patchouli permeated the air, when you got off the elevator.
One night The Beach Boys were in town at The Music Hall in support of their classic new release, "Surfs Up”. After the show Mike Love was stopping by the station to say hi and go on the air. The salesmen, record company staff and announcers would often invite artists back to the station after concerts to go live on air and to hang out. Not like today where interviews are never heard on air, just on line. But in 1971 it was all the fun, going live was the way we did it!
The action and studio buzz elevated as Mike Love came in. We ordered food and got comfortable as he talked about his devotion to Transcendental Meditation and the new record.
The title song had been around since 1966 composed by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks. It was originally performed solo in front of Leonard Bernstein and with an orchestra on various recordings. It was one of Mike Love’s least favourite recordings of the band and my favorite. It was a perfect symphony in a song; a testament to the genius of two of America’s greatest composers and vocalist. The Beach Boys were in constant competition with the Beatles and they inspired each other.
As the conversation with David Spero and Mike Love continued, the hotel called to tell us that hundreds of female fans laid siege to the hotel lobby. To keep it all safe, Mike decided not to leave the station and stayed on the air. Mike Love was stuck in the radio station till the dawn's early light and I had to explain to my mother several times throughout the night why I was not getting home at my usual midnight hour. "Hey mom, I am hanging with the Beach Boys, Mike Love, till dawn."
I got home at 7 a.m. The memory will last a lifetime.