Listen to The Beach Boys’ ‘Help Me, Rhonda’ Original Version That Wasn’t a Hit

The Beach Boys‘ “Help Me, Rhonda” is one of the band’s most famous songs. The hit version of the song used the guitar; however, the original version was based around a different instrument. The original recording of the song also had a different name.

The Beach Boys with a surf board
The Beach Boys | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Brian Wilson decided another member of The Beach Boys should sing ‘Help Me, Rhonda’

During a 2011 interview with Goldmine, Wilson discussed “Help Me, Rhonda.” “We did two versions of ‘Help Me Rhonda,'” he recalled. “We did one with the ukulele and we did one with guitars. We chose to use the guitar version.”

Wilson decided not to sing the song himself. “I heard myself singing lead on it originally and then I turned it over to [The Beach Boys’ Al Jardine],” he said. “I produced The Beach Boys so I decided who would sing lead. I just had a sixth sense about who should sing what songs.” You can click on the original ukulele version of the song below.

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Why Al Jardine found The Beach Boys’ ‘Help Me, Rhonda’ to be ‘problematic’

During a 2013 interview with Rock Cellar Magazine, Jardine discussed learning to sing ‘Help Me, Rhonda.” “Brian had it in his head of it going one way and I had it going another way,” he remembered. “It was my first big lead vocal — I had a lead before that — but primarily I’m an ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ guy. 

“I can nail anything that way but when it comes to rhythms I’m just not as sharp as maybe someone else,” he continued. “What made it problematic for me is ‘Help Me, Rhonda’ had a rhythmic movement that I found very difficult and I finally got it.” You can click on the hit version of the song below.

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How the song performed on the chart in the United States

The original “Help Me, Rhonda” was called “Help Me, Ronda.” It appeared on the album The Beach Boys Today! This version of the song wasn’t a single. Its parent album reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 50 weeks.

The second version of “Help Me, Rhonda” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. It stayed on the chart for 14 weeks in total. The Beach Boys included this recording of “Help Me, Rhonda” on the album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!). The album reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 33 weeks. A parody of this recording of the song appeared in an episode of WandaVision. This parody features the lyrics “Help me, Wanda.”

“Help Me, Rhonda” is one of The Beach Boys’ most famous songs and fans can decide which of the recordings of it they like best.

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