The Beach Boys’ Mike Love Wrote a Song Saying Brian Wilson Sings ‘Like Mickey Mouse’

Mike Love praised some of The Beach Boys‘ songs from an album that was rushed out to compete with The Beatles. In addition, he said the album includes one of his band’s most unusual tracks. The song in question features sparring between himself and Brian Wilson. The tune also references Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse standing in front of a green backdrop
Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse | Michael Kovac/FilmMagic

Mike Love said 1 album was ‘rushed to keep up with The Beatles’

In his 2016 book Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy, Love said Capitol Records wanted The Beach Boys to put out an album in 1964. The result was Shut Down Volume 2. Love knew the title was a reference to the group’s previous album Shut Down. He still felt the name of Shut Down Volume 2 was odd.

“Though it included some of our finest originals (‘Fun, Fun, Fun,’ ‘Don’t Worry Baby,’ ‘The Warmth of the Sun,’) plus some quality covers (‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love?‘), the whole thing was rushed to keep up with The Beatles,” Love opined.

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How Muhammad Ali helped inspire 1 of The Beach Boys’ songs

Love discussed the strangest song on Shut Down Volume 2. “It also included one of our more unusual collective efforts: ”Cassius’ Love vs. ‘Sonny’ Wilson,'” Love wrote. “Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston were to square off in a title match days before the release of the album. Our song was a mock fight between Brian and me, with the guys joining.

“It was all in fun, but it captured part of my relationship with Brian: we showed our respect and love for each other through sarcastic drives and clever put-downs,” Love added. “In the song, I tell Brian ‘When I’m singing it doesn’t sound like Mickey Mouse with a sore throat.’ He later responds ‘Man, at least I don’t sound like my nose is on the critical list.'” Love agreed with Wilson’s assessment of his singing.

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How The Beach Boys’ ”Cassius’ Love vs. ‘Sonny’ Wilson’ performed on the chart in the United States

Shut Down Volume 2 became a modest hit. It reached No. 13 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 38 weeks. “‘Cassius’ Love vs. ‘Sonny’ Wilson” was never a single, so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

On the other hand, two of the songs from Shut Down Volume 2 became big hits: “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Don’t Worry Baby.” The former hit No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for 11 weeks. The latter reached No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100, lasting on the chart for 10 weeks.

“‘Cassius’ Love vs. ‘Sonny’ Wilson” wasn’t a hit — but it remains an interesting look at Love’s relationship with Wilson.

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