The Beach Boys’ Mike Love hopes that the video for “Finally It’s Christmas,” a collaboration with Hanson premiering exclusively below, illustrates the Reason For the Season that he sings about throughout his new solo album.
“I love the song because it pays homage to some of the cultural mythology of Christmas as well as the spiritual part of it, too,” Love, who was introduced to Hanson via Reason For the Season co-producer Steve Greenberg, tells Billboard. The quick-paced video, matching the song’s buoyant tone, combines historic photos and footage from both acts with stock holiday images. Hanson originally wrote and recorded the song for its 2017 album of the same name, then gave it to Love this year for Reason For the Season.” “They had me sing lead on this incarnation and they did the backgrounds, and they’re really great,” Love says. “I think it’s a really great record.”
Reason For the Season features a mix of originals and holiday favorites, including a remake of the Beach Boys’ “Little St. Nick,” with production by Greenberg, Sam Hollander, Michael Lloyd and Beach Boys’ musical director Scott Totten. Love’s four children sing on five of the tracks, along with his sister Maureen. “The Beach Boys, we started out singing Christmas carols at these big Christmas parties that my mom threw, with the whole ping-pong table full of food and everything,” Love recalls. “After we did some caroling around the neighborhood we would peel off and cousin Brian (Wilson) and maybe his brother Carl and my sister Maureen would sing Everly Brothers songs and doo-wop songs of the day, maybe a little Chuck Berry. Music was always part of the family, particularly at the holidays — or it could have been Thanksgiving or birthday parties, too.”
Love and the Beach Boys wrap up a holiday tour this week in conjunction with Reason For the Season and are planning the usual full schedule of touring for 2019. Love, meanwhile, is awaiting word from the Songwriters Hall of Fame, where he’s been nominated as a Performing Songwriter for the class of 2019. “It’s really cool and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. That would be a very nice thing to be part of,” says Love, who would also view it as a vindication as well after having to sue during the mid-’90s to receive songwriting credit (and royalties) for 35 Beach Boys songs. “It’s rough when your uncle (Murry Wilson) handles the publishing and he purposely eliminated my participation on ‘Help Me, Rhonda” and ‘California Girls’ and ‘I Get Around’ and the others,” Love says. “But it got rectified for the most part, and my participation was confirmed and affirmed and even Brian himself said, ‘No, Mike wrote that.'”
An induction would, however, bring back memories of Love’s legendary rant when the Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 1988 and he challenged other performers in attendance to a battle of the bands.
“I was hoping to say it would be great if everyone got together and did something purposeful with all the combined talents and power of the industry there that night, but I was not allowed to finish and get to that point,” Love says now, with a chuckle. “I could’ve phrased things a little more politically correct and nicer. In fact, George Harrison said, ‘Mike, you’ve either been meditating too much or not enough.’ But we had Muhammad Ali at our table and he leaned over and told my wife, ‘That boy’s been watching me…'”