Mike Love - Early Years

Early Years

Mike Love's mother, Emily (known as "Glee") Wilson was the sister of Mary and Murry Wilson, a family resident in Los Angeles since the early 1920s. Glee married Edwin Milton Love, the son of the founder of the Love Sheet Metal Company, in 1938. Michael Edward, the first of six children, was born in the suburb of Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles, in 1941; thereafter the family moved to the upmarket View Park area. Mike attended Dorsey High School, graduating in 1959. Unsure of a career direction, he pumped gas and briefly joined his father's company, whose fortunes dramatically declined in the late 1950s. Both Milt and Glee Love were active in sports, and Glee was distinctively artistic-orientated, taking an interest in painting and the arts. Like her brother, Murry, however, she was also strong-willed and, according to her husband, a dominant personality. The family was close-knit and regularly socialised with Murry and Audree Wilson and their sons. Murry Wilson was a part-time songwriter whose main achievement was placing a song on the Lawrence Welk radio show in 1952. Mike Love befriended the Wilson sons and often sang at family get-togethers, especially at Christmas, at the Wilson's home in nearby Hawthorne. It was here, under the vocal harmony guidance of Brian Wilson, that the root of the Beach Boys' sound was established, predominantly influenced by Brian's devotion to the Four Freshmen's arrangements. Musical accompaniment during this formative phase was solely Brian's self-taught piano, but this was quickly expanded by the guitar contributions of Brian's college friend Al Jardine (whose fundamental interest was folk music) and Carl Wilson (whose idol was Chuck Berry). With the failure of Love Sheet Metal and the family's enforced move to a modest two-bedroom house in Inglewood, closer to the Wilsons, Mike Love turned his ambitions toward forming a pop band in emulation of local acts like Jan and Dean, whose music he admired.

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