High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Part 4: Honey, I Shrunk My Play List Down to That Cool Beach Boys Sound!












In the beginning, Brian Wilson splashed hot chocolate
on Marilyn Rovell's blouse. Spilled cocoa soon turned
into milk and The Honeys. Brian and Marilyn married
and their union produced Carnie and Wendy Wilson
who followed in their parents footsteps, became pop
singers and formed Wilson Phillips, a hit girl trio of
the 90s. In between a lot of great music happened.

The Honeys, a girl group act that consisted of
Marilyn Rovell, her sister Diane and their
cousin Ginger Blake, lent their voices to
surfing and hot rod recordings made by
other artists including the Beach Boys
and released records of their own.
No other girl group I can think
of made so many great yet
uncharted recordings.



The Honeys broke up in 1969 and a short time later
Diane and Marilyn began recording as Spring and
later as American Spring. In Part 3 you heard their
fall 1971 cover of Carole King's "Now That Every-
thing's Been Said." Now listen to "Shyin' Away,"
American Spring's third single which was
followed by a four year dormant period
for the recording duo.

 "Shyin' Away" - American Spring 
 (April 1973, uncharted) 

Waxed in the 1970s and locked in the vault
until the late 80s, "It's Like Heaven," written
by Brian Wilson, is a honey of a song and
one of the best by American Spring.

 "It's Like Heaven" - American Spring 
 (recorded October 1977, unreleased 
 until 1988 Spring reissue) 

"Slip On Through" was written by Dennis Wilson
for the Beach Boys' 1970 album Sunflower.

In 1977 American Spring recorded a version of
"Slip On Through" produced by Diane.  It remained
unreleased in America for 15 years. I'm glad it
finally managed to "Slip On Through."

 "Slip On Through" - American Spring 
 (recorded October 1977, unreleased in U.S. 
 until 1992 Capitol Collectors Series


"Beach Boys Meet Phil Spector" describes "Boys Town,"
an April Stevens - Nino Tempo composition recorded
solo by Nino in 1967. The similarity to songs on the
Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album generated rumors
that Brian Wilson produced this obscure single
but it was actually produced by Nino himself
under the influence of Spectorian Splendor
and Wilsonesque Good Vibrations.

 "Boys Town (Where My Broken Hearted Buddies Go)" 
 Nino Tempo (1967, uncharted) 


In the late 70s long lost cousin Ginger Blake
returned to the studio and added her vocals
to several unreleased tracks laid down by
Marilyn and Diane under the supervision
of Brian Wilson, making the recordings
authentic Honeys nuggets. One of my
faves is (just like) "Romeo and Juliet,"
a cover of the 1964 Reflections hit.

 "Romeo & Juliet" - The Honeys 
 (recorded Feb./March 1979, unreleased in U.S. 
 until 1992 Capitol Collectors Series


Now, let's hear a Beach Boys influenced single recorded
in England by Brit bird Alison Wonder. Her real name was
Cheryl St. Clair, later Cheryl Barrymore when she married
British comedian Michael Barrymore. This one starts out
sounding like the Four Seasons singing the Beach Boys'
"Don't Worry Baby." Alison Wonder's "Once More
With Feeling" missed the U.S. chart but it's
hot in the Shady here on SDMM!

 "Once More With Feeling" - Alison Wonder 
  (September 1970, uncharted) 


In 1983 The Honeys reunited and released
a comeback album entitled Ecstasy which
was yet another commercial disappointment.

Nevertheless, the Honeys had a new attitude
and rocked hard on the bitchin' track
"Girls Are Vicious."

 "Girls Are Vicious - The Honeys 
 (from 1983 album Ecstasy



Like the Beach Boys with whom they had so much
in common, The Honeys captured in their recordings
the essence of Southern California's casual lifestyle.

The Honeys were one of the best kept secrets
in Sixties and Seventies girl group pop.
They made a slew of great records
but consistently missed the chart.

Now the secret's out! With the digital release
of all their great recordings in recent years,
the Honeys are finding an audience and
making many new fans around the world
including yours truly, Shady Del Knight.

Have a Shady day!


  1. After reading all 4 posts in this series and listening to all the music I am sold on The Honeys. It amazes me how they performed so many styles so well. The early 60's records about surfing are great but they seem dated now. My favorites are the Carole King style recordings made by American Spring in the early 70's. They hold up remarkably well, fresh and timeless. I never heard "Boys Town" but it really does have that Beach Boys sound, I also never heard of Alison Wonder and her Beach Boys style record. It was fun to discover them. Your Honeys series was fun and educational and you did a great job with it. Bravo!

    1. Hello, dear Kathryn, and thank you for joining me for the conclusion of the series. I have to agree with you that the Honeys were at their best when they moved beyond the surf - sun - car songs and evolved into a more mature and sophisticated girl group. Today the recordings the Rovell sisters made as American Spring are much more popular than they were originally and are in great demand among collectors.

      I presented Nino Tempo a while back in my Echoes series and there is another great Nino - April Stevens recording coming up in a later edition, Brit girl Alison Wonder is not to be confused with Alice Wonder Land, the singing maid who gave us the fine girl group sound "He's Mine (I Love Him, I Love Him, I Love Him)."

      I'm very pleased to know that you enjoyed the series, dear Kathryn. Thank you very much for your support and enjoy your week!

  2. Hi Shady. Please excuse my absence from your last post. I have been so tired the past two weeks, working, guess I need to retire some day, lol! I will go back to enjoy it as I have this one. I had a hard trime getting these songs to play, finally they started coming across...all at the same time, LOL! You know, I'm with you on this group...what happened? Did the Motown girls drown the Honey's out? They were very good-what held them back?

    Oh, the sad 'Boys Town' song with Nino Tempo (what a name) and April Stevens-it is a very good song, and I remember you talking about NIno a while back.

    I so appreciate you bringing these groups forward Shady! If it weren't for the greats like you who who delight in introducing us to these unsung heroes, we would not have the opportunity to express our opinions of them.

    Again, I apologize for missing your last post, I will re-visit soon. Hope you and Mrs. Shady are doing well. Have a great week! ♫

    1. Hello, Same Sentury Sadie! :) It worried me a little when you didn't come by last week. I thought maybe you had another power outage in Forth Worth and hoped it was nothing more serious. I'm sorry you've been feeling tired. That makes two of us! I certainly understand your need to take a break and rest for a while. Anyway, it's great to see you again and thanks for coming.

      I don't know why the YouTube videos don't play well for some of my readers. I checked them out first thing this morning and they all started playing a second or two after I clicked on them.

      Why didn't the Honeys become stars in their own time? Your theory makes sense. For a few crucial years in the early and mid 60s, Motown was red hot, held its own against the Beatles and the British invasion, and traditional white girl groups began to fade in popularity, yielding to the new breed of tough streetwise girls like the Ronettes and the Shangri-Las who sang melodramatic songs about bad boys, danger and death.

      Suzanne, your health comes first. I love you and care about you and will always understand when you can't be here. I missed you and hope you are feeling better this weekend. The heat is still on here in Central Florida and the mosquitoes are out in force. Please send us a Texas cool front a.s.a.p. :)

      Have a healthy and happy week, dear friend Suzanne!

  3. I like the kind of funky sound of Slip On Through. Romeo and Juliet is a great song.How did you discover The Honeys? Did you know about them before their recordings were re-released?


    1. Hi, Janie Junebug! Thank you very much for coming by on what is surely a sad and difficult day for you, having just lost your beloved pet Harper. I appreciate it.

      The more I listen to American Spring the better I like them. The same holds true for the Honeys and Ginger and the Snaps. It's hard to believe the same two or three women produced all of those exciting recordings, each one refreshingly different and unique, not at all derivative like those of many artists.

      No ma'am. I did not even know about the Honeys until a few months ago when I started getting into the girl group sound and discovered them on YouTube. What a wealth of great material they produced including excellent versions of "Romeo & Juliet," Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel," "Tonight You Belong to Me" and "Goodnight, My Love," the 1956 doo-wop hit by Jesse Belvin. I'm happy to have secured my copies of the two Honeys CD compilations which are already becoming rare and escalating rapidly in price.

      Thank you again for being here, dear friend Janie. I wish you a week of peace and healing as you recover from the loss of your wonderful pet. God bless!

  4. "Once More with Feeling" sounds like the illegitimate child of Ronnie Spector and Frankie Valli more than Beach Boys. Let's start a letter writing campaign and get them to fess up!

    I like "Boys Town." but my Dad would have LOVED it. Every Sunday afternoon he would fire up the radio/intercom and play all his favorites. He was heavy on singers like Dean Martin, Frankie Valli, Bobby Vinton and Patsy Cline, and the slow croon was his favorite.

    When I saw the number 4 appear in your post, I threw myself across the bed and wept uncontrollably at the thought of the series' end. You've done a really great job (but if you look at the rest of the blog, you've had plenty of practice doing a great it figures!).

    Thanks, Shadyman! Have a great weekend.

    1. Hello, dear Cherdo! Oh, my friend, you are so very sweet and kind. Thank you! I agree that Alison Wonder's record sounds like the original Jersey Boys were singing background vocals. It goes to show how Spectorian Splendor and Brian Wilsonesque Good Vibes spread all the way across the great pond and influenced pop recordings in England.

      Nino Tempo and April Stevens were underrated. They had a #1 hit around the time of the JFK assassination with "Deep Purple" but three years later when they were really in the groove and turning out their best work as songwriters and recording artists, their audience dried up. It has become my mission here on SDMM to give props where they are due, introducing unknown and obscure artists and their great but uncharted recordings. I am very glad you appreciate what I am trying to do here.

      Question: When you threw yourself across the bed and wept uncontrollably, did you do it in the manner of:

      A) Patty Duke (The Patty Duke Show)
      B) Betty Anderson (Father Knows Best)
      C) Mary Stone (The Donna Reed Show)
      D) All of the above
      E) None of the Above
      F) A & B
      G) A & C
      H) B & C
      I) suppose you're tired of this question by now.

      Thank you very much for coming over and spreading cheer, dear friend Cherdo. I'll be seeing you on the Flipside. Have a great week!

  5. Well Shady, this was a humdinger of an ending for this series. I often wonder if all the name changes the Honey's went through had anything to do with the songs not making the charts. I certainly remember the 70's but never this girl band. They are very talented and all the sounds that are so similar can make your head spin after listening to each one! I enjoyed the background info and the tunes that you've shared. Oh, I really do remember the stretch pants with the stirrups! Ha! (I had a few of them babies!) Have a good week!

    1. Hello, dear YaYa! I'm all for continuity and don't understand why artists, vocal groups and bands change their names. Some do it quite often. I found it particularly surprising that the Rovell women and cousin Ginger went back to calling themselves The Honeys in the 80s after their lack of success with that name in the 60s. Even though they achieved a convincing pop rock sound on tracks like "Girls Are Vicious," the name Honeys seemed terribly dated compared to female fronted acts like Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Then again, those other Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, did alright for themselves in the 80s with the non intimidating band name Heart. I suppose in the recording industry luck has a lot to do with it and the Honeys never got the lucky break they needed to become established hit makers even though they enjoyed the connection to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.

      I'm so pleased to see you, dear friend YaYa. Thank you again for coming and have a wonderful week ahead!

  6. Hi Shady Del Knight,

    I love multiple choice quizzes because you get to guess an answer if you don't know it and still have a chance at it being right! I would have to guess on yours because I am not familiar with any of those names :) thanks for this post - it must have been frustrating to see other bands become successful. Your comments about Motown are true - Motown is a timeless genre with its sound just as fresh to today as it was in the 60s. The cover of Romeo and Juliet is fantastic though and I can hear the riff from Don't Worry Baby in - Once More with Feeling - thanks again Shady Del Knight for this quirky series about talented artists flying under the radar - yours at writing the rapids, Allie-Millie

    1. Hello hello hello, dear Allie-Millie! Thank you very much for reporting in and leaving another stellar comment. I see you read my reply to our mutual friend Cherdo's comment. I'd be astounded if you are familiar with the three American television series referenced in my multiple choice question. I wonder which of those girls your character Brooke most resembles? :)

      I'm happy to know you enjoyed the Honeys' rendition of "Romeo & Juliet" which was a top 10 U.S. hit for the vocal group The Reflections in the spring of 1964. Also glad your ears noticed on Brit girl Alison Wonder's single the familiar riff from "Don't Worry Baby," the B side of the Beach Boys hit "I Get Around" which also charted in the spring of '64.

      You are a wonderful friend, dear Allie-Millie, and I thank you again for being here. Good night and have a splendid week!

  7. The very first live concert I attended was The Beach Boys! Hoping your week is filled with good things. Hugs, Katherine

    1. Hi, Katie! Welcome back to your home away from home, Shady Dell Music & Memories!

      Come to think of it, the first major live concert I ever went to was also the Beach Boys. I saw their show in Lancaster, PA in the summer of 1966.

      Thanks for checking out my series on the Honeys and other exponents of the Beach Boys sound. Enjoy the rest of your week, Katie!

  8. Well, this was a wonderful series, Shady! I would say my favorite Honeys tune today was "Girls are Vicious." Don't care for the words, but I love the sound, the beat and the singing. I would have bought that song in the old days.

    Watching the Romeo and Juliet video as the Honeys sang, I remember sitting on my sofa sobbing at the ending of that movie. I knew what was coming but I felt so involved that I felt devastated by that couple. I once read that Shakespeare based his story on a true event.

    Like other people here, I also liked 'Boys Town', A great duet. Thanks so much for all the fun. It is wonderful to hear new groups and songs from the past. Love to you and your family.

    1. Love love love to you, dear Belle! I'm pleased to see you here for the finale of my Honeys series and so glad you enjoyed it.

      "Girls Are Vicious" was right in the groove with a sound similar to that being produced by 80s female rock bands and soloists. It's a shame the album was another poor seller for the Honeys. By then they had tried recording in many different styles but had failed to attract a wide fan base every step of the way. To young 80s rock fans the Honeys must have seemed like their moms singing karaoke. It only goes to show that quality does not guarantee a recording's popularity or chart success.

      I am also excited to know that you are among those who appreciated Nino Tempo's record "Boys Town." Nino and sister April were important figures in the pop music scene of the 60s and I am proud to present their best work here. Another great duo recording of theirs is coming up in my Spectorian Echoes series.

      Thank you very much for taking time to visit, dear friend Belle. I hope you are in good health and good spirits. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  9. well, howdy again!
    this time, i find myself really loving the American Spring. their easy breezy sound and well balanced instrumentation is just really getting to me.
    also, how cool that you're doing these things like keeping Brian Wilson's projects alive. that going hand in hand with revealing their music to other audiences (namely younger folks, like me).
    thank you so much, i've just really enjoyed this series!
    -Abigail and Daisy

    1. Hello and welcome again, dear Abigail! I'm very happy to know you enjoyed this series and learned from it. I certainly learned a lot doing my research. Until a few months ago I had never heard of the Honeys, the Super Stocks, The Usherettes or Sharon Marie (Pt. 1), never heard of the Brian Wilson - Glen Campbell classic "Guess I'm Dumb" (Pt. 2), never heard of Ginger and the Snaps, Spring or American Spring, never knew that Pat Boone made a Beach Boys sound-alike record called "Beach Girl" (Pt. 3) and never heard of English songbird Alison Wonder (Pt. 4).

      Thank you very much for being here for me week after week, Abigail. You and Daisy are two of my dearest friends. Stay tuned now for two Halloween related posts, the first one to be published this Sunday. Enjoy the rest of your week, dear Abigail!

  10. Gosh- there is SO much in life I do not know! I've heard of the Honeys, and I've seen Marilyn in Spots when her daughters have been on tv, but I never put the two together. Now I'm going to be thinking about that all day. Thank you, my friend, for continually educating me about the things in life I find interesting!

    1. Hi, Shelly! I'm happy to see you here for the conclusion of my Honeys series. As I look back over the four parts it continues to amaze me how many great recordings the girls made in their various incarnations. One excellent track that I wanted to include in the series is "It's The Thought That Counts." However, it was still not available on YouTube at publishing time. I hope you learned a thing or two about the Honeys, Brian Wilson and the other featured artists and I thank you very much for stopping by. Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend, dear friend Shelly!

  11. Hi Shady! (better late than never--right?)
    What a shame the Honeys were never a huge hit with all their talents! Thank you for enlightening us their songs. My favorite on this post is , "Romeo and Juliet". Mostly, because it brings back a wonderful memory of mine. In 1968 I went to see the movie (when I was 8 yrs.old) I can remember my mom not being too pleased with me going to see it but, my older sister took me and covered my eyes on one particular scene!
    As I've said before, I love Wilson Phillips. I always knew that 2 of the members (sisters) were Brian Wilsons daughters but NEVER knew a thing about their mother (Marilyn Rovell). It's NO WONDER the girls were so talented!!! Thank you for sharing your info/knowledge on this wonderful girl band!
    Toni Deroche

    1. Hi, dear Toni! Thank you for coming to my Part 4 potty! I don't think I ever saw the movie Romeo & Juliet. Sounds like a chick flick. :) I'm pleased to know you enjoyed the Honeys rendition of the popular song and learned about the Rovells and Ginger Blake and the other artists in this post who were mentored or influenced by composing genius Brian Wilson.

      Thank you for a wonderful comment, dear friend Toni. Now stay tuned for my annual SDMM Halloween Spooktacular - back-to-back posts guaranteed to scare the pants off of you!
      Enjoy the rest of your week and have a safe and happy weekend!


You talkin' to me?