Mary Ann's singing on Gilligan's Island has a strong tie to Led Zeppelin
That wasn't actually Dawn Wells singing in the Honeybees.
"Don't Bug the Mosquitoes," the hip-swinging second season episode of Gilligan's Island, is a sheer delight for lovers of Sixties pop music. On its surface, the 1965 sitcom tale is a loving spoof of the British Invasion and the girl-group phenomenon that were sweeping the charts. The rock band that lands on the Castaway's island, the Mosquitoes, is an obvious riff on the Beatles. The group's members — Bongo, Bango, Bingo and Irving — are a comical twist on Ringo and the Fab Four.
In response to this mop-topped quartet, the women on the island form their own band, the Honeybees, styled after the Supremes, the Shangri-Las, the Ronettes, etc.
Dig a little deeper and you will find even cooler rock 'n' roll trivia.
For instance, the fellows playing the Mosquitoes were not only a real band, the Wellingtons, but the same dudes who sang the theme song to Gilligan's Island, as heard in season one. The harmonizing Wellingtons were regulars on the hep musical television showcase Shindig!, which was at the height of its popularity in 1965. It was a nifty way for the sitcom to feature the musicians who sang its memorable theme.
And that brings us to the Honeybees — Mary Ann, Ginger and Mrs. Howell — who shimmy and sing their number "You Need Us" in an unforgettable act. You can see a clip in the video above.
Only, that was not Dawn Wells singing the Mary Ann parts. The vocals for the stranded girl-next-door from Kansas were provided by Jackie DeShannon.
DeShannon (real name Sharon Lee Myers) went from a childhood in Illinois to early rock 'n' roll stardom at the start of the Sixties. Her early singles like "Lonely Girl" struggled to crack the charts, but she finally got her big break in 1964 when she opened for the Beatles on tour. That'll do it.
Months before "Don't Bug the Mosquitoes," DeShannon scored a massive hit with "What the World Needs Now Is Love."
The Beatles connection also brought DeShannon to the U.K. Across the pond, she recorded some records, including "Don’t Turn Your Back on Me." The young session guitarist on the track happened to be Jimmy Page. DeShannon and Page forged a fleeting musical and romantic partnership.
Page would, of course, later go on to form Led Zeppelin. DeShannon would continue to have some minor influence on the arena gods. The Zep cut "Tangerine," found on the folky Led Zeppelin III, is said to be inspired by the break-up of DeShannon and Page — who split around the time of "Don't Bug the Mosquitoes."
See? Gilligan's Island rocks!