Sunday, July 19, 2015

God Only Knows

God Only Knows is one of my favorite pop songs.1 It's from the Pet Sounds album by the Beach Boys (1966).

Experts have admired Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys for decades but most people have forgotten (or never knew) about their best songs. (Good Vibrations was released as a single at the same time as Pet Sounds.)

I haven't yet seen the movie about Brian Wilson (Love & Mercy).

The first video is a BBC production from 2014 paying tribute to (and featuring) Brian Wilson. The second video is from 1966.





1. I will delete any snarky comments about God and atheism.

16 comments :

  1. I'm a huge fan of the Beach Boys too (but then again, who isn't?, after all it's an observable fact that they're great, haha), and God only knows is a fantastic song.
    I also listen to a lot of other artists / songs with religious themes like Marvin Gaye or Violent Femmes. Good music is good music

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  2. I had the DJ play this for our first dance at my wedding.

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  3. My vote for best Beach Boys album is Holland. Not that there aren't plenty of other great songs.

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  4. I just saw a concert in toronto of WILSON -PHILIPS. Two are the kids of Brian.
    They sang the song and said it was Paul; Mccartney's favorite song ever.
    i read the song was in some way not welcomed by radio stations because of mentioning GOD. . From the left wing. they were already hostile to , seeming, Christian songs. Strange but not maybe not.
    I love the beach boys and thats a good soft song of theirs. Others of theirs are better.

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    1. They sang the song and said it was Paul; Mccartney's favorite song ever.

      I recall Elton John, among others, also saying it was his favourite song. McCartney has also said that "Sgt. Pepper" was motivated by the Beatles' attempting to outdo "Pet Sounds." There was a mutually beneficial friendly rivalry between the two bands

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    2. Byers says: i read the song was in some way not welcomed by radio stations because of mentioning GOD. . From the left wing. they were already hostile to , seeming, Christian songs. Strange but not maybe not.

      Larry specifically forbade snarky comments about God and atheism, which should include Byers' censorship fantasies.

      Delete
  5. Fabulous song. Brian Wilson's a giant not only as a songwriter but as a producer (he recorded Good Vibrations in four different studios to get the exact sounds he wanted for the various parts of the song). Y'know that funny little syncopated percussion sound in God Only Knows? An empty Coke can.

    I have Wilson's latest album and love it, though most critics panned it.

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    1. You can't miss it, so you're hearing it and not realizing what it is.

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  6. On the topic of the Beach Boys generally, I will comment on something that I've wondered about for decades. But it's NSFW.

    When I was a college undergraduate, my dorm mates and I were discussing the Beach Boys. One fellow with a large record collection insisted that in the song "Catch a Wave" you can hear, clear as day, the Beach Boys singing "Suck my @#%&."

    Now we all expressed utter disbelief that a song we had heard many times on the radio could contain such a phrase. Surely a bluenose Byers would have heard it and demanded the song be censored if that were true. So we denied the possibility of such a thing being true.

    So my friend put a BB vinyl disc on the turntable (old school tech) and it came blaring out of speakers on all sides of us, as his stereo was quite amazing. And in the middle of the song, laced into the lovely vocal harmonies, were the Beach Boys singing "Suck my @#$%", as clear as day. We all fell on the floor laughing.

    It wasn't a gag record or novelty, it was a regular BB album, though I forget which one.

    In recent years I have been googling this from time to time, but it seems still, no one on the whole internet knows that in "Catch a Wave" you can hear "Suck my @#$%." Am I the only one who heard it?

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  7. Replies
    1. Yeah, because ID sucks almost as much as Collective Soul

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  8. My favourite Wilson song is the quirky (and neglected, I think) "Heroes and Villains".

    Has no bearing on his genius but this was from a 2011 interview:
    "Do you have any particular religion that you follow? Not really, no."

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    1. I also like Heroes and Villains.

      God Only Knows has nothing to do with religion.

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  9. Speaking of God in popular song titles/lyrics, been listening to Jason Isbell's Something More than Free and this amusing bit of chorus from "24 Frames;"

    You thought God was an architect,

    But now you know,

    He's more like a pipe bomb ready to blow....

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  10. You have to search far and wide to find a bad Beach Boys song.

    Diogenes: I think they are singing "get yourself a big board."

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