Sunday Music – God Only Knows

Posted on Sun 12/24/2017 by


Today’s music video is God Only Knows and the song is performed here by that iconic American band The Beach Boys.

Link to Video at You Tube

This video was posted to You Tube by ViBach9

I have always liked this song, even though I was not really much of a fan of The Beach Boys. I liked some of their songs, but I was more of a fan of those groups from England which were so huge at the time. However, all that changed with the release of Good Vibrations in 1966, and that huge song that was a Worldwide smash hit. It made me more aware of this band’s music, and the earlier song had a sort of revival when Good Vibrations became so huge.

This song was one side of a double sided hit for the band, and was released late in 1966, so it had just about dropped out of the charts as Good Vibrations started its own rise up the charts.

One side was Wouldn’t It Be Nice, and God Only Knows was the other side. Now why I haven’t specifically named which side of the Single was which, God Only Knows was the B Side in the U.S. and in many overseas Countries including here in Australia, it was the A Side. The double sided hit rose to Number 2 on the charts here in Australia.

This song was one of the songs from what is arguably one of the best albums of all times Pet Sounds. That albums had four Singles on it which all charted highly.

It was written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, and the lead vocals are sung here by Carl Wilson.

This song caused a fair bit of agony in the band and their close followers when they first heard it. It is without doubt, a love song, but the agony was caused by the use of the word God, not just in the lyrics, but in the title itself, because it was a word not used in popular music culture at all. People who heard the song said that they were astonished when they heard it, and said that the band, and the song’s writer Brian Wilson especially were taking a huge chance in including the word in the lyrics, some even suggesting that because of that one word, there would be radio stations which would not play it, and in fact, that actually happened, but because of the nature of the song, a love song, the lyric was just so strong that there was just no way it could be replaced with another word.

As well as having such a strong lyric, the music itself was just as strong, a truly beautiful piece of music, even without the lyrics included.

The song has actually been credited with reviving the out and out love song as a stand alone thing in popular music.

This was a a time when what is referred to as The British Invasion was all but taking over popular music, and American artists and bands were taking a back seat to all that wonderful music, songs and new artists coming out of the UK. While they didn’t say it at the time, The Beach Boys were competing with The Beatles, and as it came out later, The Beatles in turn were also competing with The Beach Boys, both bands eagerly waiting for the other band’s latest releases to see what they had to do next to ‘beat’ that. What that led to was a win win for the music loving public, who were assailed with so much new and absolutely astonishing new material from both sides of the Atlantic.

After Good Vibrations became so huge, it gave me a whole new appreciation for the music from The Beach Boys, and perhaps my second favourite song from the band, at that time, was this song.

This song gives a whole new meaning to the interplay of harmonies, on so many levels.

In much the same manner as The Beatles were experimenting with new musical instruments, so were The Beach Boys, and this song utilises just that, some unusual instruments for a pop song, including Accordians, a harpsichord, sleigh bells and a French Horn, as well as a classical quartet of strings in the song as well.

It’s hard to believe that so much can be crammed into a song that is under three minutes in length.

Even then, this song may not have been released as a Single had it not been for the fact that the Studio was pressuring the band for a new Single, and the band’s huge new song, Good Vibrations was not quite ready, so they made the decision to release this double sided Single instead, and to work more completely on Good Vibrations.

We all won when this beautiful song was released.

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