Meaning of God Only Knows by The Beach Boys

The stunning rock ballad God Only Knows, which Paul McCartney has described as his favorite song, is considered one of The Beach Boys’ finest songs. But at the same time, immediately after the release, she hardly got into the “Top 40” of the American chart. Perhaps the reason was the mention of God in the title, which was unusual and bold for those times.

The history of the creation of the song God Only Knows

The lyrics were written by Tony Asher and the music was composed by Brian Wilson, who was inspired by one of John Sebastian’s compositions. Asher claimed that even in the process of working on the song, he recognized it as a future hit. It seemed to him that the words were not as effective as the music, but he did not doubt the future success of the track.

Wilson at first really disliked the first line. He thought she was “too negative.” In the end, he agreed to keep it, acknowledging that further lyrics reveal the true meaning of the song.

The meaning of God Only Knows

Now a little about the name God Only Knows, which was almost revolutionary for commercial songs. The year was 1966, when Americans went to church with their whole families on weekends and consulted with preachers on important issues. As Usher said, “…if you weren’t Kate Smith and you weren’t singing ‘God Bless America,’ no one would dare think you could mention God in a song.”

That’s why Brian Wilson was categorically against using the Lord’s name. He believed that they would refuse to put such a song on the radio. But Tony Asher was able to convince him. It is not known how many radio stations did not want to air God Only Knows for this reason, but such a move made the public pay attention to the song.

It was originally planned that Brian Wilson would sing God Only Knows, but it seemed to him that Carl, his brother, performed it more effectively and touchingly.

Recording and release

The song God Only Knows was recorded in March-April 1966 at Hollywood Studios Western Records (music) and Columbia Studios (vocals). More than twenty musicians participated in the work on the composition, although only sixteen were officially listed.

God Only Knows was included as the eighth track on the album Pet Sounds. In the US charts, the song took only 39th place. But in other countries it has achieved greater popularity. For example, in the UK, she climbed to the second line of the local hit parade.

Rolling Stone ranked it #25 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, while Mojo ranked God Only Knows #13 on its list of the best songs.

No less valuable is the recognition of Sir Paul McCartney, who said in an interview:

Recently, I was asked for a Japanese radio to name ten favorite songs … I did not have to think long and painfully over this, and in the first place of the list I put it .

Clip God Only Knows – The Beach Boys

Check out the music video for the song.

God Only Knows has been covered by Neil Diamond, David Bowie and many other artists.

Interesting Facts

  • Simon Neil of the Scottish band Biffy Clyro has the lyrics tattooed on his chest.
  • God Only Knows can be heard in several famous films (Boogie Nights, True Love, and others).

God Only Knows Lyrics

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it

God only knows what I’d be without you

If you should ever leave me
Thought life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

If you should ever leave me
Well life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

God Only Knows Lyrics

Maybe I won’t always love you
But as long as the stars shine above you,
You don’t have to doubt
I can convince you

Only God knows what would happen to me without you

If you ever leave me,
Though life will go on, trust me
The world will make no sense to me
So why should I live

If you ever leave me,
Well, life will go on, believe me
But in the world there will be nothing interesting for me,
So why should I live

Song quote

God Only Knows is one of the few songs that makes me cry every time I hear it.

Paul McCartney

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