Pitchfork once claimed that the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” was the single best song of the 1960s, which would be startling only if it weren’t true. Herewith, some minor factoids concerning the song:
- Only one of the Beach Boys Carl Wilson, who also sang lead actually plays on the track: he’s on twelve-string guitar.
- Paul McCartney said it was his favorite song, period.
- There’s a vocal version of it in the videogame Bioshock Infinite.
The BBC “Impossible Orchestra” version, recorded as a charity one-off in October, has detractors, like this guy in the Independent:
With its message, that the BBC “owns” the entire musical waterfront and licence-fee payers would do well to remember that, it is the kind of propaganda film an autocratic regime sensing that its legitimacy is crumbling might produce.
By which I infer that he’d be just fine with it had it come out on Channel 4 or ITV.
But the hell with that noise. It’s a stirring rendition of a seriously beautiful song, and I don’t care how preposterous the presentation might be.
You’re excused if you didn’t recognize Pharrell without a hat.
(Previous “God Only Knows” discussion here.)