|Brian Wilson's mother used to tell him about
how some people give off "Good Vibrations," which is why dogs bark
at some people and not others. Wilson was trying to write a song
that gave off these "Good Vibrations."
|At the time, this was the most expensive pop
song ever recorded. It cost $40,000 to make.
|Brian Wilson worked on this obsessively. At
the time, he stayed home and wrote music while the rest of the band
toured. Wilson was just starting a very bizarre phase of his life
where he would spend long periods in bed and work in a sandbox.
During this period, many considered him a genius because of the
groundbreaking songs and recording techniques he came up with.
|This was recorded over a 2 month period. About
90 hours of studio time and 70 hours of tape were used. Because so
much tape was recorded for this, there are many alternate versions.
|The song describes a really good acid trip.
Wilson was doing a lot of it when he wrote this, which could be why
it sounds so unusual. There is nothing in the lyrics specifically
about drugs, however, so radio stations were able to play it and it
became a huge hit.
|Wilson recorded this with session musicians,
not his fellow Beach Boys. Glen Campbell played lead guitar.
|Some of the unusual sounds were produced using
a Theremin; a strange instrument that used electric current to
produce sound. It was played by moving the hand across the electric
field, and was very hard to control.
|Wilson called this a "Pocket Symphony."
|Wilson started writing this while recording
The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album. Once the album was finished,
he focused on this song. Wilson was not happy about the poor reviews
critics gave Pet Sounds, which today is considered a landmark
record, so he worked even harder on this.
|This was recorded in fragments - 6 different
LA studios were used in the recording process, and tape from four of
these studios was used in the final cut of the track. It was the
first pop song pieced together from parts. In the next few years,
The Beatles did a lot of this, as they took various unfinished songs
they had written and combined them to make one. (thanks, Gary -
Auckland, New Zealand)
|Most of The Beach Boys songs featured the
vocals of either Mike Love or Brian Wilson, but Carl Wilson was the
lead singer on this.
|This was the beginning of what was going to be
an album called Smile. Wilson recorded the album in about 50
sessions, but it was never released. Considered a "lost album," no
one is sure if Wilson will ever finish it.
|This was the last US #1 hit for The Beach Boys
until "Kokomo" went to #1 22 years later. This is the longest anyone
has gone between #1 hits.
|Sunkist orange soda used this commercials in
|Todd Rundgren covered this in 1977 on his
Faithful album. True to the album's name, Todd went to great
lengths to reproduce every vocal and instrumental aspect of the song
(along with several other '60s hits). Rundgren's almost-exact copy
was a minor hit single on its own. (thanks, Tom - Buffalo, NY)
|In 2004, Wilson finally finished his Smile
album. When he played the album on tour that year, this got a
|In 2005, a Broadway musical called "Good
Vibrations" opened. The show was based on Beach Boys songs, but
failed to find an audience; it closed less than 3 months later.