[59] The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations

23 May

Would Queen ever have written, recorded and released “Bohemian Rhapsody” if The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” had stayed shelved after Brian Wilson left it off of Pet Sounds?

"Good Vibrations" was eventually released on [i]Smiley Smile[/i]

“Good Vibrations” was eventually released on Smiley Smile

I am actually asking the question here, not making a statement of manifesto – I am genuinely curious.

The song is an old familiar classic that, perhaps, has lost the ability to shock and amaze.  We take the mood changes, the time signature shifts, and the  sound of the (then almost unknown)  electro-theremin for granted.  It has become another beloved, if overplayed, track for Oldies stations everywhere.

OK, sounds superficially a lot like “BoRap” so far.

The following are all quotes from the Wikipedia page on Good Vibrations:

“Layered production”, “recorded piece by piece . . . over weeks at multiple studios”, “a cut up mosaic of musical sections marked by several discordant key and modal shifts”, “dubbed a “pocket symphony””. “People complained, “that’s going to be too long a record.””

And don’t forget the tight vocal harmonies . . .

The Queen track takes things to much further extremes – it is almost twice as long, its different sections are more pronounced and differentiated – but everything mentioned above could be equally applied to either recording.

At the time they were recorded, first “Good Vibrations” and then “Bohemian Rhapsody” was the most expensive single ever made.

There is a great website making the rounds right now showing the dangers of confusing correlation with causation, so I will not make any rash pronouncements.

Instead I’ll just sit back in the New York City humidity and let The Beach Boys tease me with the California sun.

Next Week:  The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

Owned before blogging? Yes. (3 of 59 = 5%)
Heard before blogging? Yes. (5 of 59 = 8%)
Recommend? Yes. (47 of 59 = 80%)

2 Responses to “[59] The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations”


  1. [60] The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - May 30, 2014

    […] Only Knows” aren’t among the very best Pop tracks ever recorded.  Along with “Good Vibrations” I believe they are the Beach Boys’ three best […]

  2. [117] Lo Borges – Lo Borges | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - July 3, 2015

    […] that is intoxicating.  And the connection to the sound of the Beatles (and to a lesser extent The Beach Boys) is […]

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