Brian Wilson Didn’t Think ‘Good Vibrations’ Would Change Pop Music While Recording the Beach Boys Song

Brian Wilson is a singer, songwriter, and the mastermind behind the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” When he was writing this song, though, he didn’t think that it would “[change] pop music” the way that it did. 

Brian Wilson is a founding member of the Beach Boys, writing hits like ‘Help Me Ronda’

Musicians Brian Wilson and Mike Love of The Beach Boys perform at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Musicians Brian Wilson and Mike Love of The Beach Boys perform at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

With the original lineup consisting of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine, the Beach Boys were one of the most influential bands of their time. 

The surf rock group released songs like “God Only Knows,” “Kokomo,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” earning a handful of Grammy nominations in the process. One of the songwriters for their group was Brian Wilson, who also created the band’s hit song, “Good Vibrations.” 

Brian Wilson didn’t think ‘Good Vibrations’ would ‘[change] pop music’ when he wrote it

Brian Wilson is credited as a songwriter for several Beach Boys hits, including “Good Vibrations.” While naming some of his favorite Beach Boys songs, of course, this hit made the list — even if he didn’t think it would be influential while writing it.

“I don’t think we changed pop music with ‘Good Vibrations,’ no. I don’t think so,” Wilson said during an interview with Esquire Magazine. “Other people do? Oh, ok. Good! But it sure was different at the time.” 

Wilson wrote this track with the Beach Boys’ Mike Love, along with other producers and engineers. It eventually earned a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Group performance.

“The evening that we cut it at CBS — Columbia studios — I just remember the engineer saying, ‘Hey, Brian, this is going to be a really good record,’” he continued. “But I knew, too. I knew it was going to be a good record. Did I ever have any sense that almost 50 years later, I’d still be talking about ‘Good Vibrations?’ No. I never thought so. No way!”

“Good Vibrations” even made it to the Beach Boys’ Live Aid setlist, with the group performing “California Girls,” “Help Me, Rhonda,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Good Vibrations,” and “Surfin’ U.S.A.” for the charity event. 

Even decades after its release, “Good Vibrations” remains a fan-favorite Beach Boys track, with the song raking up over 315 million Spotify plays. This song was also used in Jordan Peele’s horror movie Us and mentioned in the sitcom titled Full House.

Brian Wilson mentioned his personal favorite Beach Boys songs, including ‘God Only Knows’

According to the same Esquire article, Wilson’s favorite Beach Boys songs include “In My Room,” “Surf’s Up,” and “God Only Knows.” According to this songwriter, the Beach Boys’ “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” was a “social statement.”

Music by the Beach Boys, including “Good Vibrations,” is available on most major streaming platforms.

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