Critics hail Good Vibrations as the greatest single in history. So, how did they create this killer track? Watch the video to discover the story behind this pop music classic!
A Pocket Symphony
Critics hail Good Vibrations as the greatest single in history. In order to create the track, Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys built on the modular technique he pioneered while recording Pet Sounds. First of all, Brian recorded tracks using band members and session musicians. Next, he tried combining the recordings in different ways. Finally, once he was happy with the sound, he layered it up. Then, he and spliced the result into a single backing track. As a result of this innovative process, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys could subtly change the tone and mood of the song. The effect takes our breath away. In fact, publicist Derek Taylor used the term “pocket symphony” to describe the complex, changing forms.
Good Vibrations changed the course of the entire rock era. No doubt such greatness didn’t come cheap. At a price of $25,000, it was one of the most expensive singles recorded at the time. And how about that title? Well, Brian Wilson, like many others at the time, took an interest in cosmic vibrations. The title and the mood of the backing track explore ESP (extrasensory perception). Brian’s interest in ESP probably came from his mom. She taught him about people with bad vibes, using the example of dogs who bark at strangers. She encouraged him to put out Good Vibrations. The mood of the song sits beneath Mike Love’s lyrics about the Flower Power movement.
A Lasting Legacy
Good Vibrations rocked the world of pop music. It was “out of sight.” In fact, this track elevated the recording studio to an instrument. No longer was the studio just a place to record. A producer could use the studio as a tool to shape the sound of a track. The song inspired psychedelic rock, marking a transition point in music. Good Vibrations helped to usher in the sounds of 70s rock. The Beach Boys released the track on October 10, 1966. And was an instant hit, topping the charts in the US and UK.