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|Single by The Beach Boys|
|from the album Smiley Smile|
|B-side||"Let's Go Away for Awhile"|
|Released||October 10, 1966|
|Writer(s)||Brian Wilson, Mike Love|
|The Beach Boys singles chronology|
Released as a single on October 10, 1966 (backed with the Pet Sounds instrumental "Let's Go Away For Awhile"), it was the Beach Boys' third US number one hit after "I Get Around" and "Help Me, Rhonda", reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1966, as well as being their first British chart-topper. Initiated during the sessions for the Pet Sounds album, it was not taken from or issued as a lead single for an album, but as a stand-alone single, although it would be later considered for the aborted Smile project. It would ultimately be placed on the album Smiley Smile eleven months after its release and was part of Wilson's complete recording of Smile in 2004.
Wilson's publicist Derek Taylor described "Good Vibrations" as a "pocket symphony". It featured instruments unusual for a pop song, including prominent use of the cello and an electro-theremin. It is number six on Rolling Stone's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time." The song "Good Vibrations" is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.
Inspiration and composition 
Wilson recounted the genesis of the title "Good Vibrations" in his 1995 biopic, I Just Wasn't Made for These Times, and at other times. When he was a child, his mother told him that dogs could pick up "vibrations" from people, so that the dog would bark at "bad vibrations". Wilson turned this into the general idea of vibrations (and Mike Love putting "good" in front of vibrations), and developed the idea of people being able to do the same with emotions.
Wilson first enlisted Pet Sounds lyricist Tony Asher for help in putting words to the idea. Soon after they met, Wilson asked his new writing partner Van Dyke Parks to pen lyrics for the song, but Parks declined. Beach Boys bandmate Mike Love supplied the final version of the lyrics around late-August, 1966.
Originally composed during the Pet Sounds/Smile sessions with original lyrics by Tony Asher, the song was recorded by Wilson in sections at different studios in order to capture the sound he heard in his head. Building upon the layered production approach he had begun to use with the Pet Sounds album, he devoted months of effort to this single track.
The instrumental of the first version of the song was recorded on February 17, 1966. It was described in the session log as "#1 Untitled" (or as "Good, Good, Good Vibrations"), though on the tape Brian Wilson distinctly says "Good Vibrations, Take One". After 26 takes, a rough mono mix completed the session. Rough guide vocals were recorded the following day. By February 25, Wilson had placed the recording on hold in order to devote attention to the Pet Sounds album. The track was revisited on May 24, 1966, and worked on until June 18, at which time he put it aside again until August 24. The various sections of the song were edited together in a sort of musical collage, similar to the Beatles' later "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "A Day in the Life" records, both inspired by the works of Brian Wilson (according to Paul McCartney).
The distinctive high-pitched sliding electronic sound in the choruses and at the end of the track was created with an Electro-Theremin, played by Paul Tanner, and first used by Wilson on the track "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times".
The production of the song spanned seventeen recording sessions at four different recording studios. The recording is reported to have used over 90 hours of magnetic recording tape, with an eventual budget of $50,000. According to Wilson, the Electro-Theremin work cost $15,000. Wilson is credited with developing the use of the recording studio as an instrument: he, the Beach Boys, and dozens of top studio musicians, including members of the Wrecking Crew, recorded and re-recorded seemingly unrelated musical and vocal sections for the song, then edited and mixed these sections into a 3:35 track.
The recording and production style used on the "Good Vibrations" single established Wilson's new method of operation: the recording and re-recording of specific sections of music, followed by rough mixes of the sections edited together, further recording as required, and the construction of the final mix from the component elements. This was the modular approach to recording that was used during the sessions for Smile.
Encouraged by the success of the song, Wilson continued working on the Smile project, intended as an entire album using the writing and production techniques devised for "Good Vibrations." That album was shelved as Wilson descended into depression, drug use, and paranoia; several tracks salvaged from those sessions were re-recorded in greatly simplified versions for the Smiley Smile album instead, on which the previously completed 1966 "Good Vibrations" made its first LP appearance.
The song was also published in 1993 on the Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys box set, and in 2011 on the 1966–1967 Smile Sessions box set. Both box sets include extracts and highlights from the "Good Vibrations" sessions.
40th anniversary single 
In celebration of its 40th year, the Good Vibrations: 40th Anniversary Edition single was released. The single includes five versions of "Good Vibrations" including:
- the original single version
- various session takes
- an alternate take (previously released on the Beach Boys' Rarities album)
- instrumental track in stereo
- a live concert rehearsal (from Hawaii 08/1967).
- also included is the original B-side of the single, "Let's Go Away for Awhile" (stereo-mix).
Except as indicated, all tracks are in mono.
Stereophonic mixes 
There had never been an official true stereo release of the final track until the 2012 remastered version of Smiley Smile, although numerous fan-created stereo mixes have been attempted over the Internet. In 2002 DSP (Disky Special Products) released in the Netherlands a various artist compilation CD named Radio 192 - The Radio's on – 40 Echte radio hits which contains a stereo mix of this song, possibly using the stereo instrumental track mixed with the mono vocals. It has been said that not enough stems exist to actually create a new stereo mix, something echoed by Mark Linett's 1988 rough mixes of the Smile material. This is due to the vocal tracks being currently missing. Bruce Johnston has stated that he believes they were accidentally destroyed in 1967 during a "spring cleaning" of the Columbia studio. However, a stereo version of the instrumental backing track was issued in 2006 on the 40th anniversary "Good Vibrations" EP.
The 2012 stereo mix was made possible by newly invented digital technology by Derry Fitzgerald, with the blessings of Brian Wilson and Mark Linett. This software extracted individual instrumental and vocal stems from the original mono master — as the multi-track vocals remained missing — to construct the stereo version that now appears on the re-issue of Smiley Smile.
According to Badman, the single sold over 230,000 copies in the US during its first four days of its release, and entered the Cash Box chart at number 61 on October 22. It eventually became their first "million-selling single" topping the Billboard charts in 1966. In the UK, the song sold over 50,000 copies in the first 15 days of its release according to EMI. The record later reached number-one on the British charts.
Both the New Musical Express and Melody Maker gave positive reviews at the time of the single's release.
"Good Vibrations" earned The Beach Boys a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Group performance in 1966 and the song was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994. It has featured highly in many 'Top 100 Records of All Time' charts and was voted number one in the Mojo Top 100 Records of All Time chart in 1997. Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Good Vibrations" at No. 6 in "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time", the highest position of seven Beach Boys songs cited in the list. It outranked The Beatles's highest ranking song, "Hey Jude", which was placed at number eight. The song was also voted number 24 in the RIAA and NEA's listing of Songs of the Century. "Good Vibrations" is currently ranked as the number three song of all time in an aggregation of critics' lists at acclaimedmusic.net.
David Leaf, author of the critically acclaimed biography, The Beach Boys and The California Myth, said of the song, "Nothing but perfection here. The Beach Boys' first million-selling #1 hit ... was a major technical breakthrough ... the record that showed that anything was possible in the studio."
Praise was not universal, however, and Pete Townshend of the Who was quoted at the time as saying "'Good Vibrations' was probably a good record but who's to know? You had to play it about 90 bloody times to even hear what they were singing about", and feared that the single would lead to over-produced records in general.
|List||Publisher||Rank||Year of publication|
|500 Greatest Songs of All Time||Rolling Stone||6||2010|
|500 Songs That Shaped Rock||Rock & Roll Hall of Fame||N/A||1995|
|365 Songs of the Century||RIAA||24||2001|
|100 Greatest Rock Songs||VH1||8||2000|
|Australian Singles Chart||1|
|Belgian Singles Chart||6|
|Canadian Singles Chart||2|
|Dutch Singles Chart||4|
|German Singles Chart||8|
|Italian Singles Chart||12|
|Malaysian Singles Chart||1|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||1|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||2|
|Rhodesian Singles Chart||1|
|UK Singles Chart||1|
|US Billboard Hot 100||1|
Solo Brian Wilson version 
In 2004, a re-recorded version of Smile was finally completed by Wilson, Parks, and Darian Sahanaja, with Wilson's touring band in place of the other Beach Boys and studio musicians. It was released in September of that year, to widespread critical acclaim. "Good Vibrations" was released as a single prior to the album, also featuring a live version of the song.
According to Wilson, when he re-recorded "Good Vibrations", his wife, Melinda, suggested he use the original lyrics written by Tony Asher. However, it was necessary to augment Asher's lyrics with Mike Love's, which include the opening line ("I, I love the colorful clothes she wears,") the chorus couplet ("I'm pickin' up good vibrations / She's givin' me the excitations") and the two bridges (the "I don't know where but she sends me there" section, and the "Gotta keep those lovin'-good vibrations happenin' with her" section.) Accordingly, Love was also credited on the 2004 album version, along with Asher.
In addition to incorporating most of the original Tony Asher lyrics, the Smile version also includes the "Hum-Be-Dum" harmony section not included in the 1966 release.
- The Beach Boys
- Al Jardine – harmony and backing vocals
- Bruce Johnston – harmony and backing vocals
- Mike Love – lead, harmony and backing vocals
- Brian Wilson – lead, harmony and backing vocals; organ
- Carl Wilson – lead, harmony and backing vocals; bass guitar; percussion
- Dennis Wilson – harmony and backing vocals; hammond organ
- Additional musicians and production staff
- Hal Blaine – drums, percussion
- Jimmy Bond – upright bass
- Al de Lory – tack piano
- Jesse Ehrlich – cello
- Jim Gordon – drums
- Larry Knechtel – Hammond organ
- Tommy Morgan – harmonica
- Ray Pohlman – bass guitar
- Don Randi – harpsichord
- Lyle Ritz – upright bass
- Paul Tanner – Electro-Theremin
See also 
- Faithful, a 1976 album by Todd Rundgren which includes a nearly identical cover of the song.
- Limbic resonance
- "Mike Love interview". Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- Joe Stuessy, Scott David Lipscomb, Rock and roll: its history and stylistic development , ISBN 0-13-601068-7, p. 75.
- "Brad Elliott review". BradElliott.com. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- "The Top Psychedelic Pop Songs". Allmusic.
- "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "500 songs that shaped rock and roll" 
- "News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- "Interview with Brian Wilson". theaquarian.com. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- "Six One News: Irish engineer remixes Beach Boys Classic". rte.ie. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
- Cash Box Top 100 10/22/66
- "The Rubberization of Soul". UNT Digital Library. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
- "Acclaimed Music Top 3000 songs". 27 May 2009.
- The Beach Boys, Keith Badman, p. 156
- "Australian Singles Charts". mountvernonandfairway.de. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
- "Belgian Singles Charts". mountvernonandfairway.de. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
- "Dutch Singles Charts". mountvernonandfairway.de. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
- "German Singles Charts". mountvernonandfairway.de. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
- "Italian Singles Charts". mountvernonandfairway.de. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
- Priore, Domenic (1997). Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile!. p. 27. ISBN 0-86719-417-0.
- "New Zealand Singles Charts". mountvernonandfairway.de. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
- "Norwegian Singles Charts". mountvernonandfairway.de. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
- "Rhodesian Singles Charts". mountvernonandfairway.de. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
- Brian Wilson presents Smile (Sheet music folio), Rondor Music International, ISBN 0-634-09289-8
- Badman, Keith. The Beach Boys, The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band on Stage and in the Studio. Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-818-4.
- Greg Panfile's Musical Analysis of "Good Vibrations"
- List of Rankings of "Good Vibrations"
- Sound on Sound article on the arrangement of "Good Vibrations"
- BBC Radio 2: "Good Vibrations"
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
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|US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
December 10–17, 1966
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|UK Singles Chart number-one single
November 19 - December 3, 1966
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|Australian Singles Chart number-one single
December 10 – December 17, 1966
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