You Are So Beautiful

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"You Are So Beautiful"
Single by Joe Cocker
from the album I Can Stand a Little Rain
Released 1974
Recorded 1974
Genre Pop, blue-eyed soul
Length 2:41
Label A&M
Writer(s) Dennis Wilson, Billy Preston, Bruce Fisher
Producer(s) Rob Fraboni
Joe Cocker singles chronology
"Midnight Rider"
"You Are So Beautiful"
"Up Where We Belong"

"You Are So Beautiful" is a song written by Dennis Wilson, Bruce Fisher and Billy Preston. It was first recorded by Preston and made popular by Joe Cocker.

Preston's original version first appeared on his 1974 album The Kids & Me. Cocker's producer, Jim Price, created a slowed-down arrangement for Cocker's version, which first appeared on the album, I Can Stand a Little Rain (released later in 1974). Released as a single, the Joe Cocker version reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1975 and helped the album become a hit. It would be his biggest hit until his duet with Jennifer Warnes, "Up Where We Belong", which reached #1 in 1982.

According to biographer Jon Stebbins, songwriter Dennis Wilson claimed that he and Preston spontaneously collaborated on the words and music to the song at a party.[1] Wilson sang the song as an encore at Beach Boys shows intermittently from 1975 until his death in 1983. A live rendition by the Beach Boys was released on the live album Good Timin': Live at Knebworth England 1980 in 2002. While there are no known verifiable corroborations of Stebbins' story, many of those close to Wilson and the Beach Boys have backed up the story. The song's simple lyrical idea is in the style of Wilson's other material.


  • In 1976 Kenny Rankin recorded a version on The Kenny Rankin Album.
  • Ray Stevens recorded it in 1976 for his album Just for the Record. Stevens' version reached number 16 on the Hot Country Songs charts.
  • Trombonist Urbie Green recorded the tune in 1977 on his album Señor Blues with Grover Washington Jr & David Matthews' Big Band (CTI Super7079).
  • In 1983 Kenny Rogers recorded a version on his album We've Got Tonight.
  • Perry Como recorded the song in his 1983 album "So It Goes".
  • Cows covered the song in 1991 on an Amphetamine Reptile Peel Sessions CD.
  • In 1993, Bonnie Tyler recorded a version similar to Joe Cocker's on her album Silhouette In Red.
  • Babyface covered the song in 1993 on his For The Cool In You CD.
  • Captain and Tennille covered the song in 1995 on their Twenty Years of Romance CD.
  • In 2006, saxophonist Jimmy Sommers released a cover from his Standards album Time Stands Still.[2][3]
  • Diana Ross covered the song in 2006 on her I Love You CD.
  • Westlife covered the song in 2006 for their album, The Love Album.
  • Sam Moore recorded the song on his 2006 album Overnight Sensational which features original composer Billy Preston as well as guitarists Eric Clapton and Robert Randolph.
  • Doris Day included the song on her 2011 album My Heart.
  • It is also on Zucchero's 2012 All the Best album.[4]
  • Lulu Roman (of Hee Haw fame) and T. Graham Brown recorded a duet of the song for Roman's 2013 album At Last.
  • Contemporary Christian artist The Katinas covered the song in their 2013 album Love Chapter.

In other media[edit]

Television programs have used commercial recordings of the song, along with versions sung in person by fictional characters and by professional singers. On Knots Landing (Season 11, Episode 270), the song played as a drunk Danny Waleska ran over Pat Williams with his car.[citation needed] Seventies-themed sitcom The Wonder Years used a recorded version of the song in Season 6, Episode 16, "Nose," where it played at the end of the episode at a school dance where Kevin's friend Ricky loses a girl with a large nose just as Ricky had come to appreciate her. An episode of Home Improvement ("Jill's Birthday") accompanied the song with a montage of photos of Jill Taylor (Patricia Richardson) in her early age. On the season six Three's Company episode "Strangers in the Night," Jack Tripper tries to impress a woman by lip syncing to his friend Larry's performance of the song.[5] Marge Simpson sings it to Homer at the very end of the Simpsons episode Simpson and Delilah — a performance included in one of the Simpsons compilation albums — later, Homer's sometime assistant Karl arranges for someone to come and sing the song to Marge, making it look like this is Homer's anniversary present to her.[citation needed] Singer Enrique Iglesias performed as the handyman Fernando in the sitcom Two and a Half Men in the 2007 episode "Anteaters. They're Just Crazy-lookin'," and singer Babyface performed the song during the marriage ceremony of Martin and Gina of Martin. The song played in Season 5, Episode 9 of Full House and was mentioned in an episode[which?] of Desperate Housewives where it was revealed to have been Karl and Susan Mayer's song.[citation needed]

Televised reality competition programs have used the song multiple times over the years. Jessica Sanchez sang this on British Week on American Idol. Danny Gokey performed the song on American Idol during the week of the top 3 and was eliminated the next night. Boy Band One Direction covered the song in week eight of The X Factor UK's seventh series. Tim Hockenberry performed the song on his season 7 audition of America's Got Talent. Johnson & Jodeyne skated to "You Are So Beautiful" in week 9 of DOI & on the DOI tour.

The film Modern Romance (1981) includes an instrumental version of the song in its opening and closing titles, and also uses Joe Cocker's version to underscore its final scene. Joe Cocker's version was also used in the film Carlito's Way (1993) and play's over the film's end credit's. Ian Harrison's recording played at a school dance during the UK movie Get Real (1999). In-person performances on film include Seann William Scott's in Evolution (2001) and the 1994 comedy The Little Rascals, where Alfalfa Switzer (Bug Hall) performed the song in his first scene.


  1. ^ Hlavaty, Craig. "The Secret History of 'You Are So Beautiful'". Houston Press. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  2. ^ "Time Stands Still overview". 
  3. ^ "News :: 05.26.09 ::". 
  4. ^ Zucchero - All The Best Album
  5. ^ Three's Company transcript - Season 6, Episode 12: Strangers in the Night.

External links[edit]