You Are So Beautiful
|"You Are So Beautiful"|
|Single by Joe Cocker|
|from the album I Can Stand a Little Rain|
|Genre||Pop, blue-eyed soul|
|Writer(s)||Billy Preston, Bruce Fisher|
|Joe Cocker singles chronology|
"You Are So Beautiful" is a song written by Billy Preston, Bruce Fisher, and Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys who contributed to the song's genesis. It was first recorded by Preston and made popular by Joe Cocker. Considered by many to be one of the greatest love songs written, Preston who grew up playing the organ in church, originally wrote the lyrics about God.
Preston's original version first appeared on his 1974 album The Kids & Me and as the B-side on the 45rpm pressing of his pop hit, "Struttin'". 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.
Though not officially credited as the song's writer, Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and Preston spontaneously collaborated on the words and music to the song at a party. Wilson never sought to reclaim his share of the song's authorship. The song's tone has been related to the style of his solo material.
Without instrumental accompaniment, Wilson sang "You Are So Beautiful" as an encore at Beach Boys shows intermittently from 1975 until his death in 1983. A live rendition was released on the group's live album Good Timin': Live at Knebworth England 1980 in 2002.
- Gospel group The Mighty Clouds of Joy covered the song for their 1975 album Kickin'.
- In 1976 Kenny Rankin recorded a version on The Kenny Rankin Album.
- In 1976 Leon Russell recorded it for Wedding 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 and David Matthews' Big Band (CTI Super7079).
- In 1980 The Beach Boys played the song live at their concert with Dennis Wilson on lead in the UK. This recording was released on their album Good Timin': Live at Knebworth England 1980 in 2002.
- 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".
- 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.
- Ray Charles covered the song. A version can be found on The Very Best of Ray Charles CD.
- In 2006, saxophonist Jimmy Sommers released a cover from his Standards album Time Stands Still.
- 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.
- Stryper frontman Michael Sweet, covered the song on his 2007 solo album Touched (Michael Sweet album).
- Doris Day included the song on her 2011 album My Heart.
- It is also on Zucchero's 2012 All the Best album.
- 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
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. And Donna Allen sung "You Are So Beautiful" on Season 5 of The Voice during the blind auditions making Adam and Christina the only two to turn their chairs.
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.
- Collins, Ace (2013). Music for Your Heart: Reflections from Your Favorite Songs and Hymns. Abingdon Press. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-4267-7604-5.
- Hlavaty, Craig. "The Secret History of 'You Are So Beautiful'". Houston Press. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- "Time Stands Still overview". Allmusic.com.
- "News :: 05.26.09 ::". JimmySommers.com.
- Zucchero - All The Best Album
- Three's Company transcript - Season 6, Episode 12: Strangers in the Night.