Song Lyric Sunday: Good Vibrations

As my first go – last week – at Song Lyric Sunday (SLS) was well received I thought I’d do it again. This could become a regular part of my blogging week! For today, Jim’s post Positive Emotions invites us to share a song about excitement, pleasure, sentiment, spirit. The possibilities seem endless, but I stopped at the first of those words.

My chosen song begins with these lyrics:

I-I love the colorful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air

Have you guessed what it is yet? The clue is in the title of this piece and in the image above, but maybe you need to go to the first chorus to be sure:

I’m pickin’ up good vibrations
She’s giving me the excitations (oom bop bop)

Yep, it’s THAT one:

This is what Wikipedia says about it: “Good Vibrations is a song by the American rock band the Beach Boys that was composed by Brian Wilson with lyrics by Mike Love. It was released as a single on October 10, 1966 and was an immediate critical and commercial hit, topping record charts in several countries including the United States and the United Kingdom. Characterized by its complex soundscapes, episodic structure and subversions of pop music formula, it was the most expensive single ever recorded. Good Vibrations later became widely acclaimed as one of the finest and most important works of the rock era.” That seems a fair summary to me, and who knew that the Beach Boys were subversive? The song was recorded over seven months and is still one of the most expensive singles ever made, even after all this time. Although it was released as a standalone single it later featured on the band’s album Smiley Smile, which was released in September 1967, peaking at #9 in the UK and at #41 in the US.

The video was one of four that were apparently made to promote the record. Given that it was released in October 1966, a month after The Monkees tv show first aired, I wonder if there were any influences at work here, in either direction? This wouldn’t have looked out of place with Davy, Mike, Pete and Mickey running around in it, would it? I loved this song when it first came out, and still do. I was 13 when it was released, and was a big follower of the pop music charts – the days when music was good! I bought this one with my pocket money, and played it so much that even my parents grew to like it. I thought then, and still do, how incredibly clever the song was in the way the multiple layers were interwoven. It really is a fantastic piece of music, and I think it goes so well with Jim’s suggested themes: how many songs convey as well as this the sense of excitement about how someone makes you feel?

Doing a little research I looked up the song’s lyrics, to be able to include some of them for you. If that did nothing else for me, it cleared up what I have been mishearing for all these years in the final verse:

Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’ with her
Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’ with her
Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happenin’

I’ve only spent 56 years wondering why they were having ‘London vibrations’ with her 🤣

See you next Sunday, I hope 😊

50 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: Good Vibrations

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  4. And glad I had time to linger at this post because thanks to your comment to joyroses – I have been schooled!

    “Jethro Tull is the band – the singer and flautist is Ian Anderson, and he is very good. His trademark is playing the flute while standing on one leg, and I’ve seen him do it

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are always full of information that I knew nothing about. Though I have always loved the song, I had no idea that this tune was one of the most expensive singles ever made. I recognized the song from the first line of the lyrics. I saw the Beach Boys in concert a couple of decades ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wikipedia can be a wonderful thing, as long as people like Jim and me aren’t playing with it! I hope you enjoyed the concert – I’ve never seen them but would have loved to.

      Liked by 1 person

      • At that point, I think Mike Love was the only familiar face. The rest were young guys who probably weren’t around when the Beach Boys began. Despite their youth, they were still amazing!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like you enjoyed it. Have you come across the Fendertones on YouTube? They do incredibly good Beach Boys covers by using multiple singers to build up the sound. Well worth a listen.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jim, and thanks for running the show. I commented to someone else that misheard lyrics might be a theme for a post for me, and perhaps for SLS. Has it been done before?

      Liked by 1 person

      • A mondegreen is a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase in a way that gives it a new meaning, and although I do appreciate you trying to help me out by suggesting this, I don’t think it is right. When Jimi Hendrix sings, “Excuse me while I kiss the sky”, I can’t help hearing, “Excuse me while I kiss this guy”. Probably the biggest one is when John Fogerty sings, “There’s a bad moon on the rise” and so many people head, “There’s a bathroom on the right”, that Tom actually sang that a few times.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’ve mentioned a couple of classics there, one of which has been admitted to in a comment on my post! No worries if you don’t want to go with it – I may well use it myself, as I think there’s a post in this 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Clive, great song, but it was very different from others when it came out due to its length and music. The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” album was so admired by Paul McCartney and Beatles’ producer George Martin that it influenced them on Sgt. Pepper, which many claim as a magnum opus. Good competition begets better work. That was a key tenet of Motown’s success as well. We all benefitted from the talents of The Beach Boys and The Beatles and the songwriting of Brian Wilson, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Great post. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • That originality was made it such a stand out song for me, Keith, and for many others, judging by its sales figures! Pet Sounds did better here than in the US. It’s impact on the Beatles is well documented, and Paul McCartney has admitted it influenced Sgt Pepper. You’re right about musicians being stimulated by others, and I’ve always thought that a good thing 😊

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      • Clive, have you ever seen the documentary “The Making of Motown” which interviews many of the stars, staff and, of course, Barry Gordy and Smokey Robinson? If you have not, the friendly competition for songs and publicity rose all ships. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  7. The Beach Boys are timeless and this is one of their best songs. We did see them perform live in Calgary, Alberta but they were Beach Grandpas by then. But they still sounded good. I used to think CCR’s Bad Moon Rising included: “there’s a bathroom on the right”. I was quite embarrassed when I learned the real lyrics. I’m sure there are many more I got wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s run by a guy called Jim Adams, and it seems ideal for me. I think songs with misheard lyrics could be a good theme for a post, either for myself or a theme for Jim’s SLS. Some mishearings are worse than others, though 🤣

      Liked by 2 people

      • This is when 60’s pop grew from being this weeks Dick Clark latest throwaway 3 guitars and drums song to dance to into music you could and should listen to.
        Misheard lyrics? ‘gunnin’ down the old man with a transistor radio.’ Which made sense in context. When you had a big cream and chrome Pye transistor radio (powered by 6 heavy AA batteries) in a fake leather carry case looped over your shoulder like a sten gun. So when your Dad told you to ‘turn that cra- crud down so I can hear Vikki Carr gushing away on the Andy Williams Show!’ those misheard lyrics sounded better than the real ones. (The song is ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ ‘goin’ down the old mine with a transistor radio.’) and I wasn’t the only one who misheard this one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed. A lot of more creative music started coming out around then, but the legacy of rubbish still lives on in today’s pop charts.

        Thanks for the line. I think I might start a collection of these 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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