The Viewing, Listening and Reading List for God Only Knows

The links in this guide are designed help the reader easily find key songs, recordings, performances, interviews and articles specifically referenced in God Only Knows.

An Overture from Sir Paul McCartney

God Only Knows:


“Words” By Sir Barry Gibb

In My Room:



John Cale: Mr. Wilson:

Billy Joel: Don’t Worry Baby:


My California Myth Begins and Is Renewed

‘Til I Die

Surf’s Up (the 1971 version)


“All I Know”: An Introduction from Jimmy Webb

David Crosby, Jimmy Webb and Carly Simon -- In My Room:

Vince Gill, David Crosby, Jimmy Webb -- Surf’s Up live at Radio City Music Hall, March 29, 2001


The 1978 edition

Chapter 1: Rhapsody in Blue

Bonnie Lou -- *TRIBUTE* -- Two Step - Side Step (1953):

The Beach Boys Their Hearts Were Full of Spring 1966:

(NOTE: Date of appearance incorrect. Their appearance on the Andy Williams Show was October 22, 1965.)


Chapter 2: Five Freshmen

Kenny and the Cadets + Barbie:

Bob and Sheri - The Surfer Moon (original 1962):

Surfin’ recording session: you can hear Brian producing:

The Beach Boys Surfin 1961. Their first commercial release.


Chapter 3: Let’s Go Surfin’

Surfin’ Safari:


Chapter 4: If Everybody Had an Ocean

Surfin’ USA:

Jan & Dean Surf City:

The Lonely Sea:

In My Room:


Chapter 5: Don’t Worry Baby

The Lord’s Prayer:

Don’t Worry Baby:

I Get Around:

When I Grow Up (To Be a Man):

Don’t Back Down:


Chapter 6: Please Let Me Wonder

Please Let Me Wonder

California Girls

Guess I’m Dumb

The Little Girl I Once Knew

Barbara Ann


Chapter 7: Pet Sounds

Pet Sounds, the entire album: v=Mh_yhTyae08

On the 1997 box set, The Pet Sounds Sessions, you can hear the entire album in several different ways, including “vocals only” and “instrumental tracks only.”

Listen to these four “vocals only” versions of key songs from the album, and you get a sense as to the heart and feeling on the record. And why many think of this as almost a Brian Wilson solo album.

Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)

God Only Knows (Carl Wilson lead vocal)

I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times

Caroline, No


Chapter 8: Good Vibrations and SMiLE

Good Vibrations-The Lost Studio Footage



This is an example of the kind of chanting that Brian loved to do with the Beach Boys or with any group he had gathered.

You’re Welcome (Sessions/2011 Smile Version)

Brian Wilson on the Leonard Bernstein hosted 1967 CBS TV special, “Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution”


Chapter 9: Heroes, Villains and No Smiles

Heroes and Villains

Surf’s Up (Brian Wilson Solo, Autumn 1967)

The Beach Boys “Fire” from The Elements Suite


Wind Chimes


Chapter 10: Beached


Busy Doin’ Nothin’

Time To Get Alone

I Went To Sleep

Break Away

This Whole World


Chapter 11: Surf’s Up

‘Til I Die

A Day in the Life of a Tree

Surf’s Up (the 1971 version)


Sail on Sailor


Murry Wilson

I'm Bugged at My Old Man


Chapter 12: Endless Summer

Brian Wilson -- Jim Pewter Interview 1974 (audio only)


Chapter 13: Brian Is Back

California Feelin’ (Demo)

Brian Wilson -- Mike Douglas -- Full Appearance -- 1976

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling

The Night Was So Young

Ding Dang

It’s Over Now (piano demo)

Still I Dream of It (demo)

Solar System

(While this song is not mentioned in the 1978 edition, it is mentioned a in the 2022 update. It’s here both as an example of Brian’s singing at the time, as well as his interest in astrology and astronomy.)


1985 update

Chapter 14: Codetta, 1977-1985

She’s Got Rhythm

Good Timin’

The following bootleg recording is included as it’s a tape I heard in the early 1980s and includes what, to me were/are great Brian Wilson songs as “works in progress.”

50th Presidential Inauguration Ball for President Ronald Reagan (1/19/1985) - Part 2: The Beach Boys

Getcha Back


Requiem for the Beach Boy

Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue album is a great album, and one song is included here as an example of his talent and artistic gifts.

River Song


Chapter 15: Retrospective, 1985

My Solution, Version 1 (1970) & Version 2 (1980)


Shades of Grey

Wonderful (Version 2 “Rock With Me, Henry”/2011 SMiLE Version):

(Note: This isn’t exactly what the book refers to, but it is charming enough to be included on this list.)

Can’t Wait Too Long


The 2022 Edition

The Author’s Note

Walkin’ Down The Path Of Life


Chapter 16: ‘Til I DIe

Brian Wilson Live ’86 (Brian had appeared solo at a benefit in 1985, but this is the first video I could find of him as a “solo” artist in the 1980s).

The Buddy Rich rant that Andy Paley refers to

Brian Wilson’s First Solo Album

Melt Away

Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long

There’s So Many

Walkin’ The Line

Walkin’ With My Angel

Blue Christmas

Surfer Moon

Guess I’m Dumb

Love and Mercy

Rio Grande

The Spirit of Rock and Roll (featuring Bob Dylan)

Brian Wilson video from first solo album

The Beach Boys induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Dylan’s comment after the Beach Boys induction, 1988

Bad Vibrations + L.A. Times

The Lost Brian Wilson interview/Bent by Nature KCRW/Date is June 28, 1988

Brian on The New Leave It To Beaver; Brian Wilson + Mr. Hawthorne

Diane Sawyer + Brian Wilson


Chapter 17: Melt Away

The Don Was film, I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times

Still I Dream Of It

It’s Over Now

Orange Crate Art

Still No Vibrations + Washington Post

Brian Wilson inducts the Bee Gees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Imagination documentary

Brian Wilson + George Martin dissects the Beach Boys

Paul McCartney inducts Brian into the Songwriters Hall of Fame

Paul/Brian perform at Landmine benefit

God Only Knows

Let It Be

Paul talks about singing with Brian

Paul talks about the Beach Boys

News report

A Friend Like You (This song is not available on the internet)

Brian Wilson “Wanderlust”


Chapter 18: Brian Hits The Road!?

To get a sense of what Brian’s early tours were like you can listen to his

2000 release, Live at the Roxy Theatre, which includes these two new songs.

This Isn’t Love

The First Time

Here’s Brian performing Pet Sounds live


Chapter 19: The Tribute and the Queen

From 2001’s An All Star Tribute To Brian Wilson at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Paul Simon sings Surfer Girl

David Crosby, Carly Simon and Jimmy Webb sing In My Room

Darius Rucker and Matthew Sweet sing Sail on Sailor

Wilson Phillips You’re So Good To Me

Aimee Mann/Michael Penn “I Just Wasn’t For These Times”

George Martin + Brian Wilson tribute

Vince Gill sings The Warmth of the Sun

Vince Gill, David Crosby and Jimmy Webb perform “Surf’s Up”


Chapter 20: Beautiful Dreams and Beautiful Dreamer

From Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, here’s the first track from the studio recording.   This will then take you through the entire album.

You can find an audio recording of the world premiere from February, 2004 on the web too, but the audio quality isn’t ideal.

Brian Wilson and David Leaf on Charlie Rose to discuss Beautiful Dreamer:


Chapter 21: That Lucky Old Sun

Kennedy Center Honors

That Lucky Old Sun

Midnight’s Another Day - Demo


Chapter 22: An Epilogue

Linda Ronstadt “Adios” studio recording

I Get Around/Don’t Worry Baby picture sleeve

Time To Get Alone by Redwood

Bruce’s Beach

Eisenhower’s “Beware the Military Industrial complex” speech

Help Me Murry tape

Murry Wilson’s Poison Pen Letter

Good Vibrations + Lost footage

God Only Knows + BBC Music