The greatest Pop song yet written and recorded.


This thread is an offshoot and was inspired by @mahgister’s wonderful thread "Interesting videos about sounds and music." I made a couple of contributions to that thread, recommending a video recorded quite a few years ago by (I believe) a music teacher, who sits at his keyboard while explaining and demonstrating the construction of the utterly majestic "God Only Knows", written by Brian Wilson (music) and Tony Asher (lyrics), recorded by The Beach Boys (vocals) and the L.A. studio musicians who comprised the legendary Wrecking Crew (instruments), the song found on the Pet Sounds album.

In my posts, I made the case for the highly sophisticated and incredibly brilliant chord progressions, modulations (key changes), and use of inversion (playing a bass note below the tonic of the chord being played on the piano) in the song’s composition. So when the video below appeared when I just jumped onto YouTube, it’s title really caught my eye. It is entitled "Exploring The Mythical Chords Of "God Only Knows"." Brian is well known for his harmony vocal arrangements, but that’s just the icing on the cake; the song itself is in it’s chords and melody. Some of the chord sequences in "God Only Knows" bring me to tears. Add to that the vocal harmonies---many sung in counterpoint---and Carl Wilson's angelic singing of the melody, and you have an absolute masterpiece of a song.

I have long considered "God Only Knows" my favorite song, and imo the "best" song ever written. I’m not alone in that; Paul McCartney has stated he feels the same. I could have added this video to @mahgister’s thread, but I believe the song and it’s appreciation warrant it’s own thread. Watch and listen to this video (and the one I posted in mahgister’s thread), give the song a new listen, and see if you don’t agree with Paul and I. 😉




The Broadway and Hollywood musical tunes that comprise the Great American Songbook are pop tunes.  So all that stuff by Gershwin, Kerns, Porter, Berlin, Mercer, Rodgers/Hart etc. should be considered.  My top votes go to "My Funny Valentine", "Blues In the Night" and "Midnight Sun".

Brian Wilson cites Gershwin as a major influence. He in fact recorded an album of Gershwin tunes---entitled Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin---in 2010.

Dave Edmunds included a beautiful version of Rodgers & Hart’s "Where Or When" on his Get It album, one of my Top 10 of all time albums. Play that song while seducing a woman---it’s SO "dreamy". 😉


“The Porpoise Song”…written by Carole King

An awesome song that will thwart many a Monkees-basher’s notions as to their mediocrity/crappiness.
Carole’s demo of “Pleasant Valley Sunday” is great, and superior to the original Monkees record, in my opinion

Also written by Carole King:

“I Happen to Love You” - The Myddle Class (The Electric Prunes version equally good)

“Don’t Bring Me Down” - The Animals

“So Goes Love” - The Turtles (glorious song and track)

“Honey and Wine” - The Hollies

“Wasn’t Born to Follow” - The Byrds (the Dusty Springfield and Carole/The City’s version are very different but superb, my preferred versions)

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” - Aretha Franklin (Carole’s version also gorgeous)

“Take a Giant Step” - Taj Mahal

“Chains” - The Cookies (Beatles version so-so)

“I’ll Love You For a While” - Dusty Springfield (badass pop perfection)

“The Loco-Motion” - Little Eva (of course Kylie Minogue’s hit 25 years later)

“I Can’t Stay Mad at You” - Skeeter Davis (sort of a re-write of her high school buddy Neil Sedaka’s classic ‘Breaking Up is Hard to Do’ but a gem in its own right)

“She Doesn’t Deserve You” - The Honey Bees (addicting flawlessness)

“Every Breath I Take” - Gene Pitney

“Keep Your Hands Off My Baby” - Little Eva (Beatles version so-so)

“You’re Just What I Was Looking For Today” - The Everly Brothers (check out this surprisingly not-so-Everly-Brothers, psychedelia-ish 1967 gem)

“Just a Little Girl” - Donna Loren

“Brand New Man” - Richard “Popcorn” Wylie (yet another gem that slipped through the cracks)

“Let’s Turkey Trot/Down Home” - Little Eva (world-beating 45; ‘Let’s Turkey Trot’ is irresistible and ‘Down Home’ is as good a pop song as you’ll ever hear…simply brilliant…the novelty-ness is the only reason ‘Let’s Turkey Trot’ was the A-side)

“I Can’t Hear You” - Betty Everett (Dusty’s version just as good, and my preferred version - YouTube her live TV performance of this and see her set the damn house on fire)

“Don’t Forget About Me” - Dusty Springfield

“Goin’ Back” - Dusty Springfield (The Byrds’ version from The Notorious Byrd Brothers is very different but quite good)

“Some Kind of Wonderful” - The Drifters

“He’s In Town” - The Tokens (what a great song, great record)

“That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho)” - Dusty Springfield (Carole demo is great also)

“I’m Into Something Good” - Earl-Jean

“Crying in the Rain” - The Everly Brothers

“One Fine Day” - The Chiffons (masterpiece)

“Don’t Ever Change” - The Crickets (best version but Beatles version quite good as well)

”It Might As Well Rain Until September” - Carole King (pop perfection - sink your teeth into the bridge to receive a clinic on deceptively uber-sophisticated pop songwriting ingenuity…simply brilliant and seamless)

”Up On the Roof” - The Drifters (Carole’s version very different but awesome)

”I Can’t Make it Alone” - Dusty Springfield

“I Was There” - Lenny Welch (simply stunning song/track, criminally unknown)

“So Much Love” - Dusty Springfield (heaven)

“No Easy Way Down” - Dusty Springfield (ecstasy)

”Another Night With the Boys” - The Drifters

“I Didn’t Have Any Summer Romance” - The Satisfactions (another criminally unheralded, gorgeous song and track produced by Jack Nitzsche)

“Road to Nowhere” - Carole King (dark, ominous, almost sounds like the Velvet Underground was trying to copy it with ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’)

“Make the Night a Little Longer” - The Palisades (another forgotten nugget of goodness)

“It’s Going to Take Some Time” - Carpenters (I prefer Carole’s demo)

“Some of Your Loving” - Dusty Springfield (bliss)

“Will You Love Me Tomorrow” - The Shirelles (written by King as a teen; she had perfect pitch at age 4)

@tylermunns i haven't heard alot of your list--will be checking it out this weekend. thanks for posting.