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. 😉




So many great songs put forth above--to me "best" depends on my mood at the time--I once listened to a radio show host talk for an hour about how "White Christmas" was the greatest song ever written.  I said to myself--it might be at Christmas time but certainly not in July!

BTW as a footnote to the above, "White Christmas" as sung by Crosby is the biggest selling single of all time according to Guinness.  More interesting is that it was written by irving Berlin who is Jewish and did not celebrate Christmas per se and the talk show host who went on and on about it back when was Alan Berg...


I wish there were a way to upvote the submissions, since I agree with many of the submissions.

As a geezer I'd like to add-

Pretty Woman- Roy Orbison

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay- Otis Redding

Little Wing- Jimi Hendrix


Billie Jean - MJ

Caught up in you - 38 Special

& insert any hit by Fleetwood Mac 

Thanks to whoever brought us the Father John Mundy song. I liked it a lot and want to listen to it, and some others, when I’m less busy than I am right now.

What a wonderful list we have contributed to here. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite song of all time, but previous posters have hit on a number of the ones I have thought of as "favorite" over the years (I don’t go for "best").

"Will You Love Me Tomorrow" is an early, pre-pubescent favorite by the Shirelles. I knew something lay ahead in the attraction/love department when I got a little older, and that song prepared me for the fact that it—whatever it was—mightn’t always go so well. The melody and the girls’ voices, well, I became a girl group fan whenever I started hearing that song, probably in 1963 on the Scott Muni show (77 WABC-AM).

Then came two of my other favorites, "Be My Baby" and "Then He Kissed Me," Phil Spector productions by the Ronettes and the Crystals. Courtesy of You Tube and my hard drives filled with songs, I still listen regularly to those two, as well as all of the songs I’m listing here.

Someone mentioned the Beach Boys having been declared uncool. I bought into that idea as an incipient hippie in 1966, and ended up not buying Pet Sounds until it was rereleased in 1974 on Brother Records (I had started my album collection with Surfer Girl and Surfin’ USA, and had bought every subsequent Beach Boys LP and 45). And I knew nothing of Smile until I bought the Good Vibrations box set in 1993. I had the singles that came from those albums, and have thought of "Heroes and Villains" as a favorite song of all time many a year.

I like "You Still Believe in Me" more than I like "God Only Knows" from Pet Sounds. Each time they sing "cry-y-y-y-y" with sixteen y’s is the clearest summons to musical nirvana I know of. Except when it’s the bum-de-bum-bum drum starting "Be My Baby." Or the horn and drum swirl that brings us to our feet as it opens Martha and the Vandella’s "Dancing in the Street."

Someone mentioned Cat Stevens. I liked him, though not as much as I’ve liked other artists. The song that sticks with me is "How Can I Tell You?", which someone used to play at me, hoping it would get me to fall in love with him. But it’s a beautiful song.

So many more: haven’t even touched Carly Simon ("You’re So Vain") or Linda Ronstadt, my all-time favorite singer ("Long, Long Time"). Or Joni Mitchell ("Rainy Night House"). Or Warren Zevon, especially "Desperados under the Eaves" from his first album.

Oh, and I always liked "12:30 (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon)" more than "California Dreaming." It’s what I’m going to listen to next, when I’m done with "How Can I Tell You?" The first line always gets me these days, as I used to live in New York City, and out my windows, I had a view of the Con Ed clock (which was not stuck at 12:30, but still).