"Good Vibrations" is a song composed by
Brian Wilson with words by
Mike Love for the American
the Beach Boys, of which both were members. Released on October 10, 1966, the single was an immediate critical and commercial hit, topping
record charts in several countries including the US and UK. Characterized by its complex soundscapes, episodic structure, and subversions of
pop music formula, it was the costliest single ever recorded at the time of its release. "Good Vibrations" later became widely acclaimed as one of the greatest masterpieces of rock music.
Produced by Wilson, the recording was initiated during the sessions for the 1966 album
Pet Sounds, and was not originally issued as a track from an album, but rather as a stand-alone single, with the Pet Sounds instrumental "
Let's Go Away for Awhile" as the B-side. "Good Vibrations" was envisioned for the unfinished album
Smile, but instead appeared on the 1967 substitute LP
Smiley Smile. Most of the song was developed as it was recorded. Its title derived from Wilson's fascination with
cosmic vibrations, after his mother once told him as a child that dogs sometimes bark at people in response to their "bad vibrations". He used the concept to suggest
, while Love's lyrics were inspired by the
Flower Power movement burgeoning in
Southern California. Lead vocals were shared between Brian, his brother
Carl, and their cousin Love.
The making of "Good Vibrations" was unprecedented for any kind of recording. Over 90 hours of tape was invested on its sessions with the total cost of production estimated to be $50,000 (equivalent to $380,000 in 2017). Building upon the multi-layered approach he had formulated with Pet Sounds, Brian recorded a surplus of short, interchangeable musical fragments with his bandmates and a host of
session musicians at four different
Hollywood studios from February to September 1966. Only six
sections were ultimately culled from the dozen-plus session dates, which were assembled through
tape splicing to create a composite backing track, and it is partly reflected in the song's several dramatic shifts in
texture, instrumentation, and mood. Band publicist
Derek Taylor dubbed the unusual work a "
pocket symphony". It contained previously untried mixes of instruments, including
jaw harp and
Electro-Theremin, and was the first pop hit to have a
cello playing juddering rhythms.
"Good Vibrations" is widely regarded as one of the most important compositions and recordings of the rock era, and it is regularly hailed as one of the finest pop productions of all time. It heralded a wave of
pop experimentation and the onset of
progressive rock, and helped develop the
use of the recording studio as an instrument, revolutionizing rock music from live concert performances to studio productions which could only exist on record. Although it does not technically feature a
theremin, it is frequently cited for having one, which revitalized interest and sales of theremins and
synthesizers. The song's success earned the Beach Boys a
Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Group performance in 1966; the record was eventually inducted into the
Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994.
 "Good Vibrations" was voted number one in the
Mojo's "Top 100 Records of All Time"
 and number six on Rolling Stone's "
500 Greatest Songs of All Time",
 and it was included in the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "
500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll".
 In 1976, a
cover version by
Todd Rundgren was released as a single. It peaked at number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100.