God Only Knows: BBC Children in Need unveil One Direction and all-star cast in video simulcast
Chris Martin, Sir Elton John and Sam Smith featuring song echoes Perfect Day, which the BBC made in 1997
The BBC have unveiled a secretly recorded new charity version of the Beach Boys’ hit God Only Knows - with One Direction, Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Sir Elton John amongst the performers.
A number of the world’s biggest musicians were shown performing the song on every BBC TV and radio channel at 8pm in a three minute video.
The promotional film, which also included Dave Grohl, Florence Welch and Pharrell Williams marked the official launch of BBC Music - an ambitious wave of new programmes, innovative partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives that amount to the BBC’s strongest commitment to music in 30 years.
It also echoed their previous Perfect Day video the BBC made in 1997 for Children In Need that featured the likes of Bono and David Bowie.
God Only Knows will also be released as a single in aid of BBC Children in Need. It will be available to download from midnight on Tuesday 7 October.
Bob Shennan, Director BBC Music said: “This is an exciting moment for BBC Music as we launch to a global audience. With the 80-piece BBC Concert Orchestra at its heart and comprising an array of iconic music stars, from a wide range of musical genres, this “impossible” orchestra is a celebration of all the talent, diversity and musical passion found every single day throughout the BBC.
“Our audiences are very clear in their passion for music and that’s why BBC Music exists: to create, curate and celebrate music – for the love of it.”
Kylie Minogue, who features on the track, said: “God Only Knows is such an iconic song and I’m so pleased I am part of this film with BBC Music. I wasn’t born when the track was first released - but it’s one of those classics that is eternal, if anything it only gets better with time.”
Brian May: “Working on God Only Knows made me appreciate its musical construction more fully. It was like getting a glimpse into the mind of its creators - the Beach Boys, and in particular, Brian Wilson. It’s a unique piece, and the experience of being a part of this new production was a great pleasure.”
Sam Smith: “Being part of this campaign was so incredible. For me, God Only Knows is a song that has been and will forever be part of pop history and to be singing it alongside my idols was overwhelming. Plus I got to meet Stevie Wonder which blew my mind.”
God Only Knows features the song’s original writer and creator, Brian Wilson, alongside 26 award-winning musicians including popular music stars Sir Elton John, One Direction, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, Jake Bugg, Lorde, Emeli Sandé, Chris Martin, Kylie Minogue, Paloma Faith, Sam Smith and Florence Welch; rock musicians Chrissie Hynde, Brian May and Dave Grohl; classical musicians Alison Balsom, Martin James Bartlett, Danielle de Niese and Nicola Benedetti; folk performer Eliza Carthy; Senegalese singer Baaba Maal; jazz performer Jamie Cullum; British Asian Music star Jaz Dhami; the BBC’s Zane Lowe, Lauren Laverne, Katie Derham, Gareth Malone and Jools Holland; with the youthful vocals of the Tees Valley Youth Choir and the BBC Concert Orchestra at its heart.
6Music DJ Lauren Laverne said: “There is a kind of heart-swelling, emotional, stirring sound to this record and I think that’s what draws people in.
“That’s what BBC Music is all about – bringing together such an insane diversity of music talent.”
The digital home of BBC Music, bbc.co.uk/music, has also been transformed with a newly designed and responsive homepage, updated artists pages and more curated music content when signed in. Music fans will get a more personalised experience with recommendations for programmes, clips, tracks and artists based on their own preferences - showcasing the best music content from across the BBC, giving audiences more of the music they love.
God Only Knows has reached almost mythical status in the pop canon. Written and produced by Brian Wilson with lyricist Tony Asher and younger brother Carl Wilson on vocals, it was released in 1966 as part of The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album. It reached Number 2 in the UK and Number 39 in the US Charts.
It has become one of the most lauded tracks of all time. Rolling Stone placed it at 25 in their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
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