Brian Wilson Says Marijuana And The Beatles Inspired This Beach Boys Hit

Marijuana users are often stereotyped as underachievers. But Brian Wilson - who turns 74 today - says cannabis helped inspire one of The Beach Boys' best singles. During a smoking session in 1965, Wilson was so impressed by The Beatles' latest album that he felt compelled to get to work on The Beach Boys' response to the Fab Four.

"I listened to Rubber Soul and smoked some marijuana and was so blown away that I went right over to my piano and wrote 'God Only Knows' with a friend of mine [Tony Asher]," he told Reverb in July 2015.

That revelation probably wouldn't shock The Beatles since their album - which contains classic cuts like "Norwegian Wood" and "In My Life" - was written while The Beatles were experimenting with marijuana.

"Rubber Soul was the pot album and Revolver was the acid," John Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1972. He added that the group used mind-altering substances to tune out distractions. "The drugs are to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you."

Marijuana is good in moderation

Unfortunately for Brian Wilson, experimenting with harder drugs led to a decades-long battle with addiction that would obscure his musical genius. But despite those personal problems, he supports marijuana legalization - so long as people use cannabis in moderation.

"I think [legalization] is good if people do it in moderation," he told Reverb. "If you get hooked on it and it becomes too much of a habit, I don't think it's a cool idea, though."

In honor of his birthday, here's The Beach Boys' cannabis-inspired hit and one of The Beatles' tunes that likely inspired it - both of which appear in the top 25 of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

h/t The Cannabist, Biography

banner image: Flickr / Takahiro Kyono


Lots of people enjoy unwinding with a joint after a hard day's work, but for Perry Farrell, getting high is just another part of his job as a rock singer. The frontman of the alternative rock group Jane's Addiction likens the role of the musician to a shaman, whose job is to explore altered states of consciousness. "When you're going out there [onstage] as a shaman - as a witch doctor, you need to step into the fifth dimension," Farrell told Pitchfork in the latest edition of their 'Over/Under' series.

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