Daniel Johnston covers The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/09/16/daniel-johnston-covers-the-bea.html


I love that song.


I love daniel johnston and the beach boys and I really wanted to like this but it’s really sloppy. Maybe because he was already pretty sick when he recorded it? Here’s a cover he did that I love. save it for your next Christmas mix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i10hSU19VS4


I’m happy I have the “Hi how are you?” app (a simple puzzle leveler) on a retired iPhone kicking around in a drawer somewhere. RIP, you magnificent weirdo.


Hmm. Not a wonderful thing, for me. Ten seconds of that voice was as much as I could take. I suspect I might have made it to 20 seconds if it had been vaguely in tune. I guess he’s an ‘acquired’ taste.

Here’s a good doc about him that expresses the difficulty for him in the Austin music scene. I think it’s more about what he represents, rather than his singing voice.


What he represents, as an artist, may be interesting and of value (I’ve no idea - but skimming the Wikipedia entry suggests there is interesting stuff there) but I shouldn’t (and don’t) need to know what a singer repesents to figure out if I like listening to their singing or not. Sorry.

Added to my long list of things to find out more about, one day.

maybe a better thing to do, rather than just reading about him, is listening to a best-of list on spotify or something. I love him and i don’t think this particular cover captures what is great about him. He has a lot of songs that he wrote himself that are more heartfelt, personal, and, because he wrote the melody on those, you’re not comparing his imperfections to a Carl Wilson or something. I think he sounded better in the 80s and early 90s too. The documentary above goes into why his physical and mental health may have taken a toll over the years.


here’s a personal favorite of mine. It is Lo-Fi, but I think the songwriting and melody transcend the medium. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1CdrKenfXo&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2vpJLd2RGQZTQlhHYGH7vzDtG6O0fG7SP0k3lpz2F0d8rez7nU9TpOmfY


Ok, thanks for that. From the initial Beach Boys cover, I had just consigned Daniel Johnston to the ‘OK, don’t need to listen to any more of that’ bin. This, however, is a delight.

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And @Jim_Campbell

Yeah, much better. I’m not saying I like it, but I can get the charm of it and see how it might appeal, as opposed to the charmless, tuneless insult of the Beach Boys cover.

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This is not a good showcase for him. He is a little hard to get used to for some. It’s his songwriting that draws people to him:

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Which leads me to wonder why some of the public can give Johnston a hard pass, while simultaneously supporting or at least ignoring the less-than-stellar tones of musicians like Tom Waits or others. Maybe it has something to do with charm?

The original “God Only Knows” is overly sentimental, emotionally overwrought and way overrated. I like this version by Daniel Johnston much better!

Had not heard he died recently though. The world is a poorer place.

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