God Only Knows

Beach Boys - God Only Knows | Hansen-Spear Funeral Home - Quincy, Illinois

‘God only knows.’ It’s been said for years as an exclamation of uncertainty.  It also is a 50 year old song written by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. It is the latter that I celebrate with this blog after first addressing the more generic phrase and how it relates to all of us.

As I look at the things happening in this crazy country and dangerous world, I can only imagine (oh no, another song title?) how uncertain it is every day for a policeman or fireman or member of our armed forces as he or she puts on the uniform and heads to work. God only knows if this is the day something horrible will happen.  And now with indiscriminate terrorism against civilians, God only knows what will happen to any of us when we step outside.

Let me make a suggestion that may seem self-serving since my family runs a funeral home. Let’s be honest. We will all ‘pass away’, ‘meet our maker’,’ receive our final reward’ or …pick your own euphemism for death. God only knows the day and time, but all humans will die.  The question then is what have you done to prepare for it?  You never just hopped in the car with the kids for a family vacation with no planning, did you? Why not plan for an event you know is going to happen?  Our national association refers to this as “Having the Talk of a Lifetime.” Let your family or your funeral director know your wishes. It doesn’t need to be minutely detailed or even paid for. Even a brief outline is better than nothing. But as one of our previous blogs warned, don’t only think of yourself. Think of your family. You have spent your entire life doing things for them. Do it for them one more time.**

Okay, back to the song which precipitated this blog. Theresa and I had the unbelievable pleasure Thursday night of seeing Brian Wilson (and Al Jardine of Beach Boys fame) perform the entire Pet Sounds album in addition to about another 30 great songs in their repertoire. Rolling Stone Magazine ranks Pet Sounds as one of the top 3 albums of all time. The Beach Boys, at that time (1966), were more popular in the UK than even their homegrown Beatles.  The Beatles credited Brian Wilson’s work on Pet Sounds as their inspiration for Sgt. Peppers, and Paul McCartney said that “God Only Knows’ was the most beautiful rock and roll song ever written.

Beach Boys Concert | Hansen-Spear Funeral Home - Quincy, IllinoisFor me one of the highlights and lowlights converged with the performance of that song ‘God Only Knows’. Rolling Stone lists it as the 25th greatest rock and roll song EVER.  The orchestration was phenomenal! The harmony was heavenly. The entire concert was one of the best I have ever experienced (and it was experienced, not just heard!)

But the sad part was seeing the physical condition of Brian Wilson and realizing that God only knows if I will ever get to see the Beach Boys, especially Brian Wilson, perform again.  I don’t think Brian will be on stage much longer, and with the demise of every great rock icon, my own mortality seems more fragile.

Thanks to my new bosses, Will and Brian, for giving me the time off to chase some vintage rock and roll performers so that I might retreat to my younger days for a few hours. Watching 70 year old rockers raise the roof with surfer songs certainly makes one feel young and invincible for a moment. But we aren’t teens anymore, and God only knows what’s in store. I’ll guess I’ll just have to continue to trust Him since He knows and just try to keep on rockin!




If you would like to see the genius of Brian Wilson at work, look for ‘Behind the sounds/God Only Knows’ or ‘Behind the sounds/Wouldn’t it be nice’ on YouTube. It will show you how he built the sound that made up the music, realizing that the singing parts were still only in his head.


** If you would like a folder of information about pre planning, please call us at 217-222-4907 or contact us via email: staff@hansenspear.com.  We have a pdf form that can be emailed to you or you can fill out your information online in our Planning Ahead section.

2 Responses to God Only Knows

  1. Bobbe White says:

    I had the privilege of watching Bruce Springsteen rock Denver to the core recently. We had the opposite experience, in regards to his physique: God only knows how a 67 year old still looks and performs like he’s 23. It was something to see for 3.5 hours and with just a few very brief breaks. I’m guessing it’s a combination of self-care, genetics and God only knows what else!

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