God Only Knows

Album: The Tree of Forgiveness (2018)

Songfacts®:

  • This is a track from The Tree of Forgiveness, John Prine's first new album of original material in 13 years, and what would be his last, as he died of coronavirus two years later. The song was co-written by Phil Spector and dates back to the 1970s. Prine explained to UK's The Sun newspaper:

    "We had written a song, If You Don't Want My Love, in the late '70s, which I recorded for my Bruised Orange record. When I was back out in LA, I went to see him to play him the track and before I left that night we wrote God Only Knows. I never thought it was totally finished so I took it out for this record and finished it. I really love how it turned out with Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires playing and singing on the track."
  • The song finds John Prine laughing in the face of mortality. He wrote the tune with Phil Spector when he took the Bruised Orange record over to the producer's house. The pair reconvened at the same piano where they wrote "If You Don't Want My Love." Prine told Uncut regarding Spector:

    "When he was at the piano, that was the only time he was a normal person. When we sat down and we're doing music, there was no bulls--t."

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