In what could be one of the most star-studded charity singles in history, 27 famous musicians have collaborated on a version of The Beach Boys’ God Only Knows which was broadcast simultaneously on all BBC television and radio channels at 8pm this evening.
The artists, including Pharrell Williams, Elton John, Kylie Minogue and the song’s writer Brian Wilson, performed the 1966 hit with an 80-piece orchestra at Alexandra Palace to mark the official launch of BBC Music. The new wave of music programmes and music initiatives comes after director-general Tony Hall declared in March that he wanted BBC Music to be as trusted as other much-loved BBC brands such as BBC News and Sport.
Jake Bugg, Chris Martin, Paloma Faith, One Direction, Sam Smith and Florence Welch were also part of the historic moment – along with the BBC’s own Lauren Laverne, Jools Holland and Zane Lowe – as for the first time all BBC outlets, from BBC1 to 6 Music, iPlayer to local radio stations, simultaneously aired the same broadcast.
God Only Knows will be available to download from midnight tonight and available in shops later this week. The proceeds will go to Children in Need.
Producer Ethan Johns said: “To make so much diversity work within one piece of music was quite a challenge. I feel like I’ve taken a 1,000 piece puzzle and just thrown it in the air.”
Brian Wilson said: “All the artists did such a beautiful job I can’t thank them enough. I’m just honoured that God Only Knows was chosen. An extremely spiritual song and one of the best I’ve written.”
Kasia is a TV, film and arts journalist who writes news, feautures and comment. She spends a lot of time feeling nostalgic about 90s American films and working her way back through the Desert Island Discs archive.