Open main menu

You Are So Beautiful

"You Are So Beautiful" is a song written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher that was first released on Preston's ninth studio album The Kids & Me (1974). It was also the B-side of his single "Struttin'". Later that year, English singer Joe Cocker released a slower version of the song on his album I Can Stand a Little Rain (1974) and then re-released it as a single in January 1975. Produced by Jim Price, it became one of Cocker's biggest chart hits, peaking at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100.[1]

"You Are So Beautiful"
You Are So Beautiful single cover.jpg
1980s UK vinyl re-release
Single by Joe Cocker
from the album I Can Stand a Little Rain
B-side"It's a Sin When You Love Somebody"
ReleasedJanuary 1975
Format7" single
Songwriter(s)Billy Preston, Bruce Fisher
Producer(s)Jim Price
Joe Cocker singles chronology
"Midnight Rider"
"You Are So Beautiful"
"Up Where We Belong"

Biographers and associates of the Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson credit him with contributing to the song's genesis. Wilson performed the song live with the Beach Boys from the late 1970s onwards. Ray Stevens, Kenny Rogers, Bonnie Tyler and Brian Kennedy are also among the artists who have covered "You Are So Beautiful".



Billy Preston wrote "You Are So Beautiful" with one of his regular collaborators, Bruce Fisher.[2] Preston's inspiration was his mother, who worked as a stage actress. According to his friend Sam Moore (who had assumed it was a standard love song), Preston was appalled to learn that Moore was using the song as a means to attract young women each time he sang it in concert. In Moore's description, Preston told him: "That song's about my mother!"[3] The composition incorporates part of Preston's 1969 song "Let Us All Get Together (Right Now)",[4] which he wrote with soul singer Doris Troy.[5]

According to Beach Boys biographer Jon Stebbins, although Dennis Wilson is not credited as a writer, he helped Preston write "You Are So Beautiful".[6] Music journalist John Tobler, who wrote the liner notes for the 2011 reissues of Preston's A&M albums, says that Wilson's involvement "has been claimed" by others.[2] Preston and Wilson are said to have collaborated on the song while attending a party where they discussed the concept of beauty.[7] According to Craig Hlavaty of Houston Press, while Wilson never sought to reclaim his share of the song's authorship, "If you check out Wilson's solo work, you can hear where Wilson's mind took over 'Beautiful.'"[6]

Wilson sang "You Are So Beautiful" as an encore at Beach Boys shows intermittently from 1975 until his death in 1983.[citation needed] A live rendition, circa 1978, and an edited 1983 live rendition both appear in the film The Beach Boys: An American Band (1985). A live version was released on the group's album Good Timin': Live at Knebworth England 1980 in 2002.

Live performancesEdit

Cocker performed the song along with Ray Charles in a 1983 television tribute to Charles, "A Man and his Soul.[8]


Chart historyEdit

Other renditionsEdit

In other mediaEdit

  • Television programs have used commercial recordings of the song. Seventies-themed sitcom The Wonder Years used a recorded version of the song in Season 6, Episode 16, "Nose," where it played at the end of the episode at a school dance where Kevin's friend Ricky loses a girl with a large nose just as Ricky had come to appreciate her.
  • The song was heard in Two and a Half Men Season 4, Episode 23, ("Anteaters. They're Just Crazy-Lookin'"), sung by guest Enrique Iglesias.[17][18]
  • An episode of Home Improvement ("Jill's Birthday") accompanied the song with a montage of photos of Jill Taylor (Patricia Richardson) in her early age.
  • The song played in Season 5, Episode 9 of Full House.
  • The film Modern Romance (1981) includes an instrumental version of the song in its opening and closing titles, and also uses Joe Cocker's version to underscore its final scene.
  • Joe Cocker's version was also used in the film Carlito's Way (1993) and plays during Gail's apartment scene and over the film's end credits.
  • In the American comedy movie "The Little Rascals" (1994), the song is sung by Alfalfa to Darla on a boat.
  • In 2016, the song appears in the season one finale of Quantico entitled "Yes", first sung by a drunk Caleb Haas (Graham Rogers) and Brandon Fletcher (Jacob Artist) celebrating their graduation, then leading into the Joe Cocker version for the remainder of the scene.
  • The song appears in a 2018 TV commercial for Toyota.[19]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 58.
  2. ^ a b Tobler, John (2011). I Wrote a Simple Song/Music Is My Life (CD booklet). Billy Preston. BGO Records. pp. 7, 8.
  3. ^ Wakeman, Rick (presenter); Wilson, John (producer) (2010). Billy Preston: That's the Way God Planned It (Radio 4 on Music documentary).
  4. ^ Winn, John C. (2009). That Magic Feeling: The Beatles' Recorded Legacy, Volume Two, 1966–1970. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-307-45239-9.
  5. ^ Davis, Andy (2010). That's the Way God Planned It (CD booklet). Billy Preston. Apple Records.
  6. ^ a b Hlavaty, Craig. "The Secret History of 'You Are So Beautiful'". Houston Press. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
  7. ^ Collins, Ace (2013). Music for Your Heart: Reflections from Your Favorite Songs and Hymns. Abingdon Press. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-4267-7604-5.
  8. ^ Lynch, Joe (December 22, 2014). "R.I.P. Joe Cocker: 7 Essential Moments, From Woodstock to 'SNL'". Billboard. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  9. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  10. ^ "RPM Weekly Adult Contemporary April 19, 1975 (Volume 23, No. 8)". Library and Archives Canada. RPM Weekly (archived). Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  11. ^ "Music: Hot 100 - Billboard Hot 100", Billboard, March 29, 1975, retrieved April 14, 2018
  12. ^ "Adult Contemporary Chart - Billboard", Billboard
  13. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, April 5, 1975
  14. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada".
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Susan Wong - 511". Allmusic. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  17. ^ "Two and a Half Men S04E23 Episode Script - Anteaters. They're Just Crazy-lookin'". Springfield! Springfield!. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  18. ^ "Enrique Iglesias Serenades Charlie's Girlfriend - Two and a Half Men". Youtube/Comedy Central U. January 1, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  19. ^ "Toyota TV Commercial, 'So Beautiful'". 2018. Retrieved September 4, 2018.

External linksEdit