Brian Wilson said that this song was inspired by his mother: "She used to tell me about vibrations. I didn't really understand too much of what it meant when I was just a boy. It scared me, the word 'vibrations'. She told me about dogs that would bark at people and then not bark at others, that a dog would pick up vibrations from these people that you can't see, but you can feel." Brian first enlisted Pet sounds lyricist Tony Asher for help in putting words to the idea. When Brian presented the song on piano, Asher thought that it had an interesting premise with the potential for hit status, but could not fathom the end result due to Brian's primitive piano playing style. Asher remembers: "Brian was playing what amounts to the hook of the song: 'Good, good, good, good vibrations'. He started telling me the story about his mother. ... He said he’d always thought that it would be fun to write a song about vibes and picking them up from other people. ... There's a lesson in there about going with your gut as you separate the wheat from the chafe of human detritus. But I'll leave it to you to find it.