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The song may have been inspired by a former girlfriend of lyricist Tony Asher, who had moved to New York and cut her hair. In high school, Wilson became obsessed with Carol Mountain, a classmate and unrequited love interest.

The song was initially written as "Carol, I Know". When spoken, however, Brian Wilson heard this as "Caroline, No." After the confusion was resolved, the pair decided to keep the new title, feeling that it brought a poignant earnestness to… read more

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