One of the greatest musical achievements of our time, composed by the genius Brian Wilson.
Released in May 1966 by Capitol Records, Brian defined the genre of psychedelic rock.
Rolling Stone got it right when they ranked Pet Sounds #2 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, second of course, to The Beatles’ Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.
So how do you describe this work of art?
In 1972 US music journalist, rock biographer and Rolling Stone contributor Stephen Davis said Pet Sounds was the first rock record regarded as a ‘concept album’. He described it this way:
“from first cut to last we were treated to an intense, linear personal vision of the vagaries of a love affair and the painful, introverted anxieties that are the wrenching precipitates of the unstable chemistry of any love relationship. This trenchant cycle of love songs has the emotional impact of a shatteringly evocative novel…”. Whew.
With sweeping harmonies and complex orchestral arrangements, this album touches the soul and takes your heart and mind to another place.
In 2004 Pet Sounds was listed on the National Recording Registry which exists to preserve those sound recordings deemed as ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’. Over 400 recordings have made the list, but not all are songs or albums. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech, Abbott and Costello’s ‘Who’s on first?’, Kennedy’s 1961 Inauguration Speech, and the first Transatlantic broadcast in 1925 are preserved forever.
This year Brian has been taking Pet Sounds to the world, playing it in its entirety on tour, and for the final time.
Australia saw him perform his masterpiece live in April and to date, Brian’s still on the road, travelling through the US, and then on to London and Paris.
Pet Sounds – still sounding fresh and contemporary fifty years’ on.
God Only Knows what we’d be without your music, Brian.
Here’s a tribute:
And the background to the tribute:
LHenderson is a communications specialist.