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Brian Wilson celebrates 50th anniversary of 'Pet Sounds'

16 Comments
By Alex Chisholm

For many years The Beach Boys have influenced the lives of people from all over the world. Co-founder Brian Wilson, who will tour Japan in April, once made a decision to resign from his touring role in order to maintain his health and focus on the group’s 11th studio album "Pet Sounds." The iconic effort was a change to the original California Sound that was produced in earlier records.

Forming in 1961 with his younger brothers Dennis and Carl, along with their cousin Mike Love and a great friend Al Jardine, The Beach Boys had released a string of hits before the "Pet Sounds" record came about. These included "Surfin’ U.S.A.," "I Get Around" and "California Girls."

“We recorded some records in the studio; then we did ‘Pet Sounds’ and people loved it," Wilson says of the early days in a phone interview.

Wilson needed a change after the songs about girls, cars and surfing that the band was writing. He wanted to make an album where the music brought together a theme, similar to his thoughts of how "Rubber Soul" by The Beatles was presented. It did not take him long to arrange the songs of "Pet Sounds" in order. “It all rolled into place from the opening classic ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ to closer ‘Caroline, No,'" he says.

With his inspiration from The Beatles, Paul McCartney has previously returned praise with "Pet Sounds" in regards to "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Wilson reflected on the first time he met McCartney. “It was an event for me. I liked his music and I was in awe of The Beatles because they were a very great group, so I talked with him for a few minutes and he said that he liked ‘God Only Knows.'"

The album was always going to be a success and Capitol Records wasted no time in getting it out to the public in 1966. “They released ‘Pet Sounds’ about a month after we recorded it," Wilson recalls. "Good Vibrations" was also written around the same time and a single was released a few months later. Wilson says, “It would not have fit on the album”, and was instead on the "Smiley Smile" record the following year.

After its release, "Good Vibrations" became the most popular song by The Beach Boys. Wilson says that there were multiple ideas toward it. He explains, “My cousin Mike (Love) said he would like to write a song called ‘Good Vibrations,’ so I made up a little music thing and he put his bass line to ‘I’m pickin’ up good vibrations’ - he came up with that part.”

For Wilson, coming to Japan is always a lot of fun and on this special occasion he is celebrating the 50th anniversary of "Pet Sounds." He will be performing the album in full one last time and is set to arrive with Al Jardine, a longtime friend and co-founder of The Beach Boys, and will also share the stage with former member Blondie Chaplin. With shows in Tokyo and Osaka, he says: “I hope they like ‘Pet Sounds’ and The Beach Boys’ classics!”

Brian Wilson “Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary World Tour”

Tuesday, April 12 - Tokyo International Forum - Hall A, Tokyo Wednesday, April 13 - Tokyo International Forum - Hall A, Tokyo Friday, April 15 - Orix Theatre, Osaka

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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I'll be there!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Me too, travelling up from Fukuoka.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Going!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I saw them once.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Brilliant album. I remember McCartney talking about how he was in awe of 'Don't Talk' on that album. A beautiful thing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Brian Wilson's perfectionism and trying to compete with a group of geniuses (Beatles) really hamstrung his career. 400 hours in the studio to record a single song like Good Vibrations is artistic overkill. Comparatively more flawed and cynical singers like Bob Dylan and Neil Young were able to keep it together well enough to make interesting new music for many decades after the Beach Boys gave up. Pet Sounds was ground breaking for the 1960s, sure, but it also shows how formulaic later BB songs like 'Kokomo' and 'That's why God made the radio' have become.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Wish i was going, Brian your the man!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

http://youtu.be/9UqNvMOdhGU Carol Kaye. (Explains the baseline for good vibrations and the influence of Brian Wilson)

"Pet Sounds" was produced in the studio by "The Wrecking Crew" and Brian Wilson.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

An over-rated album from an over-rated group. Love's "Forever Changes" is far better, and criminally under-appreciated..IMHO.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

An over-rated album from an over-rated group. Love's "Forever Changes" is far better, and criminally under-appreciated..IMHO.

opinions, they differ... i don't think pet sounds is overrated nor do i think forever changes is underappreciated. oddly enough march 7th is both the day "caroline, no" was released as a single and arthur lee was born

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The album was always going to be a success and Capitol Records wasted no time in getting it out to the public in 1966. “They released ‘Pet Sounds’ about a month after we recorded it,” Wilson recalls.

Patently false.

Initially, Capitol had no idea what to do with the record and were quite worried about recouping the recording expenses as it was the label's most expensive project to date (including the "Good Vibrations" sessions) and a complete departure from the Beach Boys' "surf sound." Pet Sounds didn't find much of an audience in the U.S. as an album, though it did yield three Top-40 singles. It was literally decades later before it achieved the critical success it enjoys today in America.

TorafusuTorasanMAR. 07, 2016 - 01:22PM JST Brian Wilson's perfectionism and trying to compete with a group of geniuses (Beatles) really hamstrung his career. 400 hours in the studio to record a single song like Good Vibrations is artistic overkill.

Competing with the Beatles didn't hamstring his career, it just drove him to do new things. What hamstrung his career was his growing and untreated mental illness (Thanks, dad!) and increasing drug use that would come to a head during the Smile sessions.

McCartney was every bit the "perfectionist" that Wilson was, but with the added "gift" of easily being the best musician in the band. Read Emerick's Here, There and Everywhere about his years as George Martin's chief engineer. McCartney turned the recording of the relatively uncomplicated "Ob-La-Da, Ob-La Da" into a 6 day marathon.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Correction: Louie and Banana end the Lp...His two dogs :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree Love's Forever Changes is a good album from that era.

Would rather pay half the price of a Wilson, Dylan, or Matheny concert ticket to hear some great songwriters in their prime like Derek Trucks and Jeff Tweedy--both are playing in Japan at the end of this month.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"An over-rated album from an over-rated group. Love's "Forever Changes" is far better, and criminally under-appreciated..IMHO."

Everyone has their own taste. I suppose the question could be about influence. "Forever Changes" is a great album but did it have anything like the impact or influence of "Pet Sounds"? You have to say no.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good but not great. I prefer the originality and innovation of the Beatles, who didn't need a team of anonymous studio musicians to play their instruments or lyrics written by a professional advertising copywriters or producers.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

JeffLeeMAR. 09, 2016 - 06:08AM JST Good but not great. I prefer the originality and innovation of the Beatles, who didn't need a team of anonymous studio musicians to play their instruments or lyrics written by a professional advertising copywriters or producers.

The "anonymous studio musicians" you refer to were known as the Wrecking Crew and were some of the best musicians of the day recording with everyone from Sinatra to the Birds. The Beach Boys were all mediocre musicians at best and never could have performed the music in Wilson's head. In later years Glenn Campbell (Wrecking Crew alum) and Blondie Chaplin, who is now on tour with Wilson, toured with the Beach Boys so they had better musical support.

http://www.wreckingcrewfilm.com/

Ya! Them Beatles NEVER used studio musicians. Oh, except for George Martin, RIP, playing harpsichord on "In My Life." Oh, ya. And then there was that string quartet that Martin suggested for "Yesterday." Oh, and they there was the French horn players on "For No One." And I guess there is that horn section on "Gotta Get You into My Life." Then that anonymous Billy Preston guy playing keys on the "Let It Be" sessions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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