Pet Sounds (The Beach Boys, 1966)

It’s been 46 years since the album released. What would had happened if The Beach Boys never made Pet Sounds album? So there would be no The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers and Lonely Hearts Club Band. On the other hand what would happen if The Beatles never released Rubber Soul? So there would be no such album named Pet Sounds.  They’re all connected. Those are three lists of the greatest albums of all time until now. In December 1965, the Beatles released Rubber Soul, an album which enthralled Brian Wilson. Until then, each Beach Boys album (like most rock albums) contained a few “filler tracks” like cover songs or even stitched-together comedy bits. Wilson found Rubber Soul filled with all-original songs and, more importantly, all good ones, none of them filler. Inspired by that album, he rushed to his wife and proclaimed, “Marilyn, I’m gonna make the greatest album! The greatest rock album ever made!” (Quoted from 2006’s book by Peter Ames Carlin’s Catch A Wave: The Rise, Fall, & Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson)


  1. No. 2 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
  2. No. 1 on Mojo’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time.
  3. No. 1 on COS’ Top 100 Albums Ever
  4. No. 3 on NME’s 100 Best Albums of All Time
  5. No. 6 on The Guardian’s 100 Best Albums Ever

And the list goes on and on..


George Martin: “Without Pet SoundsSgt. Pepper wouldn’t have happened… Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds.” Bob Dylan on Brian Wilson’s talents: “That ear – I mean, Jesus, he’s got to will that to the Smithsonian.” Roger Waters: “Along with Sgt Pepper, Pet Sounds completely changed everything about records for me.” Elton John: “For me to say that I was enthralled would be an understatement. I had never heard such magical sounds, so amazingly recorded. It undoubtedly changed the way that I, and countless others, approached recording. It is a timeless and amazing recording of incredible genius and beauty. (quoted from: ” Musicians on Brian”.) Pardon me, am i allowed to say something here? Oh. Ok. I guess not. 🙂


I want to tell you something if you haven’t heard this album. This is not an easy listening album like early Beatles’ albums. It’s Pet Sounds. But once you fall for it, you will know how genius they were in making this album. You can listen to layers of vocal harmonies, sound effects and unconventional instruments such as bicycle bells, buzzing organs, hapsichords, flutes, dog whistles, trains, Hawaiian sounding string instruments or even coca cola cans and barking dogs. Very unusual at that era. The sounds and musical arrangements here are unlike anything else that had ever been done to this point and to say that this album has influenced generations of hopeful musicians. This is an album that gets better and better with each listen and you find yourself hearing things that even after dozens of times through, you have never heard before.


Maybe Wouldn’t it be nice is a very catchy song at first hearing. But for me God Only Knows is their masterpiece. I know Sir Paul is on my side about this. Haha. As long as i can recall, The Beach Boys is the first bands/musicians used word “God” in their song title. I’d like to say that this is also maybe the first emo song that have been produced by a band. “If you should ever leave me. Well life would still go on believe me. The world could show nothing to me. So what good would living do me. God only knows what i’d be without you”


On that era also released The Beatles’ Revolver, Dylan’s Blonde and Blonde, Rolling Stones’ Aftermath, Simon and Garfunkel’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, The Who’s A Quick One etc.


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