Monday, May 16, 2011

pet sounds

The Beach Boys reached their high water mark with this wistful sonic showcase for Brian Wilson. The pristine production of 'Pet Sounds' has a happy glow that makes you want to cry and inspired George Martin and Paul McCartney to produce 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'. With the firing of Murray Wilson as the band's manger, Brian became overwhelmed with the added pressures and finally decided to quit touring after a severe panic attack during a flight to Australia. He spent more and more time in the studio working with session musicians and created more and more sophisticated orchestrated pieces.

Brian Wilson writes, "I called in a collaborator named Tony Asher and we spent two months working on and off together. He proved to have the lyrical ability to work with me. In January, I started making the instrumental tracks for the album. I made each track a sound experience of its own. I was obsessed with explaining, musically, how I felt inside. This, I thought, could be teh beginning of a new type of sophisticated-feeling music. I definitely felt the need to compete with the Beatles. After doing twelve tracks and totally exhausting some of my musical creativity, I proceeded to play the tracks to the boys, who had just gotten home from the road. They all flipped for the tracks and the songs. I did most of the singing on 'Pet Sounds' because I needed to directly express my feelings to people. It was a special project because the music world had heard from me through the Beach Boys; but I needed to get this one album out to my fans and the public from my heart and soul. I was in a loving mood for a few months and it found its way to recorded tape. My voice turned up sweet this time...The boys filled out the album with me and we had a classic on our hands. I experimented with sounds that wold make the listener feel loved. The album was artistically set out in front of other albums and was, in truth, at that time, my biggest and bes production. It was the first time I used more traditional and inspired lyrics which emitted feeling from my soul and not the usual 'Beach Boys' kind of an approach. 'Pet Sounds' was an album alone...A voice or a song can be so comforting to someone who really needs it. I have always had an ear out for good voices. When you make a great album, it is good for you confidence and it tells you that you can continue to record in that same spirit. I really fulfilled a dream with this album."

"Just before we did 'God Only Knows', Carl and I had prayer sessions asking the Lord for guidance and maximum love vibes for this crucial single. It was the first time that anyone ever used the word "God" in a commercial least this is what we were told. During the production of 'Pet Sounds', I dreamt I had a halo over my head. This might have meant that the angels were watching over 'Pet Sounds'."

'Wouldn't It Be Nice' made it to number eight on the US charts. Originally credited to Wilson and Asher, Mike Love won a lawsuit that gave him credit for the lines he came up with for the ending fadeout: "Good night my baby, sleep tight my baby".     Brian says, "Listen for the rockin' accordions and the ethereal guitars in the introduction. Tony and I had visualized a scene. We had a feeling in our hearts, like a vibration. We put it into music, and it found its way onto tape. We really felt good about that record."

'You Still Believe In Me'

"I try hard to be more
What you want me to be
But I can't help how I act
When you're not here with me?"

'Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)' features Brian Wilson as the only member of the band performing. He says it is "one of the sweetest songs I ever sang. I have to say I'm proud of it. The innocence of youth in my voice, of being young and childlike. I think that's what people liked."

"Come close, close your eyes and be still
Don't talk, take my hand and listen to my heart beat
Listen, listen, listen"

'Let's Go Away For Awhile' was originally titled 'The Old Man And The Baby'. An early full working title was "Let's Go Away For Awhile (And Then We'll Have World Peace)" referencing Del Close and John Brent's comedy album 'How to Speak Hip'. Wilson has called the song "the most satisfying piece of music I've ever made. I applied a certain set of dynamics through the arrangement and the mixing and got a full musical extension of what I'd planned during the earliest stages of the theme. I think the chord changes are very special. I used a lot of musicians on the track; twelve violins, piano, four saxes, oboe, vibes, a guitar with a coke bottle on the strings for a semi-steel guitar effect. Also, I used two basses and percussion. The total effect is Let's Go Away For Awhile, which is something everyone in the world must have said at some time or another. Nice thought; most of us don't go away, but it's still a nice thought."

Alan Jardine's love of the Kingston Trio's version of the West Indies tune that led Brian to cover 'Sloop John B.' It was a top five hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

'I Know There's An Answer'

"They come on like they're peaceful
But inside they're so uptight
They trip through their day
And waste all their thoughts at night
Now how can I come on
And tell them the way that they live could be better?"

'Pet Sounds' 
full album:

All songs written and composed by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher except where noted.  Vocalists listed. 

Side one
1. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" (Brian Wilson/Tony Asher/Mike Love)  Brian Wilson and Mike Love 2:25
2. "You Still Believe in Me"   B. Wilson 2:31
3. "That's Not Me"   Love with B. Wilson 2:28
4. "Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)"   B. Wilson 2:53
5. "I'm Waiting for the Day" (B. Wilson/Love) B. Wilson 3:05
6. "Let's Go Away for Awhile" (B. Wilson) instrumental 2:18
7. "Sloop John B" (traditional, arranged by B. Wilson) B. Wilson and Love 2:58

Side two
1. "God Only Knows"   Carl Wilson 2:51
2. "I Know There's an Answer" (B. Wilson/Terry Sachen/Love) Love and Al Jardine with B. Wilson 3:09
3. "Here Today"   Love 2:54
4. "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times"   B. Wilson 3:12
5. "Pet Sounds" (B. Wilson) instrumental 2:22
6. "Caroline, No"   B. Wilson 2:51

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