in 1961 in Hawthorne, CA
Styles - Rock & Roll, Pop, Surf, Pop/Rock
The Beach Boys are the
most successful and important American band of the rock music era. They
were formed in
1961 in Hawthorne, CA, around the three Wilson brothers: Brian (b. June 20, 1942) (bass, piano, vocals), Dennis (b. Dec.
4, 1944 - d. Dec. 28, 1983) (drums, vocals), and Carl (b. Dec. 21, 1946) (guitar, vocals). Additional members were Mike
Love (b. Mar. 15, 1941) (vocals), the Wilsons' cousin, and Al Jardine (b. Sep. 3, 1942) (guitar, vocals). From the start, the
focus of the group's music was Brian Wilson, who combined a fascination with vocal harmony in the Four Freshmen mold with a love of Chuck Berry-derived rock & roll. Added to that was the subject matter of middle-class teenage life in Southern California -- surfing, cars, and girls.
On November 4th, Capitol
Records/ EMI-Capitol Entertainment Properties
released the long awaited THE BEACCH BOYS The Pet Sounds
Sessions, a four disc audio "documentary" of one of the
most enduring and influential
albums in the history of pop music. Featuring previously unreleased alternative
mixes, session highlights
in stereo, vocal and instrumental-only versions of the
original album, a first-ever
stereo mix of Pet Sounds supervised by
Brian Wilson, and a remastered mono version of the album using "state-of-the-art" HDCD technology, The Pet Sounds Sessions offfers new insights into the conception and creation of this classic work.
Hailed by critics and such artists as Paul McCartney, Elton John and Tom Petty as perhaps the best pop album ever, Pet Sounds captured a moment when The Beach Boys helped to transform pop music from a singles-driven form of entertainment to an album-based form of communication. The Pet Sounds Sessions allows the listener to experience
the creative process that fueled this metamorphosis and offers new justification for the legion of fans and critics who long-ago realized Brian Wilson's genius as a songwriter, arranger, composer, and producer.
From such seminal rockers
as Lou Reed, John Cale, Todd Rundgren
and Alex Chilton to alternative superstars like R.E.M.,
Oasis, Tears For Fears and
Sonic Youth, the list of artists who have been
influenced by Pet Sounds is long and varied.
The best demonstration of The Beach Boys astounding artistic development in this period can be heard in the deconstructed vocal and instrumental tracks on this compilation. For the first time, the soaring and intricate harmonies that are the Beach Boys trademark an be fully appreciated. Playing like modern-day Gregorian chant, the mesmerizing vocal-only cuts highlight the spiritual aspect of the songs with arrangements that convey the sense of love and longing
that lies at the conceptual heart of the album. "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "You Still Believe In Me" and "God Only Knows" are breathtaking examples of the Beach Boys pure skills as singers.
Alternately, the instrumental-only
tracks and session highlights can clearly
be heard as a "mini-symphony," with the chamber-ish "string-only"
arrangement for "Don't Talk" being the most striking
example. The orchestral feel
of the arrangements is due, in large part,
to Brian's drafting an army of session players for the songs
and his use of musical instruments
not traditionally found in pop recordings
at the time. One of the real treats of this compilation is
actually hearing -- for the first time in stereo -- the variety of instruments involved, and how so many seemingly disparate
sounds mesh so naturally. From sleigh bells to theremin, church organ to banjo, the complexity of the compositions and the simplicity and directness of their appeal is just magical. The fact that Brian was able to make the whole dense brew rock is another achievement entirely.
In addition to the incredible vocal and instrumental tracks, a few of the rarities unearthed by Brian Wilson and co-producers Mark Linett and David Leaf include a version of "God Only Knows" with sax solo on the bridge, Brian singing the entire lead on "God Only Knows" and "Sloop John B," "Hang On To Your Ego" with original
lyrics, Brian's original piano demo for "Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)" and the original version of
"Caroline, No" presented in the key and temmpo in which it was actually recorded. Bonus songs include "Trombone Dixie" -- horn arrangements recorded at sessions just prior to the Pet Sounds period -- and an excerpt of the first recording of "GGood Vibrations," a song started, but never completed, during the album sessions.
A comprehensive introduction
and historical essay, complete session
musician interviewsrack-by-track and
disc-by-disc production notes written and compiled by Beach Boys historian David Leaf, add perspective to the musical achievement. An additional 120 page CD-sized book features extensive comments from Brian Wilson and his chief 'competitors' (Paul McCartney, George Martin), collaborators (Pet Sounds lyricist Tony Asher, Beach Boys) and other engineers and musicians who created this landmark recording.