Pet Sounds: Still Blowing Minds 45 Years Later
Today is the 45th anniversary of the Beach Boys releasing the sonic and social landmark Pet Sounds The album influenced not only generations of bedroom producers and sad-eyed romantics, but also pushed the Beatles to create their own headphone masterpiece in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band the next year.
Produced by just one of the pop geniuses on staff, Brian Wilson, Pet Sounds is a audio brain-melt, with layers of harmonies and buttery vocals coalescing to make one of the best records of all time.
Even those who don't quite dig the proto-emo jams about crying into your pillow or pining after the wrong girl can accept the production values as groundbreaking. Take into account the limited technology in 1965 and 1966 when it was recorded, and you find a new respect for Wilson and the gang.
As far as Beach Boys albums go, this and the lost Smile album, not 1967 consolation prize Smiley Smile, mark the band's high-water marks before Brian Wilson descended into depression and increased drug use. Some say that it was either Sounds or Smile that mentally cracked Wilson in two.
Sounds resides on countless best albums of all-time lists, lists of albums that changed music, lists honoring production, songwriting, and albums you cannot live without. In 2003, it was ranked No. 2 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.
Rocks Off agrees with all of those accolades, and it's obviously one of our most cherished albums. Our first introduction was a vinyl copy in elementary school, and we remember feeling like we were reading someone's diary, back when diaries were secret, hidden worlds of emotion and longing and not errant tweets, public blogs, or Facebook posts.
In 1997, the album was remastered and re-released in a sprawling box set format as The Pet Sounds Sessions, over four discs which included a mono version of Sounds, outtakes, vocal cuts, and studio chatter.
We collected some of the highlights from the box set for you to listen to here. Dig the tracks with the dogs.