The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Episode date - November 2, 2007
Few things are sadder or more frustrating than when a great artistic statement goes unrecognized, or worse, ridiculed by your peers. After three years and eight albums, the Beach Boys established an image and a sound that made them instantly recognizable.
For songwriter Brian Wilson, this was a curse as much as it was a blessing. He was growing up, maturing, and wanted to stretch his creative abilities into new territory, but the other ‘boys’ were happy with what they had. So was the record company, whose only desire was for more product, delivered asap. It was probably no coincidence that Brian had written a song called “When I Grow Up to Be a Man” only one year earlier, since his entire image was based on the boyish charm of the Beach Boys. It is so inherently sad that Brian’s attempt to accept and develop his musical growth and maturation as a natural course of events was met with such strong resistance on virtually every front. To him, it must have felt as if the whole world resented the fact that he was growing up, and that he was developing thoughts that stretched deeper than the beach, cars, girls and school.
“Pet Sounds” is the result of Brian’s desperate grab at independence. Artistically, it can now be safely stated that “Pet Sounds” is one the most artistically successful products of the 20th century. Its beauty is underscored with a melancholy that echoes the loneliness and lack of support that Brian must have been feeling while he followed his creative muse. Deeply sad and deeply beautiful, “Pet Sounds” marks the creative high mark of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. It is only too bad that the band the record company did not recognize it for what it was at the time of its creation. Marked as a failure when it failed to chart as high as previous Beach Boys albums, the label rush released a ‘greatest hits’ collection before the holiday season, thus dooming the sales potential of “Pet Sounds” even further. Brian would never resolve the dispute between his art and commerce or between his creative drive and the demands of people who relied on him to provide their livelihood. Over time, “Pet Sounds” would be revealed for the visionary creation that it is, but meanwhile, Brian was forced to suffer the consequences of its neglect.
This show begins with a compilation of studio clips allowing us to hear "Pet Sounds" as a work in progress. We then feature the album in its entirety.