The Rivalry that Changed Music – Part 2

Brian Wilson heard the record (Rubber Soul) and realized how talented The Beatles really were. He is quoted as saying:
“…the Beatles had cut Rubber Soul, and I really wasn’t quite ready for the unity; Rubber Soul was a collection of songs – of folk songs; it was like a folk album by the Beatles that somehow went together like no other album made before, and I was very impressed. It really blew me out. I had to go in there (the studio) and experiment with sounds. I really felt challenged to do it good, and I followed through with it. And I actually did it.”

He resolved to record an album that would out-do The Beatles. The recording sessions begin for Pet Sounds. Brian Wilson is now opting to skip concerts in favor of working on music at the studio and teaching it to the band upon their return. “Good Vibrations” is part of these sessions, though it would not be included on the album.

In April, The Beatles begin recording for Revolver while Pet Sounds is released May 16th, 1966. Paul McCartney hears the record and has this to say:

“It was Pet Sounds that blew me out of the water. I love the album so much. I’ve just bought my kids each a copy of it for their education in life … I figure no one is educated musically ’til they’ve heard that album … I love
the orchestra, the arrangements … it may be going overboard to say it’s the classic of the century … but to me, it certainly is a total, classic record that is unbeatable in many ways … I’ve often played Pet Sounds and
cried. I played it to John [Lennon] so much that it would be difficult for him to escape the influence … it was the record of the time. The thing that really made me sit up and take notice was the bass lines … and also, putting melodies in the bass line. That I think was probably the big influence that set me thinking when we recorded Pepper, it set me off on a period I had then for a
couple of years of nearly always writing quite melodic bass lines. “God Only
Knows” is a big favourite of mine … very emotional, always a bit of a choker
for me, that one. On “You Still Believe in Me”, I love that melody – that kills
me … that’s my favourite, I think … it’s so beautiful right at the end …
comes surging back in these multi-coloured harmonies … sends shivers up my
spine.”
Pet Sounds was not initially a big seller for The Beach Boys, mostly due to the nature of the songs. They were deviations from the norm for Beach Boys songs. For one thing, none of the songs had the word “surf” in the title. This shows the maturity of Brian Wilson at this time. He’s pushing himself for his craft. He doesn’t want to be stagnant, but wants to pioneer into the unknown and experiment with his music.

Revolver is released by The Beatles in August and sells well. The album is more psychedelic that previous ones and the album art is seen as very experimental by the press.

In October of 1966, The Beach Boys release the “Good Vibrations” single. Originally intended for “Pet Sounds”, the song took 10 months to record in four different studios at a cost of over $50,000 (by far the most expensive single in history to that point). The single is a huge hit, goes platinum for the band (1 million sold) and they play shows in England. The ball is, once again, in The Beatles’ court.

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3 thoughts on “The Rivalry that Changed Music – Part 2

  1. Pingback: 300 Posts in 13 Years | Stargazing in Winter

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