A BOY AT THE BEACH: American musician Al Jardine of the Beach Boys.
A BOY AT THE BEACH: American musician Al Jardine of the Beach Boys. Contributed

The Beach Boy’s Pet Sounds celebrates 50 years

PET SOUNDS was the 11th studio album by American rock band the Beach Boys.

Released on May 16, 1966, Pet Sounds met a lukewarm critical and commercial reception in the United States, but received success abroad, where British publications declared it "the most progressive pop album ever".

Today it is regarded as one of the most influential albums in the history of popular music.

Collaborating with lyricist Tony Asher, Wilson's symphonic arrangements wove elaborate layers of vocal harmonies, coupled with sound effects and unconventional instruments such as bicycle bells, flutes, electro-theremin, dog whistles, trains, soft drink cans and barking dogs, along with the more usual keyboards and guitars.

The Beach Boys included three brothers, a cousin and an honorary relative: Mike Love, Brian Wilson and Carl Wilson, Al Jardine and Dennis Wilson.

Brian Wilson and Al Jardine will both be at Bluesfest performing Pet Sounds for the last time in its entirety, on the album's 50th anniversary.

Guitarist, singer and songwriter Jardine, 73, said marking the anniversary was important for him.

"The idea that Brian and myself can still perform those songs is truly remarkable. We're very excited to do that. I'm not sure it's ever been done before."

Jardine said the album was a very difficult recording and mixing process.

"The Capitol Records Group was not very excited about it because it didn't have what they'd call commercial hit records that they could hear. Brian was not very happy to put Good Vibrations in the album. We all begged him to do it, but he was looking forward to an album called Smile to have that song in.

"We lost that opportunity but we had a Top Ten single (in Pet Sounds) called Sloop John B which saved the day, and without that I doubt Capitol would have released the record."

Also interesting for Beach Boys fans was the release last year of Love & Mercy, a biopic showing different parts of Brian Wilson's life and the making of Pet Sounds.

Al Jardine said the film portrayed accurately the difficult process of recording the album.

"I loved the film. I thought it was very accurate. It portrayed a tortured soul going through the process of re-inventing himself, discovering himself and coming out of a dark period intact and able top move on with his life," he said.

At Bluesfest on Easter Monday, March 28.

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