Tag Archives: Elton John

Album: “Pet Sounds”


Mojo magazine named Pet Sounds its number one album of all time. It's number two on Rolling Stone's list. Yet it had only three singles, none of which reached #1. Uploaded by ditrixaa.blogspot.com.

If you only need to know one thing about this, the 11th studio album released by the Beach Boys (Great American Things, May 16, 2009), it’s all in one statement made by George Martin, legendary producer of the Beatles. He said, “Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper wouldn’t have happened… Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds.” And yet, Brian Wilson was motivated to make this album because he was so impressed by The Beatles’ Rubber Soul.

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Mojo magazine named it the number one album of all time. Rolling Stone was a little more reserved – it made it number two. (Sergeant Pepper was number one, so it looks like George Martin did his job.) You’d think an album so universally praised would be chock full of hits. But there were only three singles released on the album: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (reached number 8), “Sloop John B” (number 3), and “God Only Knows” (number 39).

So many influential musicians have praised Pet Sounds so lavishly, their words should conclude this tribute. Elton John: “It is a timeless and amazing recording of incredible genius and beauty.” Paul McCartney: “It was Pet Sounds that blew me out of the water. I love the album so much. I figure no one is educated musically ’til they’ve heard that album.” Eric Clapton: I consider Pet Sounds to be one of the greatest pop LPs to ever be released. It encompasses everything that’s ever knocked me out and rolled it all into one.”

Film: The Lion King

Disney's animation has gone downhill since The Lion King - witness Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules. Thank goodness for Pixar. Uploaded by blog.sanriotown.com.

Walt Disney Studios was on quite a roll, with each feature becoming more sophisticated in its animation, themes, and music. The Little Mermaid began this renaissance, followed by Beauty and the Beast, then Aladdin. Then in 1995, The Lion King debuted and proved itself as the finest example of the Disney ideal in the modern era.

Virtually the entire film features classic animation techniques without the aid of computers. The exception is the stampede of the wildebeests, a two-and-a-half-minute sequence that took five animators more than two years to complete.

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While I love the wonderful humor that Howard Ashman and Alan Menken brought to the songs in Mermaid and Beauty, there’s no question that the music written by Tim Rice and Elton John for The Lion King raised the film to a higher level. “The Circle of Life” was absolutely perfect as an accompaniment to the wonderful animation of the opening scene, while “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and “Hakuna Matata” were witty and memorable.

The Lion King achieved that elusive goal that animated movies strive for – to be entertaining to children and adults on their own levels. The box office is proof of that success. During its initial release it grossed $783 million worldwide, making it the most successful film released in 1995. Also proof are its two Academy Awards (out of four nominations) and the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.