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.
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.”