Entry 2 – The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds

The Beach Boys Pet Sounds


This post will feature a discussion regarding The Beach Boys Album, Pet Sounds and its impact on music and recording in the industry. The beach boys carried a big sound that defined the 60’s and had many chart topping hits. They categorically made a mark in music defining a harmonious sound.


The Beach Boys image and music prior to Pet Sounds were categorized as a pop “surf group”. It seemed to fit, since most of their songs and content reflected that image. For instance, “Surfin”,  “Surfin Surfari”, “Fun, Fun, Fun”,  “Surfin USA” and “Surfer Girl” were big Billboard hits to name a few. These catchy songs and melodies really defined the Beach Boys and their musical career. This earned Brian Wilson and Gary Usher, who is the producer known for creating the “California Sound”, the nickname “The King Of Surf.”

In discussing Brian Wilson and his role within the Beach Boys, he created the band in 1961 with Carl, Dennis, Al and Mike. Dennis, the drummer was the only member who actually surfed and suggested to Brian that they should do a song about surfing. Brian then took that idea and wrote, “Surfin” their first single. From 1961 to 1965 the Beach Boys continued this process making several albums and hits. They used the image successfully throughout their career.

Until the release of “Rubber Soul” by the Beatles in 1965, which at the time was considered to be the best pop album at the time. This struck a chord with Brian and was influenced by its sound. He changed the bands direction by creating an autobiographical conceptually linked album called Pet Sounds. This would be the first time the Beach Boys would have no musical input on their album. They were used only for vocal harmonies. This album proved to be a huge breakthrough and a massive success. This is all due to their leader Brian, who is credited as an arranger, composer, guitar player, keyboardist, Liner Notes, Member of Attributed Artist, organ, piano, producer, supervisor, vocals, and background vocals. Many factors shared influence on Brian when writing and recording Pet Sounds. Pet Sounds marked the Beach Boys and specifically Brian Wilson’s career with a sound and idea that was unexpected from the conventional Beach Boys and set a standard for conceptual albums.


In discussing Pet Sounds, certain characteristics set it apart from other albums. It was an autobiographical, conceptually linked album that chronological soared from childhood to adult. Additional characteristics that set Pet Sounds apart were the intricate creations of vocal harmonies blended with pleasant counter melodies. A deeper lyrical point was established as they grew in their sound. Pet Sounds defined an evolved a story musically that could collectively be understood.

As a musician, music lover and industry professional, The Beach Boys Pet Sounds has had a major impression on me growing up and listening to the Beach Boys, their evolution as artists and how it has influenced my music as well as the industry. The album and its arrangements were expressed with a deep passion and emotion that can be felt throughout the entire album. Seeing an artists work evolve from good to great is the inspiration that keeps me passionate and determined to keep making music through passion and experience. Pet sounds really demonstrated to me how great a conceptual album can be and the meaning it can project.

By Adrianna Parnagian

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