With Pet Sounds just celebrating its 50th anniversary earlier this month – it was released on 16 May, 1966 – Brian Wilson is currently celebrating with a world tour. With his dates reaching the London Palladium tomorrow (20 May), The Beach Boy granted Q’s Paul Stokes a little audience ahead of the shows. Wilson might not have listen to Pet Sounds in full for a while, but he’s still intimately connected to his master work… and not just from playing it live! “I listen to the radio station Oldies But Goodies and they play my stuff sometimes,” he explains with a grin. “I don’t mind when my songs come on. [laughs]” Here the Beach Boy’s five-point guide to his five star album.
1. Brian Only Knows…
“Once we finished the vocals for God Only Knows I knew we were going to be having a really good album,” says Wilson. “It was a really good vocal. It gave me confidence.”
2. They might have worn firemen’s helmets to record follow-up Smile, but there were no alarms for Pet Sounds.
“The sessions went pretty smoothly, to be honest,” explains Brian. “I didn’t really suffer for my art too much on that one.”
3. Still it was a musical jigsaw puzzle putting the album together on the four track technology of the day.
“How hard was it to get all the four tracks to fit together? Very, very hard!”
4. Here Today…
“The songs haven’t aged, they don’t feel old at all,” says Wilson, explaining why he’s perform the tracks live half-a-century on. “People love those songs. I love playing them too. It’s a great pleasure to play them still after 50 years. My band make it sound exactly like the original Pet Sounds album! I really like playing Caroline No.”
5. The pet of Pet Sounds!
“I just really like how the accordions came out on Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” declares Wilson when asked which bit of the album’s production he’s most proud of today. “We just sat them next to each other and put microphones on them. It was unusual to do it that way at the time…”
For more, including the full tour dates, head to Brianwilson.com.