Pet Sounds: Still Blowing Minds 45 Years Later

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Today is the 45th anniversary of the Beach Boys releasing the sonic and social landmark Pet Sounds The album influenced not only generations of bedroom producers and sad-eyed romantics, but also pushed the Beatles to create their own headphone masterpiece in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band the next year.

Produced by just one of the pop geniuses on staff, Brian Wilson, Pet Sounds is a audio brain-melt, with layers of harmonies and buttery vocals coalescing to make one of the best records of all time.

Even those who don't quite dig the proto-emo jams about crying into your pillow or pining after the wrong girl can accept the production values as groundbreaking. Take into account the limited technology in 1965 and 1966 when it was recorded, and you find a new respect for Wilson and the gang.

As far as Beach Boys albums go, this and the lost Smile album, not 1967 consolation prize Smiley Smile, mark the band's high-water marks before Brian Wilson descended into depression and increased drug use. Some say that it was either Sounds or Smile that mentally cracked Wilson in two.

Sounds resides on countless best albums of all-time lists, lists of albums that changed music, lists honoring production, songwriting, and albums you cannot live without. In 2003, it was ranked No. 2 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.

Rocks Off agrees with all of those accolades, and it's obviously one of our most cherished albums. Our first introduction was a vinyl copy in elementary school, and we remember feeling like we were reading someone's diary, back when diaries were secret, hidden worlds of emotion and longing and not errant tweets, public blogs, or Facebook posts.

In 1997, the album was remastered and re-released in a sprawling box set format as The Pet Sounds Sessions, over four discs which included a mono version of Sounds, outtakes, vocal cuts, and studio chatter.

We collected some of the highlights from the box set for you to listen to here. Dig the tracks with the dogs.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.