Even if the only tracks from Pet Sounds you've ever heard were the heavily-licensed "Wouldn't it be Nice" and "God Only Knows," there's little doubt you haven't come across some kind of tribute magazine article or television segment on how much of a classic the album is. Even in my teens, back in the late '80s, I remember reading about the majesty of the Beach Boys' 11th studio album, and how much it had influenced The Beatles' Revolver record. It was fitting, since Brian Wilson had been inspired to take the sonic chances he did on Pet Sounds after being obsessed with the studio experimentation the Fab Four and producer George Martin took on during their Rubber Soul sessions.
Throughout the years, I've read a ton about the making of Pet Sounds and all of the personal and professional fallout Wilson dealt with along the way. Classic Albums: Pet Sounds is a new documentary that does a deep dive into one of rock's most celebrated records, and speaking as someone who has studied the subject, I have to say that even I learned a new tidbit or two about Wilson's finest hour.
In addition to Wilson, this installment of Classic Albums also features new interviews with the other surviving members of the Beach Boys—Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks—offering their takes on the Pet Sounds experience, and other key figures involved with the album.
From a strictly music geek point of view, the parts where Wilson does his whole show and tell thing at the piano were the high point of the doc. Though he's been called a pop genius for his entire career, the man breaks down some of the most complex aspects of his arrangements in a way that the average person could understand. Speaking of Wilson's complicated musical vision, Mike Love famously butted heads with his cousin during the making of Pet Sounds. While that is covered in Classic Albums, Love also speaks glowingly about certain songs on the album.
If you're as intrigued with Pet Sounds as I am, you'll be happy to know that the DVD/Blu-ray version of Classic Albums includes over 30 minutes of additional interviews not included in the broadcast version.
Now, if only someone could convince the people behind this doc series to dedicate an episode to the excellence that is the first Boston album...
- Amazon (DVD/Blu-ray)