The Beach Boys, an American rock band, released its legendary genre-bending record "Pet Sounds" 50 years ago Monday. And though music has changed significantly over the past five decades, fans' appreciation of the experimental album has only grown.
Speaking to the Toronto Sun, producer Jeff Levenson said "Pet Sounds" is "a pinnacle of artistic achievement that defies boundaries." Pop Matters called it "a pillar of pop excellence." Rolling Stone wrote frontman Brian Wilson "had leading musical figures struggling to match his technical innovation, lyrical depth and melodic genius" — and "half a century later, it's questionable whether anyone has."
Though it enjoyed only a lukewarm reception upon its 1966 release, "Pet Sounds" is now known for encouraging artists to explore a variety of instruments and styles. For example, it's known for inspiring the Beatles to put out "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band."
"Pet Sounds" was the Beach Boys' 11th studio album. At the time, the band included Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, Mike Love, Brian Wilson, Carol Wilson and Dennis Wilson.
It had 13 songs, among them "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "Sloop John B," "God Only Knows" and "Caroline, No."
Brian Wilson produced the album mostly on his own after having a panic attack on tour and withdrawing from live Beach Boys shows.
The band didn't use only traditional instruments on "Pet Sounds" — it also included recordings of bells, whistles and drumming on Coca-Cola cans.
Among the literal pet sounds you can hear on the album are the barks of Brian Wilson's dogs Banana and Louie.
The record's working title was "Run, James, Run," a reference to James Bond.
Today Pet Sounds was released 50 years ago. I just can't believe it. I recorded it to bring love to the world. pic.twitter.com/zap6gJzS4k
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) May 16, 2016
In 2012, Rolling Stone named "Pet Sounds" the No. 2 greatest album of all time.
But the record never got higher than No. 10 on the charts.
Brian Wilson said the song "I'm Waiting for the Day" was his least favorite on the album.
"I Know There's an Answer" was originally called "Hang On to Your Ego." The band changed the name after arguing about whether it made too many references to psychedelic drugs.
The cover photo was taken at the San Diego Zoo.