The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (The ’59) #051

The ’59 2018 #051: 180220

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 8 – 1966.

Pet Sounds was the eleventh studio album from the Beach Boys, released on May 16, 1966. It initially met with a lukewarm critical and commercial response in the United States, peaking at number 10 in the Billboard 200, a significantly lower placement than the band’s preceding albums. In the UK, it was hailed by the music press and was an immediate commercial success, peaking at number 2 in the Top 40 Albums Chart and remaining among the top ten positions for six months. Originally promoted as “the most progressive pop album ever”, Pet Sounds attracted recognition for its ambitious recording and unusually sophisticated music, and is widely considered to be one of the most influential albums in music history.

The album was produced and arranged by Brian Wilson, who also wrote and composed almost all of its music. Most of the recording sessions were conducted between January and April 1966, a year after he had quit touring with the Beach Boys in order to focus more attention on writing and recording. For Pet Sounds, Wilson’s goal was to create “the greatest rock album ever made”—a personalized work with no filler tracks. It is sometimes considered a Wilson solo album, repeating the themes and ideas he had introduced with The Beach Boys Today! one year earlier. The album’s lead single, “Caroline, No”, was issued as his official solo debut. It was followed by two singles credited to the group: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (backed with “God Only Knows”) and “Sloop John B”.

Pet Sounds is regarded by musicologists as an early concept album that advanced the field of music production, introducing non-standard harmonies and timbres and incorporating elements of pop, jazz, exotica, classical, and the avant-garde. A heralding work of psychedelia, the album furthered an aesthetic trend within rock by helping it transform from dance music into music that was made for listening to, elevating itself to the level of art rock.

In 2004, Pet Sounds was preserved in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” One year earlier, Rolling Stone ranked it second on its list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

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The Beach Boys – Surfin Safari (“The ’59”) #026

“The ’59” 2018 #026: 180126

The Beach Boys – Surfin Safari (1962)

Surfin’ Safari was the Beach Boys’ debut, released on October 1, 1962 on Capitol Records. The official production credit went to Nick Venet, though it was Brian Wilson with his father Murry who contributed substantially; Brian also wrote or co-wrote nine of its 12 tracks.It peaked at No. 32 in its 37-week run on the US charts.

‘Surfing Safari’ was preceded by two singles: “Surfin'” and “Surfin’ Safari”, which charted at Nos. 75 and 14, respectively. The success of “Surfin’ Safari” helped secure a full album for the group while an additional single, “Ten Little Indians”, was issued, charting at No. 49.

The Ventures – Walk don’t run (“The ’59”) #007

“The ’59” 2018 #007: 180101

The Ventures – Walk don’t run (1960)

The Ventures were on one of their first tours as Liberty Records began compiling their first album and were still on the road by the time of the front cover photo shoot. As a result, four employees from Liberty’s stockroom (with two wearing sunglasses) were posed as if they were falling or tripping over instruments with model Barbara Grimes walking in front of them. A photo of the actual Ventures was originally featured on the back cover, but to avoid possible confusion when compared to the “stand-ins” on the front cover it was replaced with an outline-drawn version of the same photo.

‘Walk don’t run’ – the Ventures’ debut – was recorded at Joe Boles’ home studio in Seattle, Washington, a local studio where other early Dolton artists also recorded. It was released on Liberty’s Dolton subsidiary in December 1960,

In 1969, the album was reissued by Liberty (having discontinued the Dolton label two years earlier but keeping the original stereo catalog number), featuring an updated photo of the group. By that time, the lineup consisted of Don Wilson, Bob Bogle, Gerry McGee, Mel Taylor and John Durrill, though only the former two appear on the album. The back cover with the outline drawing of the original photo was kept intact