By Rich Henrich
Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the desert on Saturday March 18th at The Special Events Center at Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino to celebrate one of the greatest albums ever made. Famed Beach Boy Brian Wilson, composed, arranged and produced this iconic album and in the process rewrote the rules of what was possible for a rock ‘n’ roll record. This show will kick off the first show of the 2017 Tour before playing venues across America and then sharing the warm melodic sounds of southern California with the rest of the world.
“It’s a great venue to play,” says Wilson, adding that audiences can expect the performance to “sound just like the record!” He will be backed up by former band mates, Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, who were on tour last year for 99 shows. “I never thought I’d be playing my music 50 years later! It’s good that it makes so many people happy,” he says with genuine warmth and pride. Together with his band, Wilson will perform several hits and fan favorites covering 54-years of musical genius along with the entire Pet Sounds album, an emotional autobiography of then 23-year old auteur, Brian Wilson. The 74-year old Wilson says if he could record that album today, “I would use more technology to make the sound more clear and make it really, really good.”
The album, helped by Tony Asher, then a 26-year old lyricist, and copywriter who had been writing advertising jingles in Hollywood, was a departure from previous Beach Boy recordings. Asher says he was merely the interpreter to Brian’s tenor, translating thoughts into words. Working together, the album featured several original songs and a couple instrumentals. Pet Sounds captured the spirit of the sounds inside the mind of a young musical genius, defying the pop music discount often attributed to commercial music not being serious composition. The album is considered a victory for many in the war of art vs. commerce. Most importantly, it continues to be a musical canvas as boundless as the heart of its creator.
Sir Paul McCartney said in a 1990 interview with David Leaf, “I’ve often played Pet Sounds and cried. It’s that kind of an album for me…it blew me out of the water. First of all, it was Brian’s writing. I love the album so much. The other thing that really made me sit up and take notice was the bass lines on Pet Sounds. If you were in the key of C, you would normally use- the root note would be, like, a C on the bass. You’d always be on the C…where you don’t use the obvious bass line…you just get a completely different effect if you play a G when the band is in C. There’s a kind of tension created. But something special happens. And I noticed that throughout that Brian would be using notes that weren’t the obvious notes to use. That I think was probably the big influence that set me thinking when we recorded Pepper, it set me off on a period I had then for a couple of years of nearly always writing quite melodic bass lines.” Sir McCarthy also claimed that he bought a copy of the album for each of his kids “for their education in life.” He said, “no one is educated musically ‘til they’ve heard (Pet Sounds).”
Ironically, in 1965, Wilson began working on some of the most passionate and personal recordings of his life, inspired by The Beatles Rubber Soul album. Wilson said he wanted to challenge himself “to create an immaculate musical masterpiece.” The resulting sound was a definitive departure from the bands’ commercial sound. This landmark album paved the way for a new era in music racking up chart hit after chart hit along the way. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” reached the #8 spot while “God Only Knows” and “Caroline No,” critically acclaimed by many, including Sir Paul McCartney, to be one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded, also cracked the Top 40. Wilson says of his desire for the audience “I want them to walk away having heard the loving lyrics and the beauty of the music.”
Tickets are on sale starting at $49 and can be purchased at fantasyspringsresort.com.