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Classic Albums

  • 1997
  • Documentary and factual
  • Music

Summary

"Classic Albums" lifts the lid on pop and rock albums considered by many to be the best or most distinctive by a well-known band or musician. The music and its production are dissected, providing an insight into how the sound was created. The albums that have been covered include John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band by John Lennon, Rio by Duran Duran, Reasonable Doubt by Jay-Z, British Steel by Judas Priest, Nevermind by Nirvana, Face Value by Phil Collins, A Night at the Opera by Queen, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf, and The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.

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Classic Albums: The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

Summary

Documentary exploring the making of the Beach Boys' classic 1966 album Pet Sounds, originally shown to mark the 50th anniversary of its release. Featuring contributions from songwriter Brian Wilson and other members of the group Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, as well as rare archive footage from the recording sessions

Review

If all Pet Sounds makes you think of is clippy-clop percussion, songs about sloops or a goat-feeding photoshoot, then persuading you to watch this may be tricky. But you’d be missing out. The 1966 album, by turns lush, symphonic and emotional, turned a sharp corner in pop’s possibilities.

The Beach Boys’ head lifeguard, Brian Wilson, felt constrained by the group’s winning formula and decided to shun cars and surfing. Invigorated by the Beatles’ Rubber Soul LP, Wilson was determined to express himself fully by musical means – the studio became his instrument.

Memories, outtakes and tantilising footage from the recording nail the uplifting story of this Classic Album, track by complex track. Much of Pet Sounds’ success is down to Wilson’s teaming with mellow lyricist Tony Asher, who was able to channel Wilson’s thoughts and feelings. “I was stunned sometimes by how much he had going on in his head,” Asher says.

The story of Wilson’s search for love and acceptance, Pet Sounds gave listeners songs that they loved him for, including what would become in many ways his signature work, I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.

What comes over loud and clear is how complex the arrangements and vocal harmonies are, on hits that we think of as simple, like Sloop John B and Wouldn’t It Be Nice. And if you’ve become jaded by God Only Knows overplay, listen again. The “take one” instrumental track, and Carl Wilson’s lovely, isolated vocal, will make you swallow hard. It’s “where rock ’n’ roll meets a religious experience”.

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Credits

Crew

rolename
UnknownBrian Wilson
UnknownDavid Marks
UnknownMike Love
UnknownBruce Johnston
UnknownAl Jardine
UnknownHelen Shapiro
UnknownDavid Wild
UnknownKeith Altham
UnknownLucy O'Brien
UnknownKarl Engemann
UnknownHal Blaine
UnknownDon Randi
UnknownMark Linett
UnknownTony Asher
UnknownBruce Botnick
ProducerMartin R Smith
DirectorMartin R Smith
DirectorMatthew Longfellow
EditorMatthew Longfellow

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