Paul McCartney listens to the Beach Boys’s “Pet Sounds”

Thursday, May 19, 1966

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On this day, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, along with Keith Moon, from the Who, listened to the advance copy of The Beach Boys’ next album, “Pet Sounds”, brought over by Beach Boy Bruce Johnston.

The big influence was Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys. That was the album that flipped me. The musical invention on that album was, like, ‘Wow!’ That was the big thing for me. I just thought, ‘Oh dear me. This is the album of all time. What the hell are we going to do?’ So, Sgt Pepper eventually came out, basically, from the idea that I had about this band. It was going to be an album of another band that wasn’t us. We were going to call ourselves something else, and just imagine all the time that it wasn’t us playing this album. So, I had this song written of ‘Sgt Pepper’, who, twenty year’s ago today, taught us to play and we’re his protégés and here we are.

Paul McCartney – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman, 2008

I took an American version of “Pet Sounds” in May of ’66 to England and then Keith Moon and I hit it off stupendously. Keith, really, in his dream world, wishes he would rather have been Al Jardine of the Beach Boys yet he does all his great running even the WHO andhim listing on it and he wanted to be Idon’t want seen a surf band but hewanted to be in that kind of Californiayou know musical style. Keith Minh and I did some clubbing whichis really fun and a couple drop-ins andReady Steady Goyou know and Radio fusion you know allthat stuff and Keith is about 18 or 19and then I got back and I had a couple of people meeting me, and Keith had brought Lennon and McCartney over to the hotel, and we were able to sit down, “now check this out”, and I put on my record player… With the speakers in it, that’s what I was able to get from the hotel to play music… So I was able to play the mono which sounded great and then we played it through, and then we played it again. And Lennon and McCartney – they were awesome, they were so polite and cool and loved the music; it was a great experience.

usually it’s don’t shoot the messengerwell this time the messenger you know Ialmost got knighted you know because Ibrought his great work I had nothing todo with with it you know it’s likesomeone like someone rolls up the thenew rolls-royce ghosts and someone has acamera and I go you know take about forthe cart coming outapparently the vibe of wouldn’t it benice crept into here there andeverywhere on the revolver album so Ishow up in England and and the messengeris not surenot and EMI much to their credit abroadI think sukjong B was a hit in Englandat that time and spreading around Europewell they got right behind the albumbecause of the reaction of a lot of theartists and the Beatles so in Englandand Europethat sounds was a big deal in Americayou know they’re smiling and suggestingthings and getting best to the BeachBoys vol 1 ready that that means oh Iguess it’s almost over let’s put thatout Ryan put his whole life from the daywas born to that point in the Pet Soundsand so you could reason it out with thembut that wouldn’t fix the problem hemust have had about it because I I knowhe knew even with sloop John B in it Iknow he knew he had something wonderfuland I think the record label in Americareally let him down really let him downand I I think this all of a sudden thiscan’t do anything wrong guy was made tofeel or probably felt that he’d donesomething wrongand he probably started losing a littleof his confidence

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One of Paul McCartney’s favorite albums of 1966 was the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and he often played it on his portable gramophone during breaks, so it wasn’t altogether unsurprising when he announced that he wanted a “really clean American sound” on the next song of his to be recorded: “Penny Lane.” I’d spent a lot of time mastering American records, and I was convinced that the best way to give Paul what he wanted was to record each instrument totally on its own so that there would be no leakage (or “bleed,” as it was known) whatsoever. Paul’s trust in me was such that he simply said offhandedly, “Okay, well, let’s do it that way, then.”

Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006

Last updated on August 17, 2023

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