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Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds' Released 50 Years Ago Today

FILE - In a July 10, 2005 file photo, Brian Wilson performs on the Stavinski hall stage during the 39th Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland.

FILE - In a July 10, 2005 file photo, Brian Wilson performs on the Stavinski hall stage during the 39th Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland.

This is What’s Trending Today:

Monday marked the 50th anniversary of a famous record album.

The American group The Beach Boys released the album, “Pet Sounds,” on May 16, 1966.

Pet Sounds includes a musical work that Paul McCartney has called “the greatest song ever written.” The name of that piece is “God Only Knows.”

To celebrate the anniversary, Rolling Stone magazine published a story called “15 Things You Didn’t Know” about “Pet Sounds.” It says Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys wrote “God Only Knows” in less than an hour.

The story says the album called on the music industry to equal Wilson’s “technical innovation, lyrical depth and melodic genius. Half a century later, it's questionable whether anyone has.”

In a separate report, Rolling Stone listed “Pet Sounds” as the second greatest record album of all time. It rated The Beatles’ “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” as the best album ever.

The Beach Boys started recording in 1961. They quickly became known for music celebrating the lives of California teenagers. The group’s songs dealt with activities like surfing, sailing and sports cars.

The songs include “Surfin’ U.S.A,” “I Get Around,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” and “Good Vibrations.”

But when “Pet Sounds” came out 50 years ago, it signaled a turning point for the band. Their songs became more thoughtful and introspective.

Some music critics called “Pet Sounds” the first “concept” album. Along with “God Only Knows,” other songs on the album were “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Sloop John B” and “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times.”

Here is what people said on Twitter about the anniversary.

Brian Wilson wrote “I just can’t believe it. I recorded it to bring love to the world.”

The writer Will Bunch told readers that “Pet Sounds” was not the only famous American record to come out on this day 50 years ago. He noted the release of Bob Dylan’s album “Blonde on Blonde,” adding “and people wonder why I’m so obsessed with the 1960s?”

Earlier this year, The Guardian wrote a story asking “Was 1966 Pop Music’s Greatest Year?” The British newspaper noted another release, “Revolver” by The Beatles,” only weeks later.

The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson are making the most of the anniversary. They plan to release a special edition of “Pet Sounds” in June. The band is even producing a filter for Snapchat with goats, just like the famous album cover.

Wilson is going on tour in support of the album. His first show is May 17 in Birmingham, England. He also has appearances planned in Ireland, Israel, Spain, Portugal and throughout North America.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Where do you rank “Pet Sounds” on your list of favorite albums? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

album – n. a long musical recording on a record, CD, etc., that usually includes a set of songs

lyric – n. the words of a song

melodyn. a pleasing series of musical notes that form the main part of a song or piece of music

genius – n. a very smart or talented person : a person who has a level of talent or intelligence that is very rare or remarkable

surfing – n. the activity or sport of riding ocean waves on a special board (called a surfboard)

vibrations – n. (informal) a feeling that someone or something gives you

introspection – n. the process of examining your own thoughts or feelings

sloop – n. a small sailboat with one mast

blonde – adj. of a yellow or very light brown color

obsessed – v. to be the only person or thing that someone thinks or talks about

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