The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds

By The Bark, September 2016, Updated July 2019

This May marked the 50th anniversary of one of rock music’s seminal albums — the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Beach Boy founder Brian Wilson’s opus was a compositional and engineering masterpiece that has had a lasting impression on everyone from the Beatles to Radiohead. The 1966 album featured Beach Boy classics—Wouldn’t It Be Nice, God Only Knows, and Sloop John B.

The band members sometimes referred to Wilson as “dog ears” for his uncanny ability to hear sounds that nobody else could detect in the studio. Wilson’s production of the LP was groundbreaking, combining strings with standard rock instrumentation along with improvisational and ambient sounds. Wilson’s two dogs Banana (a Beagle) and Louie (a Weimaraner) also contributed to the record. In one of the more experimental moments on the album, Banana and Louie are heard barking at a train whistle at the close of “Caroline No”—an incongruous moment of pop music styling.