Welcome To AlbumLinerNotes.com
"The #1 Archive of Liner Notes in the World!"

Your Subtitle text
George Martin Comments

(The producer of the classic Beatles records, Mr. Martin recently took time out from his work on the Beatles Anthology 3 to discuss how Pet Sounds influenced the work he was doing in the 1960s at Abbey Road with John, Paul, George and Ringo.)

"The first time I heard Pet Sounds, I got that kind of feeling that happens less and less as one gets older and more blasé ... that moment when something comes along and blows your mind. Hearing Pet Sounds gave me the kind of feeling that raises the hairs on the back of your neck and you say ‘What is that? It’s fantastic.’ It gives you an elation that is beyond logic. It's like falling in love; you’re swept away by it. That’s what Pet Sounds did to me.

"The colors on Pet Sounds are brilliant, colors you hadn’t seen before. Brian was mixing his palette beautifully; he put instruments together that were unlikely. Unusual sounds were another thing. The way he handled the voices. He wouldn't just do decoration; he would start new themes with the counterpoint … a kind of interweaving, a little thread that started life as a decoration and suddenly you find it turning into song. Terribly clever like that.

"In those days, I heard the thing or and it would just sweep over me, and I would get the overall effect. I never looked at it like listening to a track, and I look forward to hearing the component tracks on this box you're doing. But we did start picking it apart; it was discussed at great length because it was an amazing piece of work.

It confirmed that we were doing the right thing in kicking over the traipses a bit. I had come out of a period as a staff producer where everything was regular and conformed to a pattern and I had to toe the line. But I always wanted to break out. It was when I was working with the Beatles that I finally got that chance to break out. They made me realize we could do anything. So on Pet Sounds, Brian confirmed it. We really could do what we liked, and that was liberating. By this time, we were pretty cocksure of ourselves. We thought we knew it all, and then we heard this record and it just blew us away.

“Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper wouldn't have happened. Revolver was the beginning of the whole thing. But Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds. It was a spur. The way Brian handled all the elements, the vocal work and the unusual sounds he got, there was a kind of integrity to it. Everything was part of each other in the sense of the production and songwriting...it was bound into one fusion which came out in this record. When the Beatles decided to stop touring, they said they wanted to spend more time in the studio with George Martin. That was the beginning of Sgt. Pepper.

"My wife and I often have arguments about Elvis, who was obviously a great performer. But to me, he doesn't come anywhere near somebody like Brian, because it is the creation of the thing that is all important. In Brian's case, he was all things, wasn't he? I was just the arranger and producer of all the great material that was coming from John and Paul.

"But Brian filled every role. Maybe I'm doing somebody an injustice, but I always got the impression he was a 'one man band.' He thought of the stuff in the first place, the way it should be treated, thought up the sound, thought of the contrapuntal devices that should be used, particularly in the vocal work. I don't know anybody else who compares to him in that respect. That is the most significant thing.

'I always argue that the best pop music is the classical music of the day. So, in comparing Brian to composers like Beethoven and Mozart, I'm sure there is an affinity there, although Brian was able to use a more colorful palette than the great masters. They had to think in terms of pure music, but Brian got into the color of sounds. Later on, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Debussy were doing orchestral painting. Obviously, I'm being a bit too simplistic, but if Bach were alive today, he would have been doing what Brian Wilson does.

"And, of course, another example, another facet of his talent was 'Good Vibrations.' The great thing about Brian, as with the Beatles, was that every new track was a new piece of art. It was not a copy of the one before. I've often said we weren't doing sequels, making 'Star Wars 2' or 'Batman 3.' With each record, we were doing a completely different film, as was Brian. 'Good Vibrations' inconsiderably different, for example, from 'God Only Knows.' It was terrific, too. All his records were.

"The legacy of Pet Sounds? Well, I think the music business has lost its way to a certain extent. I would like people to go back and listen to those records, because what we learned from them is that the most important thing of all is the song. Next is the person who sings it, and next is the way the whole thing is constructed. Least is the way it is produced. Still important. But the song comes first. The tendency now is for the production to come first. Brian Wilson certainly knew the value of a good tune, song, hook, rhythm. He never used to work on dross; he always turned out stuff he had honed before he got it into the studio.

"There is an originality in his compositions in that they are always going somewhere people didn't expect them to go.

You have a good phrase and you take it somewhere else, so the journey is interesting all the time. So many people have a good hook or phrase and take you down the same cliched street. Brian took us into a new, beautiful countryside.

"If there is one person that I have to select as a living genius of pop music, I would choose Brian Wilson. His invention and creativity with the Beach Boys reached a level that I always found staggering and Pet Sounds must rank as one of the highest achievements in our genre. Certainly, Brian pushed the frontiers a bit further and gave the Beatles and myself a good deal to think about in trying to keep up with him. His initiative was a marvelous combination of really original music compositions, a wonderful sense of instrumental sound and a great understanding of record production. I guess you can say I am a fan."

Website Builder