The Beach Boys Album Brian Wilson Calls ‘a Religious Experience’

God only knows what fans would do without the Beach Boys. This band released several chart-topping hits, most in conjunction with Pet Sounds. Even for Beach Boys member Brian Wilson, this album was a “religious experience.” Here’s what he said about writing the 1966 collection.

The Beach Boys released songs including ‘Good Vibrations’ and ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’

American rock group The Beach Boys, (Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Brian Wilson)
American rock group The Beach Boys (Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Brian Wilson) | Gems/Redferns/Getty Images

The Beach Boys surfed their way through the USA music scene. The group released hit songs including “Good Vibrations,” “Rock and Roll Music,” and “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder.)”

While the lineup changed over the years, the Beach Boys’ original members were Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson; their cousin Mike Love; and their friend Al Jardine. Brian Wilson was the primary composer of Pet Sounds.

Beach Boys member Brian Wilson said ‘Pet Sounds’ ‘spoke for itself’

According to Brian Wilson, 1966 was a “big year” for the Beach Boys. It was the year the group released Pet Sounds.

The record spoke for itself, and it was a religious experience,” Wilson said, according to Best Classic Bands. “Carl and I were into prayer. We held prayer sessions in our house on Laurel Way. “Dear God. Please let us bring music to people.” It happened. A cool trip. A lot of people say to me that Pet Sounds got them through high school or college.”

Pet Sounds included fan-favorite tracks “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “God Only Knows,” and “That’s Not Me.” Each song holds millions of Spotify plays today.

However, songs from other collections earned recognition at the Grammy Awards, including “Good Vibrations” and “Kokomo.”

Did the Beach Boys write their own songs?

The Beach Boys members — often Brian Wilson — wrote their own songs, though they also worked with other writers. As a songwriter, Wilson shared his thoughts on music’s healing power.

“I think my music has helped people a little bit,” Wilson said. “I think it is therapy for people. I think Marvin Gaye’s music is very therapeutic. I think Diana Ross’ music is very therapeutic, to name just a couple.”

“Nothing as good as [the Ronettes’] ‘Be My Baby,’” he said of therapeutic songwriting. “We couldn’t produce records with that big sound. We had good engineers and good players, the Wrecking Crew. I had Phil Spector’s players.”

Music by the Beach Boys, including the 50th anniversary version of Pet Sounds, is available on most major streaming platforms.

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