It was 54 years ago Saturday (May 16th, 1966), that the Beach Boys released their legendary Pet Sounds album. The album, which included the group's classic hits “Wouldn't It Be Nice,” “Sloop John B.,” and “God Only Knows,” was like most of the group's early work; the brainchild of their leader and producer Brian Wilson. Wilson had retired from the road in 1964 to write and produce material while the other members — brothers Dennis and Carl Wilson, cousin Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston — spent up to 150 days a year on the road. Pet Sounds is the first complete Beach Boys album to mainly feature session backing musicians, and is considered rock's first symphonic album.
Although upon release, Pet Sounds was considered something of a chart failure in the U.S., where it peaked at Number 10, in Britain the album was hailed an instant classic, inspiring major works from rock's greatest songwriters, including John Lennon and Paul McCartney and the Who's Pete Townshend.
Wilson sketched out his ideas thematically with lyricist Tony Asher, and together they created a romantic, coming-of-age concept album, which dealt with such adult themes as pre-marital sex, leaving home, and coping with emotional and romantic limitations.