The music mag of record, Rolling Stone, has come out with its 500 greatest albums of all time and there is room to spare for California surf and sea.
Cruising in an awesome second place was the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds.”
Starting out, members of the band were unsure. Singer Mike Love said, “Who is going to listen to this s**t?” “The ears of a dog,” a bandmate countered, hence the name “Pet Sounds.”
Barking dogs, including Wilson’s dog, Banana, play backup singers throughout the album. The LP includes classics like “Wouldn’t it be Nice,” which wasn’t just about high school romance but a mature new direction for rock and roll.
The album’s crowning glory is the classic “God Only Knows,” which was arranged with harpsichord, horns, strings, even sleigh bells, to give the number its deep meditative sound.
In the years to come, many fellow artists would follow.
As for No. 1, the honor goes to the Motown classic “What’s Going On?” by the late, great Marvin Gaye. The LP began as a response to police brutality. He layered cinematic strings over a strong bass line and a polythymatic groove.
Motown chief Berry Gordy resisted at first, but Gaye countered, “The world’s never been as depressing as it is right now. We’re killing the planet, killing our young men in the streets, and going to war around the world. Human rights … that’s the theme.” Sound familiar?
The Rolling Stone’s top 500 was originally published in 2003 with occasional updates over the years. The honorees are as varied as their music with soul, pop, punk and everything in between.
The electorate includes everyone from Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish, to rising artists like H.E.R., Tierra Whack and Lindsey Jordan of Snail Mail, as well as veteran musicians such as Adam Clayton and U2 (featuring Malibu’s The Edge), Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan, Gene Simmons, and Stevie Nicks.
Other albums on the list include favorites old and new from folk to metal to funk.
Also on the list is Joni Mitchell’s “Blue,” released in 1971, which was soon spinning on turntables from France to San Francisco.
The deeply personal album reflects on past relationships and encounters with legends like Graham Nash (“My Old Man”), James Taylor (“This Flight Tonight”) and Leonard Cohen (“A Case of You”).
You’ll also find Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life.” It followed treasures like “Inner Visions.”
Others include The Beatles’ “Abbey Road,” Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors,” Prince and the Revolution’s “Purple Rain,” Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks,” The Beatles’ “Revolver,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main St..” The Clash’s “London Calling” and many, many more. So, crank up the volume, throw out the knob and let it play.