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Rock News: Beach Boys Pet Sounds enhanced and re-released for a new generation.
Many younger rock fans have heard of Sgt. Peppers from the Beatles, but ask them who recorded Pet Sounds and most will draw a blank. 

The irony of course is that it was the Beach Boys Pet Sounds that inspired Paul McCartney to conjure up Sgt. Pepper.  Now Capitol Records is releasing a new stereo version of the ground breaking album for a whole new generation to discover the magic created by Brian Wilson and Co some 33 years ago. 

Pet Sounds really broke The Beach Boys beyond the Surf music genre into the psychedelic sound that became so popular the years following its release.  Enough of our ranting, here is the official press release. 

"For the first time ever, the stereo version of The Beach Boys' landmark 1966 Pet Sounds album, one of the most acclaimed and influential albums in pop music history, is being made available on an individual CD and on vinyl. These stereo mixes enable a listener to experience in an entirely new way a classic album continually being rediscovered by music fans. 

Released July 13, 1999, by Capitol Records, the CD includes the original monaural versions of the album's 13 selections (newly remastered), the stereo versions (remixed from the original three-, four- and eight-track master tapes) and a mono bonus track. In addition, the limited edition, audiophile quality, vinyl Pet Sounds marks the first time these 13 stereo mixes have ever appeared in the vinyl format. 

It was in early 1996, 30 years after he produced the original album, that Beach Boy Brian Wilson remixed Pet Sounds in stereo. Until then available only in its original mono version, Capitol highlighted the new mixes in The Pet Sounds Sessions boxed set, released in November 1997. But until now they were never available on vinyl or on a more convenient single disc. 

With Wilson on his solo tour (he will also be the subject of an A&E special airing on June 20, his birthday), and The Beach Boys (Mike Love and Bruce Johnston) continuing their touring, this release of Pet Sounds is a timely summer tribute to a band that has withstood the test of time as succeeding generations of fans fall in love with their California sound. 

Back in 1966, Wilson recorded his instrumental tracks on three of four tracks, mixing down to the empty fourth track for a mono reference to playback at the sessions. He would later erase this fourth track and reused it for additional overdubs. 

Once Wilson completed the instrumentals, he would mix the three or four tracks down to mono on a single track of a four- or eight-track tape, leaving the remaining tracks for vocals. When the vocals were finished, the end result for any given song would be a four-track tape with the instrumental track and either a four- or an eight-track tape with the mono instrumental track and the vocals spread over the remaining three or seven tracks. The only way to create a true stereo mix, with a stereo instrumental track and stereo vocals, was to sync the vocal overdubs to the original instrumental master tracks. In 1996, engineer Mark Linett did just that for the Pet Sounds album. 

"The original instrumental multi-track was transferred onto a digital multi-track," he explained, "and then, after carefully matching the tape speeds of the track and vocal tapes, the vocals were manually synchronized to the track using the (1966) dubbed track on the vocal tape as a guide. The result was a single multi-track master tape of each song with all the discrete tracks that Brian recorded in 1966 in sync." Pet Sounds could then be mixed into stereo.

The original Pet Sounds entered the Billboard chart in May 1966, and remained 39 weeks, peaking at #10. It spawned four Top 40 hits: "Wouldn't It Be Nice" (#8), "Sloop John B." (#3), "God Only Knows" (#39) and "Caroline, No" (#32). As Linett wrote in the notes for The Pet Sounds Sessions, "every attempt was made to duplicate the feel and sound of the original mono mixes." Beach Boys aficionados, however, will discover instances where the stereo mix of a song differs significantly from the mono mix. 

From 1962-1969, Capitol released 20 albums from Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, Alan Jardine and Bruce Johnston as The Beach Boys became the most popular group in America and ultimately one of the most popular in the world. The Beach Boys were inducted into The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. "

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