Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Beach Boys at Columbia Records Studio A during recording of Pet Sounds

While so many are dealing with the cold and winter snow right now, let's warm things up a bit with a great snapshot of a couple of The Beach Boys working on their masterpiece, Pet Sounds.  This photo shows The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson and Bruce Johnston along with Terry Melcher and Tony Asher at Columbia Records Studio A control booth.  Tony Asher co-wrote several of the songs on the album with Brian and Terry contributed some background vocals and tambourine to the project.  There are a couple of things to note about this studio.  While Brian worked on Pet Sounds in a few studios, Bruce and Terry talked Brian into recording at Studio A because it had the first 8-track machine in Hollywood.  This allowed Brian to jump from Western Recorder's Studio 3 and the 4-track Scully to this custom made 8-track recorder with Ampex parts which meant even more tracks!  This is also the same studio that Terry Melcher produced such Byrds hits as "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn, Turn, Turn".  

2015 marks the 50th Anniversary of Bruce joining The Beach Boys.  When Pet Sounds was released in 1966, he had only been a part of the band for a little over a year but was now on his 3rd hit album with them.  He of course played a key role in spreading the word about this project to people like John Lennon and Paul McCartney who had him play the newly finished album twice in a row for them.  In 1963 Bruce & Terry were young staff producers at Columbia Records (Hollywood). They were the two producers of “Hey Little Cobra” (The Rip Chords) and also every layered recorded voice singing on the huge Rip Chords hit. Also, please enjoy the warm vocals of "Wouldn't It Be Nice" in both the stereo version and "vocals-only" mix below!

"Wouldn't It Be Nice"

"Wouldn't It Be Nice" (vocals only)