The Beach Boys
In the early 1960s, the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson fused innovative chord arrangements with elastic-ranged vocal harmonies onto a foundation of Chuck Berry-inspired rock 'n' roll. The resulting music, set against a backdrop of surfing, girls, and cars, was unfortunately panned by the media as America's answer to Beatlemania. By the end of 1964, Wilson had retired from live performances to focus on composing and producing the band's recordings. Desperately trying to get the sounds from his head onto tape, the Beach Boys released the epic Pet Sounds in May of 1966. In the liner notes of this orchestrated pop masterpiece, Wilson admits that his aim was to write a "teenage symphony to God." Generally hailed as the greatest rock 'n' roll album ever, Pet Sounds struggled to attain the commercial success of the band's earlier suburban hymns. Although the Beach Boys (as well as Brian Wilson) went on to make many more successful albums, they never came close to approximating the innovative genius and transcendent, childlike innocence that was Pet Sounds.