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The album John Lennon once said was the greatest ever made

John Lennon


The album John Lennon once said was the greatest ever made

Born in Liverpool, England in 1940, two decades later John Lennon helped to form The Beatles, a group that would become not only the most influential of all time, but also the most successful one. They were active for only one decade but that was enough for them to change music forever. All their albums are real masterpieces and it’s hard to think about other groups who could really be in the same league as they were. But the American group The Beach Boys had for a while a healthy rivalry with the British band, both groups would always be trying to top each other.


As the Beach Boys’ mastermind Brian Wilson said in an interview with The Guardian in 2011, Lennon once called him and named one of albums of the American group as the greatest ever made.

The album John Lennon once said was the greatest ever made

That album of course was “Pet Sounds”, released in 1966 by The Beach Boys and considered one of the most important of all time.

“After it was released, Wilson says today, John Lennon rang him and told him it was the greatest album ever made, an opinion that would be repeated again and again in subsequent years,” The Guardian article said about what Wilson told them.

In his book “I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir“, released in 2016, Wilson also mentioned Lennon’s phone call. The American musician recalled that he was really happy that his songwriting was praised by Lennon and McCartney, who were artists he admired so much.

“He (Paul) came by when we were at Columbia Square, working on vocal overdubs. We had a little chat about music. Everyone knows now that ‘God Only Knows’ was Paul’s favorite song — not only his favorite Beach Boys song, but one of his favorite songs period.”

He continued:

“It’s the kind of thing people write in liner notes and say on talk shows. When people read it, they kind of look at that sentence and keep going. But think about how much it mattered to me when I first heard it.”

“I was the person who wrote ‘God Only Knows’ and here was another person — the person who wrote ‘Yesterday’ and ‘And I Love Her’ and so many other songs — saying it was his favorite. It really blew my mind. He wasn’t the only Beatle who felt that way. John Lennon called me after Pet Sounds. Phoned me up, I think the British say. To tell me how much he loved the record,” Brian Wilson said.

Curiously, it was The Beatles album “Rubber Soul” released in 1965 that inspired Wilson to write “Pet Sounds”. And it was that Beach Boys album that made The Beatles write “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (1967). Paul McCartney recalled that in an interview with Rick Rubin for the documentary “McCartney 1, 2, 3” (2021). He was asked by the producer if there were any other bands The Beatles were inspired by, especially when it came to harmonies. He then said (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage): “The Beach Boys I think it was a big influence on our harmony.”

“(There was) this little intercontinental rivalry, mainly Brian (Wilson), his writing. I think he heard one of our albums and thought ‘I got to do better’ and that was ‘Pet Sounds’, which I love. Still is one of my big albums. So atmospheric, different and yet, it was the Beach Boys still. We heard ‘Pet Sounds’ (and said) ‘Alright, we got to do something better than that’. So we did ‘Sgt. Pepper’,” Paul McCartney said.

It was Bruce Johnston who first showed “Pet Sounds” to Lennon and McCartney

Bruce Johnston first joined the band in 1965, leaving in 1972 and returning in 1978. He was the one who first showed the classic album “Pet Sounds” to Lennon and McCartney. Also during that trip to England he played the album to The Who drummer Keith Moon, who was a big fan of the American band.

He recalled that in an interview that was part of the extra features of the documentary on Brian Wilson, called “Songwriter (1962 – 1969)” released in 2010.

(Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) “I took the American version of Pet Sounds to England in May of 66. Then Keith Moon and I hit it off stupendously. Keith, really in his dream world of wishes he would rather have been (in the Beach Boys). He wanted to be in that California musical style. Keith Moon and me did some clubbing, which was really fun, (he was) probably 18, 19.”

He continued:

“Then I got back and I had a couple people meeting me. Keith brought Lennon and McCartney to the hotel. We were able to sit down and I (said) ‘Check this out. I put on my record player with the speakers in it. That’s what I was able to get from the hotel to play music.”

“So I was able to play the mono, which sounded great. We played it through and then we played it again. Lennon and McCartney, they were awesome. They were so polite, cool and loved the music. It was a great experience,” Bruce Johnston said.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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