1967’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is still The Beatles’ best-selling album. It was also their most experimental, as the band took on new personalities and dived deep into rock psychedelia. While the album saw the band at their highest peak creatively, it owes a lot to another project. According to producer Giles Martin, son of Beatles’ producer George Martin, Sgt. Pepper’s would not have happened without an album from The Beach Boys.
Giles Martin said The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ wouldn’t exist without The Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’
Giles Martin followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming an accomplished music producer. He’s remixed and remastered some of his dad’s work, such as the 2022 remaster of 1966’s Revolver. His father helped The Beatles create many of the most successful albums ever, including Sgt. Pepper’s.
In an interview with Musicradar, Giles shared his conversation with his dad about the album. His father said that no matter how genius The Beatles were, they owed a lot to The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, who they competed with during the 1960s. Giles is working on a remaster of Pet Sounds, and said George once told him Sgt. Pepper’s would not exist without Pet Sounds.
“I said to him, ‘Dad, what you did with The Beatles was kind of amazing, wasn’t it’ and he looked at me and said: ‘Not as amazing as Brian Wilson’,” Giles explained. “He explained to me that The Beatles always had him, and he had The Beatles. But Brian Wilson didn’t have anyone, and he went and made this record.”
Giles shared a statement regarding the Dolby Atmos release of Pet Sounds: “‘Pet Sounds’ by The Beach Boys is a game-changing, iconic album that changed the face of popular music. It influenced The Beatles to go and make Sgt. Pepper’s, Sgt. Pepper’s then influenced Pink Floyd to go and make The Dark Side of the Moon.”
‘Pet Sounds’ was a response to another Beatles album
The Beatles and The Beach Boys were rivals, but they greatly respected one another. Paul McCartney and John Lennon were admirers of The Beach Boys and listed “God Only Knows” from Pet Sounds as one of their favorite songs ever. While Sgt. Pepper’s emerged from an attempt to one-up Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys’ record was also a response to a previous Beatles album.
In a 2004 interview with Paste, Wilson said he was blown away when he first heard 1965’s Rubber Soul. The album included plenty of classic songs, such as “In My Life,” “Norwegian Wood,” “Michelle,” and “I’m Looking Through You”. Wilson said listening to it for the first time made him want to make Pet Sounds.
“Rubber Soul blew my mind,” Wilson admitted. “I liked the way it all went together, the way it was all one thing. It was a challenge to me to do something similar. That made me want to make Pet Sounds, I didn’t want to do the same kind of music, but on the same level.”