Pet Sounds (instrumental)

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"Pet Sounds"
Instrumental by The Beach Boys
from the album Pet Sounds
ReleasedMay 16, 1966
RecordedNovember 17, 1965
StudioUnited Western Recorders, Hollywood
Composer(s)Brian Wilson
Producer(s)Brian Wilson
Audio sample
"Pet Sounds"

"Pet Sounds" is an instrumental composed and produced by Brian Wilson and is the 12th track on the 1966 album Pet Sounds by American rock band the Beach Boys. Originally called "Run James Run", Wilson intended it to be used as the theme of a James Bond film. It was then titled "Pet Sounds", later also becoming the title of the album on which it appears. It is the second instrumental to feature on Pet Sounds, the other being "Let's Go Away for Awhile".

The exotica piece has been compared to the work of Les Baxter and Martin Denny for its reverberated bongos and güiro combined with pervasive horns and a Latin rhythm.[2] MOJO declared it an "ambiguous, jet-age update of Martin Denny-style 1950s exotica."[1] In his 2016 memoir, Wilson stated: "I loved Thunderball, which had come out the year before, and I loved listening to composers like Henry Mancini, who did these cool themes for shows like Peter Gunn, and Les Baxter, who did all these big productions that sounded sort of like Phil Spector productions."[3] When asked if he was a fan of Denny and exotica music in 2017, he responded: "No, I never get the chance to listen to them. Never did."[4]


A diagram showing the key components of a Leslie speaker

It was performed by Brian and several session musicians, with no other members of the Beach Boys. The session sheet for the recording date carries the notation, "This is a working title only."[5]

"Pet Sounds" was recorded on November 17, 1965 at United Western Recorders, with Chuck Britz engineering.[5][6] The unique percussion sound heard on the track is drummer Ritchie Frost playing two empty Coca-Cola cans, at Brian's suggestion.[5] Overdubs included bongos and two guitars filtered through a Leslie speaker.[7]

The piece was written with the intention of using it in a James Bond film, and was originally titled "Run James Run".[8][2] Wilson wrote and recorded an unrelated song with this same title for his 2015 album No Pier Pressure, but was not released until 2017 for the compilation Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology.[9]


According to AFM sheets[7] and Brad Elliot:[5]

The Beach Boys
Additional musicians

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mojo Staff (April 24, 2015). "The Beach Boys' 50 Greatest Songs". MOJO.
  2. ^ a b Lambert, Philip: Inside the Music of Brian Wilson, page 232. Continuum Publishing, 2007.
  3. ^ Wilson, Brian; Greenman, Ben (2016). I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir. Da Capo Press. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-306-82307-7.
  4. ^ Long, Kyle (April 20, 2017). "Brian Wilson talks Pet Sounds, Chuck Berry, Four Freshmen, exotica and more". Nuvo.
  5. ^ a b c d Elliott, Brad (August 31, 1999). "Pet Sounds Track Notes". Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  6. ^ Doe, Andrew G.: "GIGS65." Bellagio 10452. Retrieved on 2009-10-11.
  7. ^ a b "Pet Sounds Session List". Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  8. ^ Greene, Nick (June 20, 2017). "15 Fascinating Facts About Pet Sounds". Mental Floss. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  9. ^ Wicks, Amanda. "Listen to Brian Wilson's New Song "Run James Run" | Pitchfork". Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Sessionography". In Pet Sounds: 40th Anniversary Edition [CD booklet]. Los Angeles: Capitol Records