The Pet Sounds Sessions

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The Pet Sounds Sessions
Box set by The Beach Boys
Released November 4, 1997 (1997-11-04)
Recorded July 1965 (1965-07)–April 1966 (1966-04)
Length 256:20
Label Capitol
Producer Brian Wilson (original recordings)
Compiler David Leaf, Mark Linett, Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys chronology
Stars and Stripes Vol. 1
The Pet Sounds Sessions
Endless Harmony Soundtrack

The Pet Sounds Sessions is a 4-CD box set released in 1997 which compiles tracks from the Beach Boys' eleventh studio album Pet Sounds (1966) and its 1965–66 recording sessions. The entire album is included in its original mono mix, as well as a specially-created digital stereo mix. The set also contains instrumental tracks, vocals-only tracks, alternate mixes, and edited highlights from the recording sessions for many of the album's songs, along with several tracks not included on the album.

The box set was nominated for "Best Historical Album" at the Grammy Awards of 1999.[1] In 2011, it was followed by The Smile Sessions, a similar compilation devoted to the recording of the Beach Boys' unfinished Smile project.


Main article: Pet Sounds

Stereo mix[edit]

Overseen by producer Brian Wilson and engineered by Mark Linett, the set includes the first stereo mix of Pet Sounds. These new mixes were permitted by the survival of the original Pet Sounds multitrack tapes.[2] They would also be made available on the 1999 and 2001 re-issues of the regular album.

The stereo mix of Pet Sounds contains some differences from the original mono mix. Among them, alternate vocal parts used for the bridge of "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and the end of "God Only Knows" due to the original tracks no longer existing. "You Still Believe in Me" also features a single tracked vocal instead of the doubled vocal of the original due to a missing tape.[2] Other differences[ambiguous] are also noted in the booklet.


There was a minor controversy regarding a significant 18-month delay in the release of the box set (originally planned for May 1996 to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the album's original issue). Reportedly, Mike Love was dissatisfied with the accompanying essays that allegedly understated his involvement in the album's making.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[4]
Q 5/5 stars[5]
The Austin Chronicle 5/5 stars[6]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[7]

The Pet Sounds Sessions (Capitol 7243 8 37662 2) never charted in either the US or the UK.[citation needed]

The compilation was pivotal to the inception of the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy, as director Bill Pohlad enthuses: "It's just so beautiful and impactful for me to listen to that. So the idea of trying to capture that on film was certainly a big part of my interest in making the movie."[8]

The Smile Sessions[edit]

Main article: The Smile Sessions

Thirteen years later, the box set was followed up with The Smile Sessions, a similar collection devoted to Smile, the Beach Boys' album intended to follow Pet Sounds.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, except where otherwise stated. 

Disc two
Disc three


  1. ^ 1999 Grammy Nominations
  2. ^ a b Linett, Mark (1997). "Notes on Recording and Mixing". The Pet Sounds Sessions (Booklet). The Beach Boys. Capitol Records. 
  3. ^ Catlin, Roger (November 23, 1997). "Review: A Musical Milestone". Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Review: The Pet Sounds Sessions". Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  5. ^ Cavanagh, David. "Review: The Beach Boys, The Pet Sounds Sessions - A 30th Anniversary Collection". Q (EMAP Metro Ltd) (Q118, July 1996): 133. 
  6. ^ Beets, Greg (December 12, 1997). "Review: THE BEACH BOYS: The Pet Sounds Sessions (Capitol)". Nick Barbaro. Retrieved 29 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Bennun, David. "Review: The Beach Boys, The Pet Sounds Sessions (Capitol)". The Guardian Review (Guardian Media Group) (October 24, 1997): 24. 
  8. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (May 21, 2015). "Bill Pohlad wants 'Love & Mercy' to take you inside the genius of Beach Boy Brian Wilson". Hitfix.