Pet Sounds  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
1960s, 1960s subcultures, Music of North American counterculture


Popular music

popular music

Popular music in the 1960s entered an era of "all hits", as numerous artists released recordings, beginning in the 1950s, as 45-rpm "singles" (with another on the flip side), and radio stations tended to play only the most popular of the wide variety of records being made. Also, bands tended to record only the best of their songs as a chance to become a hit record. The developments of the Motown Sound, "folk rock" and the British Invasion of bands from the U.K. (The Beatles and The Rolling Stones) and so on), are major examples of American listeners expanding from the folksinger, doo-wop and saxophone sounds of the 1950s and evolving to include psychedelic music.

The rise of counterculture

music of the counterculture, summer of love

The rise of the counterculture, particularly among the youth, created a huge market for rock, soul, pop and blues music produced by drug-culture, influenced bands such as The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Cream, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Who, Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix Experience, and The Incredible String Band, also for radical music in the folk tradition pioneered by Bob Dylan, The Mamas and the Papas, and Joan Baez in the United States, and in England, Donovan was helping to create folk rock.

Concept albums in rock music

concept album

In 1966, several rock music releases were arguably concept albums in the sense that they presented a set of thematically-linked songs - and they also instigated other rock artists to consider using the album format in a similar fashion: The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds was a masterful musical portrayal of Brian Wilson's state of mind at the time (and a major inspiration to Paul McCartney). Although it has a unified theme in its emotional content, the writers (Brian Wilson and Tony Asher) have said continuously that it was not necessarily intended to be a narrative. However, later in 1966, Brian Wilson had begun work on the Smile album, which was intended as a narrative. The album was scrapped before completion, only to be revived in the 2000s. The Mothers of Invention's sardonic farce about rock music and America as a whole, Freak Out! by Frank Zappa and Face to Face by The Kinks, the first collection of Ray Davies's idiosyncratic character studies of ordinary people are conceptually oriented albums. However, out of the albums above, only Pet Sounds attracted a huge commercial audience.

This all changed with the Beatles' celebrated album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in June 1967. With the release of Sgt. Pepper, the notion of the concept album came to the forefront of the popular and critical mind, with the earlier prototypes and examples from classic pop and other genres sometimes forgotten. The phrase entered the popular lexicon, and a "concept album" - the term became imbued with the notion of artistic purpose - was inherently considered to be more creative or worthy of attention than a mere collection of new songs. This perception of course related to the intent of the artist rather than the specific content.

Musical subcultures


Rude boys in Jamaica

The rude boy culture originated in the ghettos of Jamaica, coinciding with the popular rise of rocksteady music, dancehall celebrations and sound system dances.



Mods were obsessed with music styles such as modern jazz, rhythm and blues, soul, ska, and some beat music. Mods generally favoured 1960s rhythm and blues, soul and ska by black American and Jamaican musicians, although many of them also liked British R&B/beat groups such as The Who, The Small Faces and The Yardbirds.

Proto disco

proto disco

By the end of the 1960s, the disco scene originated in nightclubs such as the Whiskey A Go Go and The Sanctuary.

Before the term disco was coined in around 1973, the phrase "discotheque records" was used to denote music (45s and album tracks) played in New York private rent or after hours parties like the Loft and Better Days. The records played there was a mixture of funk, soul and European imports. These proto-disco records are basically the same records that Kool Herc played in the early hip hop scene.

Art music

art music

Electronic art music

electronic art music

Art rock

art rock

Music critic George Graham argues that "... the so-called Art Rock scene arose" in the 1960s, "when many artists were attempting to broaden the boundaries of rock." He claims that art rock "was inspired by the classically-influenced arrangements and the elaborate production of the Beatles Sgt. Peppers period" and states that the "style had its heyday in the 1970s with huge commercial success by Yes, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and later Genesis."


See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pet Sounds" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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