Paul McCartney
It was Pet Sounds that blew me out of the water. I love the album so much. I've just bought my kids each a copy of it for their education in life ... I figure no one is educated musically 'til they've heard that album ... I love the orchestra, the arrangements ... it may be going overboard to say it's the classic of the century ... but to me, it certainly is a total, classic record that is unbeatable in many ways ... I've often played Pet Sounds and cried.

I played it to John so much that it would be difficult for him to escape the influence ... it was the record of the time. The thing that really made me sit up and take notice was the bass lines ... and also, putting melodies in the bass line. That I think was probably the big influence that set me thinking when we recorded 'Pepper', it set me off on a period I had then for a couple of years of nearly always writing quite melodic bass lines.

"God Only Knows" is a big favorite of mine ... very emotional, always a bit of a choker for me, that one. On "You Still Believe In Me", I love that melody - that kills me ... that's my favorite, I think ... it's so beautiful right at the end ... comes surging back in these multi-colored harmonies ... sends shivers up my spine."

Neil Young
His music definitely affected mine - the harmonies. Of course I never played in a band that could sing like that. He's got the whole band retarding every once in awhile - he's got a feel for it and he's got everybody playing and it's not something you naturally do. It's something that he shows you where to lay back - where to slow down. You hear the band doing it just like it happens on the record - it's no accident. I love you, Brian. I'm there for you.
Bob Dylan
... Jesus, that ear. He should donate it to The Smithsonian.

The records I used to listen to and still love, you can't make a record that sounds that way. Brian Wilson, he made all his records with four tracks, but you couldn't make his records if you had a hundred tracks today.

Pete Townsend
I love Brian. There's not many people I would say that about. I think he's a truly, truly, truly great genius. I love him so much it's just terrible - I find it hard to live with.

From my own era I especially admire Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles and Brian Wilson. 'God Only Knows' is simple and elegant and was stunning when it first appeared; it still sounds perfect.

Stevie Wonder
I've always been into harmonies, so I was inspired by that part of what they (the Beach Boys) were doing. It definetely influenced a generation of kids.
Eric Clapton
All of us, Ginger (Baker), Jack (Bruce), and I consider Pet Sounds to be one of the greatest pop LPs to ever be released. It encompasses everthing that's ever knocked me out and rolled it all into one. Brian Wilson is, without a doubt, a pop genius.
Elton John
Pet Sounds is a landmark album. For me to say that I was enthralled would be an understatement. I had never heard such magical sounds, so amazingly recorded. It undoubtedly changed the way that I, and countless others, approached recording. It is a timeless and amazing recording of incredible genius and beauty.
John Lennon
Celophane flowers of yellow and green, towering over your head.
David Crosby
He was the most highly regarded pop musician in America, hands down. Everybody by that time had figured out who was writing and arranging it all. "In My Room" was the defining point for me. When I heard it, I thought "I give up - I can't do that - I'll never be able to do that."
Graham Nash
He was way advanced of what anybody was doing at that point. And I think the Beatles recognized that and I think every harmony group in the world recognized that there was some different thing going on - something very sophisticated.
Linda Ronsdadt
I don't think there's anyone his equal in popular music for this fifty years. They were really deep, profound emotions that came out of a lot of pain.
Phillip Glass
Pet Sounds became an instant classic when it first appeared. Listening to it today, it is, perhaps, easier to see why it was one of the defining moments of its time, along with the music of the Beatles, Pink Floyd and the Greatful Dead ... its willingness to abandon formula in favor of structural innovation, the introduction of classical elements in the arrangements, production concepts in terms of overall 'sound' which were novel at the time, all these elements give Pet Sounds a freshness that, thirty years later, is immediately there for the listener.
Leonard Bernstein
There is a new song, too complex to get all of first time around. It could come only out of the ferment that characterizes today's pop music scene. Brian Wilson, leader of the famous Beach Boys, and one of today's most important musicians, sings his own 'Surf's Up.'

Poetic, beautiful even in its obscurity, 'Surf's Up' is one aspect of new things happening in pop music today. As such, it is a symbol of the change many of these young musicians see in ourfuture.

Burt Bacharach
Pet Sounds is brilliant. Brian Wilson is one of the greatest innovators of my decade or any decade.
Jimmy Webb
I don't think that the California Myth, the dream that a few of us touched, would have happened without Brian, and I don't think Brian would have happened without the dream. They're inseparable.
Van Dyke Parks
Music is Brian Wilson's best friend, lover, everything. On a one-to-one basis, it's the only thing that has never wronged him. It's when people, and gossip, and record companies came into play that things went askew. The music never betrayed him. And given Brian's vulnerable, exclusive nature, it's only natural that it's the central fact and concern in his life. He may forget a name or a contract, but he never forgets the music. It's a consequence of devotional thinking, and geniuses are prone to it.
Tom Petty
I think I would put him up there with any composer - especially Pet Sounds. I don't think there is anything better that that, necessarily. I don't think you'd be out of line comparing him to Beethovan - to any composer. The word genius is used a lot with Brian. I don't know if he's a genius or not, but I know that music is probably as good as any music you can make.
Lindsey Buckingham
The first time I heard Pet Sounds, I have to admit that I did a little bit of knee-jerk in the same way probably the record company and some other people did because it wasn't as accessible as Brian's songwriting approach had been up to that time. I'm not sure I fully appreciated that until years later (when) I started making records myself.
George Martin
If there is one person that I have to select as a living genius of pop music, I would choose Brian Wilson. Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper wouldn't have happened... Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds.
Elvis Costello
Last summer, I heard "Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)" played on the cello. It sounded beautiful and sad, just as it does on Pet Sounds. So now you know, if all the record players in the world get broken tomorrow, these songs could be heard a hundred years from now.
John Cale, The Velvet Underground
What Brian came to mean was an ideal of innocence and naivety that went beyond teenage life and sprang fully developed songs. Adult and childlike at the same time. I thought how it was difficult for me not to believe everything he said. There was something genuine in every lyric. That can be a very heavy burden for a songwriter.
Billy Corgan, The Smashing Pumpkins
Brian Wilson the astronaut, peering down from the Heavens, cooly dreaming of California girls. An idealized pop utopia that widens the senses and soothes the ears. Lands the spaceship, finds nothing but disco and platform shoes and decided to take another trip around the moon for good measure and to search for the elusive lonely harmony. Landing back down for the millennium, our astronaut decided it's time. Time to stop and hear what he's brought back.
Sheryl Crow
Brian, keep creating, keep going. I know from where you sit on the stage you could probably absorb maybe a tenth of how people were feeling out there - you have no idea. People were so in the palm of your hands.
Don Was
In the fall of 1989, I was working with a band who turned me on to the bootlegged recordings of Brian Wilson's legendary, aborted Smile sessions. Like a musical burning bush, these tapes awakened me to a higher consciousness in record making. I was amazed that one, single human could dream up this unprecedented and radically advanced approach to rock 'n roll.

I was really stunned when I met him several months later. Far from the catatonic drug burn-out the tabloids loved to depict, the guy I got to know was lucid and happening. When we started to mess around in the studio, it became clear that he was capable of making a record every bit as complex and beautiful as Pet Sounds whenever he felt like it. How could a talent so great be so misunderstood and under appreciated?

My personal favorite is "Caroline No," his paean to lost innocence. I hear the weary voice of a man who's been hurled through the emotional wringer and yet, one can plainly discern the youthful sweetness, optimism and goodness that characterizes Brian's soul. It's that dichotomy that makes him one of the most enigmatic and endearing characters of these times.

© Copyright 2007 Brian Wilson. All rights reserved.