Back in the day when pop was like one long Million Dollar party, Brian Wilson was a far more genial Hollywood host than his subsequent legend suggests. Given carte blanche by the new enlightened regime at Capitol Records, inspired by such peers as Phil Spector, Nick Venet and Gary Usher, Wilson was fired by his own genius and imbued with the spirit of the day. While The Beach Boys were churning the cream of their early repertoire, in the studio or on the road, Wilson filled his workaholic week with a variety of extraneous projects that put the roof on Spector’s four walls of sound.
This compilation gathers together blissed-out examples of his craft as he polished the surfboard sound into the super productions of All Summer Long and Today! There was no shortage of talent to spot?in the case of The Honeys, a vocal sister act, Brian even married singer Marilyn Rovell, a woman whose role as his muse has never really been grasped. The complexities of Wilson’s work contrasted with the deliberate teen angst and sly humour of the tunes he whipped into shape for tough girl Sharon Marie, smart guy Gary Usher and the splendidly named Rachel & The Revolvers.
Brian not only oversaw these nuggets, he tended to write them in collaboration with his favoured lyricists, and often provided the harmonised counter chorus, the release valve in so many Boys songs. To that end, Pet Projects is a must-have item for Beach bums. Not only does it hang like a perfect pair of Capri pants, it also reminds us of the greatness of post-Honeys masterpieces like American Spring’s “Shyin’ Away”. With super-rare inclusions such as Glen Campbell’s slant on the witty, autobiographical “Guess I’m Dumb”, this is a vital part of the BW soundtrack. A Gold Star gem for all you Pet lovers.