Considering the Classic Albums documentaries started in the early 1990s, it’s surprising that it’s taken the makers so long to get round to one of the most celebrated LPs of all time. It’s also disappointing that the documentary on the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds should prove to be one of the weakest in the series.
Brian Wilson’s masterpiece has been eulogised and analysed time and again over the last 50 years, so arguably there’s not a great deal to add to its legend. Yet this is still half-hearted programme-making, with some truly baffling contributors (60s Brit chanteuse Helen Shapiro?!) and pedestrian interviews with surviving band members.
Studio engineers offer the occasional insight into the recording process but nothing most fans won’t already know, and too much time is spent recapping the Beach Boys’ early years. Mind you, it’s fun to hear Wilson so dismissive of his own brilliance: “‘Genius’ is just another word for ‘clever’,” he says. “Like Albert Einstein.”