Music Review: Iconic Albums that Shaped the Year 1966

Music Review: Iconic Albums that Shaped the Year 1966

Yoshi Singhoff

     With the 60’s also came the influential albums, still remembered to this day. Release after release, each band continued to push the limits of music. The influence of new technologies and drugs has changed the means of producing music.

     Especially in 1966, after the release of Rubber Soul by The Beatles, everyone was waiting for the next revolutionary album to break the boundaries of music. 


Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys 

     The Beach Boys produced a well-beloved album that is still influential to this day. Their eleventh studio album, Pet Sounds, was released on May 16th, 1966. After the release, the album sales hit number two on the UK charts and number ten on the American charts. This piece was composed by Brian Wilson and redefined what pop music meant in the 60s.

     In later years, Pet Sounds can be described to have folk pop and jazz influences. Wilson had experimented with various sounds such as bells, horns, strings, and other non-instrument items. During Wilson’s production of Pet Sound, he revolutionized the structures of harmonies and chord voicings.

     In the song “You Still Believe in Me”, bicycle bells and horns can be heard towards the end of the song. The personal struggles of Brian Wilson’s youth are reflected throughout the album; with it revolving around central themes of love, loss, adulthood, and independence.

     The album had many hits that are instantly recognizable such as “Wouldn’t it be Nice”, which has been featured in the 2004 movie, 50 First Dates. 

     “If you take the Pet Sounds album as a collection of art pieces, each designed to stand alone, yet which belong together, you’ll see what I was aiming at. […] It wasn’t really a song concept album, or lyrically a concept album; it was really a production concept album.” – Brian Wilson 


Revolver by The Beatles 

Released on August 5th of 1966, The Beatles released their seventh studio album. A timeless album with each song intergenerationally recognizable. The release of Rubber Soul had already set the stage for their new album which introduced unheard experimental sounds.

     The Beatles are credited for paving the way for experimental rock music throughout the late 60s. George Harrison was able to shine with his use of the Indian sitar, which was first introduced in Revolver. The norms of studio production were revolutionized during the making of Revolver. The mix of dreamy guitar riffs, repetitiveness, and John Lennon’s entrancing voice produces a psychedelic-esque sound. Among the numerous things the Beatles have pioneered, psychedelic rock is also credited to Revolver. Like other 60’s bands, there is no denying that drugs were used during the production of Revolver.

     Throughout the album, there are themes of drug use, philosophy, love, and the human experience which are illustrated in an abstract way. 

     “We’d had acid on Revolver. Everyone is under this illusion… even George Martin saying ‘Pepper was their acid album,’ but we’d had acid, including Paul, by the time Revolver was finished. … Rubber Soul was our pot album, and Revolver was acid.” – John Lennon 1966


Blonde On Blonde by Bob Dylan

     Being 0ne of the first double albums released in the rock world, Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan was released on June 20th of 1966, marking it as the second album in his trilogy following Highway 61 Revisited. Bob Dylan, known for pumping out so many albums in just a few days, had trouble with this specific album when it came to recording. He had first decided to record with the Hawks in New York, but after numerous takes and tiring out the group, he had gone back on tour.

     One of the producers agreed to move the group to Nashville, hoping it would inspire Dylan and the group. Despite the album being recorded and mixed in Dylan’s hometown, the album cover was taken in New York. A total of 73 minutes, fit onto two albums, which perfectly encapsulated the music of the ’60s. Songs like “I Want You” which was originally released as a single, were a complete “Beatles-pop” type song.

     This album is timeless, for its writing is incredibly beautiful, each lyric being its own line of poetry. The delicate lyricism and Dylan’s raw voice still have an influence on music listeners and writers; reshaping what folk meant to the mainstream. 

     “It’s that thin, that wild mercury sound. It’s metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up.” – Bob Dylan 


Paving the path for our favorite bands and artists, the bands of the 60s have revolutionized how music is produced, and continue to have an impact on today’s world and many years to come.




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