Two days apart. That’s all the difference it made to shake up pop music. One might argue, and rightly so, that music has always been moving forward, progressing along a continuum. A musical evolution of sorts. But this particular evolutionary development was far more profound. It could be described as a pivotal event. The musical soundscape would be altered forever.
Had it been a horse race, Paul McCartney would have won by a nose. In the photo finish you would have clearly spotted Brian Wilson, just a hair’s breadth away from snatching the trophy. But it really was a race. A race to see which musical threshold would be crossed first. What new, innovative songwriting and production would thrust pop music out of a genre stagnating from simple chord progressions and uncomplicated lyrics?
In such a musical race, McCartney would argue that Wilson won the first heat, with his innovative Beach Boys album, Pet Sounds. Wilson, on the other hand, would respond that his inspiration for Pet Sounds resulted from listening to songs composed by Lennon & McCartney (and George Harrison) on their Beatles album, Rubber Soul. In fact, Wilson himself has gone on record to state precisely that.
McCartney, though, has countered that Wilson’s “God Only Knows“ from Pet Sounds, inspired him to write “Here, There and Everywhere” from the Beatles album, Revolver. Moreover, McCartney revealed that after Rubber Soul, the Beatles, upon listening to Pet Sounds, wanted to produce an album that would match its level of innovative production. The result was Revolver. Both Pet Sounds and Revolver were released in 1966, the former in May, the latter in August.
The relationship between Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson is immutable. It was written in the stars. An event of cosmic proportions. They were born just two days apart, 75 years ago. Paul on June 18 and Brian on June 20, in 1942. Astrologically, they are Geminis, a sign represented by twins. They are indeed musical twins represented by genius. Innovators inspiring each other to create the most original and most imaginative music of an era. Two days. Too genius!