It was greeted with some confusion by fans and even members of the band, but the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” album has attained more reverence and legend as the years move along. It is today considered among the classic pieces of the 1960s.
Now Cantus, the nine-member male chorus that has achieved a national following, will perform the album in concert this weekend and next — bookended with other songs of the era — in the group’s annual “Covers” concert at Cowles Center.
The performance will not be a carbon copy of the Brian Wilson-led masterwork. Instead, the singers and musicians will tap different genres, such as jazz, bluegrass and funk in interpreting the songs.
We asked the singers what their favorite number is, and why. Here are the answers and with apologies to Paul McCartney — who said it was the greatest song of all time — “God Only Knows” wasn’t selected No. 1 by any of the nine Cantus men. Maybe they thought it was too obvious?
Paul Scholtz, tenor: “Caroline, No.” Generally, I’m always drawn to sad songs, but there’s something about how the emotion is captured so perfectly in both text and melody that is irresistible.
Joe Shadday, tenor: “Waiting for the Day” shows the capabilities of our organization to take a familiar tune and present it in a way that is unique. Paul Rudoi arranged this piece and did such a wonderful job that the average listener may think the song was meant to be a bluegrass tune.
Zac Colby, tenor: “You Still Believe in Me.” I love singing the almost Mozartian vocalise on the word “cry.”
Adam Fieldson, tenor: The title song, “Pet Sounds.” I know that it’s just an instrumental track, but I love it because Brian Wilson originally conceived it to be in a future Bond film. I’m a big 007 fan.
Matt Tintes, baritone: Selfishly, I really like “Here Today,” because I arranged our version, and I get to play my trumpet on that track! However, our version of “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” has some harmonic moments that are simply amazing.
Paul Rudoi, tenor: “Pet Sounds.” On the surface it sounds totally different from the rest of the album. But as I was arranging it I realized the entire album has connective harmonic tissue and shifts. It made it all the more obvious that Brian Wilson was a genius, with a very specific and unique set of harmonies, rhythms and melodic contours from which he pooled to create his music.
Samuel Green, bass: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” The dreamlike and hopeful quality of this song has always evoked a sense of yearning from me, and as a newlywed, the reality of the lyrics ring so true.
Matt Goinz, baritone: “I Know There’s an Answer.” We’re giving it a grooving, funky treatment for the show.
Chris Foss, bass: I’d have to say the end of the album is my favorite, as it’s the most emotionally interesting to me. The great nature of the “outsider” is captured really well in “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.” Even today, it seems like there’s always a stigma attached to being outside society’s definition of “normal,” and given that this was written 50 years ago, it seems like a universal truth that we rarely talk about.