Month: August 2019

Herman Melville

Herman Melville’s Pet Sounds

What does Herman Melville have in common with Brian Wilson you ask?  Both were quirky, burly men who, at one time or another, sported a bushy beard, but the similarity goes deeper than that. Born more than a century apart, both men were in their twenties when their first creations received such overwhelming success that thwarted a fuller appreciation of the works now considered the pinnacle of their creativity. Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, sold one-fourth of his first book, a title many would be hard pressed to name (read on for the answer).  Upon its release in May 1966, executives at Capitol Records were so anxious about the sales of Pet Sounds they rushed out a greatest hits compilation to assuage the corporate bean counters.   Now, both works are considered masterpieces. Sadly, when he died at 72 in 1891, Melville had been largely forgotten and did not see his masterpiece revered as one of the greatest books ever written.  Fortunately, Wilson, now 77, has enjoyed the accolades heaped on Pet Sounds and his creative …