Is this the most beautiful string arrangement in any pop song ever?

17 May 2016, 13:11

brian wilson strings

Brian Wilson’s ‘Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder’ has the most stunningly simple yet gorgeous string arrangement and we will fight any naysayers.

Beach Boy head honcho and chief sandpit composer Brian Wilson is an unalloyed genius. We all know this. But unlike so many contemporaries in the pop world, the tricky art of arranging strings logically and beautifully comes absolutely naturally to him.

Just listen to the rich, Schubertian string arrangement in ‘Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)’, from 1966’s Pet Sounds (which is currently celebrating its 50th birthday with a worldwide Brian Wilson tour):

And now hear how it slots in to the whole song:

Wilson's songwriting collaborator Tony Asher noted in an interview with albumlinernote.com just how impressive these arrangements were, given that Wilson used only a few string players at a time:

“If you've got 40 strings, somebody'll be playing the right notes. But when you've only got 4 or 5 or a small number of voices, everything's audible, and there's nothing to distract people's ear from what you're writing.”

Classic FM Apps

Get the Classic FM app for iPhone, iPad and Android - now with HD audio

Musical abbreviations quiz asset

You won’t get 20/20 on this quiz if you don’t know your musical abbreviations

musician would you rather

This musician edition of Would You Rather is completely excruciating

greatest best man speech

Everyone is saying this pianist gave the greatest best man speech of all time