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

Cat composer Alexander Livitsanos

This utterly adorable kitten is the ultimate distraction from work

chocolate bar musical taste

Can we guess your favourite chocolate bar from your favourite composer?

broken e-string violin

This clip captures the sheer horror of an E-string snapping halfway through a live radio broadcast