Album of the Day
If working side-by-side with Brian Wilson on the follow-up to The Beach Boys' PET SOUNDS didn't intimidate Van Dyke Parks, nothing would, and the singer-songwriter's 1967 debut is among the most ambitious recordings of that epochal year. SONG CYCLE attempts nothing less than to encapsulate all of American popular music, looking back decades to bring bluegrass, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley and more into the rock era. Produced by Lenny Waronker, the Warner Bros. concept album pushed label budgets and studio technology to their limits, with elaborate orchestral arrangements coloring Parks' impressionistic snapshots of Southern California. Van Dyke Parks was born on this day in 1943, and we'll give SONG CYCLE another spin in his honor.