Family tree of Dennis WILSON

Singer & Musician

AmericanBorn Dennis Carl WILSON

American rock and roll musician best known as a founding member and the drummer of The Beach Boys

Born on December 04, 1944 in Hawthorne, California, USA , United States

Died on December 28, 1983 in Marina Del Rey, California, USA

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Dennis was the second oldest of the three Wilson brothers. Their mother, Audree, forced Brian to include Dennis in the earliest lineup of the Beach Boys. Urged by older cousin, Mike Love, Dennis had approached Brian to form a group and compose a song about surfing. The Beach Boys formed in August 1961 under the guidance of the Wilsons' father, Murry, and were successful immediately. Though the Beach Boys were named for, and developed, an image based on the California surfing culture, Dennis was the only serious[vague] surfer in the band.

During the first few years of the Beach Boys Wilson was given the role of the drummer by his brother, Brian. Wilson had little musical experience at the outset but quickly learned to play the drums. Brian Wilson took note of Dennis's limited drumming expertise early on and occasionally hired session drummers to perform on studio recordings. Dennis accepted this situation with equanimity, later stating, "Brian Wilson is the Beach Boys. We're just his messengers. He's everything—we're nothing." Although he rarely sang on stage, his raspy-sounding vocals were a key ingredient to the group's vocal blend in the studio.


Though given few important lead vocals on the early Beach Boys recordings ("Little Girl (You're My Miss America)" and "This Car of Mine" as well as the bridge verse on "Girls On The Beach") he sang lead on "Do You Wanna Dance?" in February 1965. Later that year on Beach Boys' Party!, Dennis sang a rendition of the Beatles' "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." He accompanied himself on guitar and like the other Beach Boys became a multi-instrumentalist. His piano playing in particular was showcased on his Pacific Ocean Blue album.

Dennis Wilson's first major released composition was "Little Bird," the B-side of the "Friends" single, though he had already helped Brian write a few other songs dating back to 1963.

Wilson had further compositions featured on later Beach Boys albums such as 20/20 (1969), Sunflower (1970), Carl and the Passions - "So Tough" (1972), Holland (1973) as well as others. Sunflower included the track "Forever," which not only was popular with fans but also earned him some much sought praise from brother Brian and father Murry. The album included three other songs written by Wilson which were not originally recorded for the album.

In 1971, Dennis injured his hand badly enough to prevent him from playing drums for some time, and Ricky Fataar took over as the group's drummer between 1972 and 1974. During this period Dennis acted as a co-frontman alongside Mike Love, as well as playing keyboards and singing. The 1973 live album The Beach Boys In Concert features only Dennis onstage among thousands of fans on the album cover; however, none of his songs were included in the lineup.

During the three-year recording hiatus following Holland, Dennis's voice deteriorated markedly. By then his onstage antics (including streaking) occasionally disrupted the Beach Boys' live shows.

In 1974 concurrent with the success of the '60s hits compilation Endless Summer, Wilson returned to his role behind the drums. According to Dennis's biographer, Jon Stebbins, it was this year that he co-wrote the lyrics and modified part of the melody of "You Are So Beautiful" at a party with Billy Preston.

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Geographical origins

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