Dennis Wilson the Most Underrated Beach Boy
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Dennis Wilson the Most Underrated Beach Boy

The Life of Dennis Wilson, drummer for the Beach Boys. Dennis Wilson, drummer fro the Beach Boys, was a highly underrated musician.

Dennis Wilson was the drummer and sometimes provided lead vocals for the Beach Boys. He was born December 4, 1944 in California and died December 28, 1983 after drinking all day and then diving to recover objects he had thrown off his yacht into Marina del Rey three years earlier. Dennis was considered the black sheep of the Beach Boys due to his drug and alcohol abuse. This combined with his smoking took a toll on his voice but gave him that raspy sound that was unique to the Beach Boys.

The Beach Boys formed in 1961 when Dennis approached his brother Brian to form a surf band with him, their other brother Carl, and cousin Mike Love. Dennis was the only serious surfer in the band and he truly epitomized the beach lifestyle. Brian was eventually pressured by family members to allow Dennis in on drums and even though Dennis’ talents didn’t shine at first they would eventually come to light with his drumming, song writing and vocal skills. Like the other Beach Boys Dennis would become a multi-instrumentalist with his abilities on piano being particularly evident. He sang lead on the songs “Do You Wanna Dance” and a Beatles cover of “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.”

In 1968 Dennis picked up a couple of female hitchhikers and brought them to his home, a decision he would come to regret. This led to him meeting Charles Manson and “Tex“ Watson, the responsible parties in the La Bianca and Tate Murders. At first Dennis was interested in Manson’s songwriting abilities, even going so far as to get him to Brian Wilson’s home studio to record songs written by Manson. Manson’s song “Cease to Exist” later titled “Never Learn to Love” was released on the Beach Boys 20/20 album. When Dennis became aware of Manson’s volatile nature he moved out of his own home rather than ask them to leave.

In 1972 Dennis injured his hand in an accident and was replaced on the drums. He moved into the position of keyboard player and doing lead vocals. Eventually in 1977 he would release his solo album Pacific Ocean Blue. The album is hauntingly beautiful with his passionate vocals on such tracks as “River Song”, “Thoughts of You”, “Friday Night” and “Time”. "Farwell My Friend" was played at his funeral. The songs are reminiscent of Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues. They highlight Dennis’ skill as a piano player and vocalist with reverberating soul and depth of emotion.

By far Dennis was a highly underrated musician and if you have the chance listen to a few of his songs on Pacific Ocean Blue and you will see how much the beauty of his spirit shines through.


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