Dennis Wilson was born December 4th, 1944 in Inglewood, California to Murray Wilson and Audree Korthof. Dennis wasn't a fan of the family sing-a-longs as a boy, as he was a very active, combative boy.
Dennis primarily played drums and sang backing vocals for the Beach Boys from its formation until his death in 1983. He often refused to sing on the early recordings his brother, Brian, made. In fact, the boys' mother forced Brian to include Dennis in the early formulation of the band, which debuted to near immediate success in 1961. Dennis' took lessons to learn basic drumming skills, and was often replaced with studio musicians when early albums were recorded. His only chance at lead vocals in those years were on the 1965 hit, "Do You Wanna Dance?".
Dennis was the only actual surfer in The Beach Boys, and his personal life exemplified the "California Myth" that the group's early songs often celebrated. With time, Dennis picked up other instruments, eventually becoming skilled in playing the piano to accompany his own vocals on later Beach Boys recordings and into his solo work.
While Dennis sang few lead vocals in the 1960s, his prominence as a singer-songwriter increased into the 1970s. His original songs for the band included "Forever", "Little Bird", and "Slip On Through". He also helped pen "You Are So Beautiful", which became a hit for Joe Cocker in 1974. As his brother Brian pulled away from the Beach Boys, Dennis took over creative leadership. He also dipped into acting, performing alongside James Taylor and Warren Oates in "Two-Lane Blacktop" in 1971.
Dennis' only solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue (1977), was released to positive reviews, but a moderate popular appeal. Written and recorded over a span of several years, the album peaked on US record charts at number 96 during a 12-week stay. Sessions for a follow-up album, Bambu, disintegrated before Wilson's death, but was posthumously released in a later re-issue of Pacific Ocean Blue.
Briefly during 1968, Dennis was associated and fascinated with Charles Manson and his followers, even allowing them to live with him for a time. Dennis referred to Manson as "The Wizard" during the brief interlude.Despite trying to help him connect with the music industry, Manson's nature soon started to concern Dennis, and he broke with the group and actually moved out of his own house, the lease about to expire, in order to disassociate himself and let the landlord evict the cult instead. The Beach Boys did release one Manson composition, originally titled "Cease to Exist" but redubbed and performed as "Never Learn Not to Love", a B-side on their "20/20" album. Dennis carried guilt about his relationship with the Manson cult for the rest of his life.
In later years, Dennis had alcohol trouble, and his years of smoking caught up with him, taking a toll on his voice. Dennis drowned at age 39, December 28th, 1983, at Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, California, after drinking all day with friends and diving into the ocean for lost items from three years prior. He was buried at sea off the coast of California, a burial only possible due to the intervention of President Ronald Reagan due to laws preventing non-Coast Guard and Navy veterans from being buried at sea.
In 1988, Dennis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame posthumously as a member of the Beach Boys.
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On 5 Dec 2019 at 08:45 GMT Debbie (Fink) Thomas wrote:
Dennis and Debbie are 13th cousins
On 4 Dec 2019 at 13:58 GMT Gail (Andrews) Hardy wrote:
On 3 Dec 2019 at 13:56 GMT Doug Laidlaw wrote:
On 3 Dec 2019 at 06:16 GMT Teresa Langford wrote:
On 23 Oct 2019 at 21:56 GMT Abby (Brown) Glann wrote:
We plan on featuring Dennis as the Example Profile of the Week in the Connection finder on December 4th. Between now and then is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards. I will check on the profile closer to the week we'll feature it and make changes as necessary.