American drummer, singer and songwriter Dennis Wilson was born December 4, 1944 in Inglewood, California. He was the middle brother of fellow Beach Boys members Brian Wilson and Carl Wilson and was a founding member of The Beach Boys, alongside his brothers, Brian and Carl, and cousin, Mike Love. Dennis Joined the Beach Boys thanks to his mother, Audree, and older cousin, Mike Love.
The Beach Boys formed in August 1961 and became hugely successful. Although the Beach Boys developed, an image based on the California surfing culture, Dennis was the only actual surfer in the band. During the first few years of the Beach Boys, Dennis was given the role of the drummer by his brother, Brian. He quickly learned the basics of drumming, and like the other members, he picked up more on the job.Although he rarely sang backing vocals on stage, occasionally taking a lead, his raspy-sounding vocals were a key ingredient to the group’s vocal blend in the studio, and in the late Sixties and Seventies his lead vocals lent a much-needed bluesy edge to an updating the Beach Boys’ sound, giving their music new dimensions
He sang 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”)and “Do You Wanna Dance?”. He also sang an impressive, faithful rendition of The Beatles’ “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.” And accompanied himself on guitar and like the other Beach Boys became a multi-instrumentalist. Often Assisted by Daryl Dragon, who collaborated on Dennis’s solo album Pacific Ocean Blue. Dennis Wilson’s first major released composition was “Little Bird,” the B-side of the “Friends” single, coupled with “Be Still”. As Brian withdrew Dennis became a major creative force within the Beach Boys, writing many of thesongs which showed cosmic Gothic overtones. such as 20/20 (1969), Sunflower (1970), “So Tough” (1972) and Holland (1973). In 1971, Dennis injured his hand 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, playing keyboards and singing. In 1974 Wilson returned to drumming.
Early in 1963, Dennis teamed with Brian’s former collaborator Gary Usher to form the Four-Speeds, And they released the single “RPM”/”My Stingray”. On December 4, 1970, Wilson released the solo singles”Lady” and “Sound of Fire”, under the name “Dennis Wilson & Rumbo”, this was later covered by American Spring and released as the B-side to their single “Shyin’ Away.”. Wilson released his debut solo album Pacific Ocean Blue in 1977. His collaborators on the album included Daryl Dragon (the ‘Captain’ of Captain & Tennille) and Gregg Jakobson, which became popular. Pacific Ocean Blue’s follow-up album, Bambu, included the songs: “It’s Not Too Late”, “Constant Companion”, “All Alone”, and “Under The Moonlight”. Both PacificBlue and Bambu were rereleased in 2008. Later years saw Wilson battling alcohol abuse. Smoking had also taken a toll on his voice, although the resultant gravelly effect helped define him as a singer.
Sadly On December 28, 1983, shortly after his 39th birthday, Wilson drowned at Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, after drinking all day and diving in the afternoon to recover items he had thrown overboard at the marina from his yacht three years prior. Dennis Wilson’s body was buried at sea off the California coast (coordinates 33° 53.9 N, 118° 38.8 W) by the U.S. Coast Guard on January 4, 1984. His song “Farewell My Friend” was played at the funeral. Wilson’s life has inspired the 2014 biopic The Drummer, directed and cowritten by Randall Miller. With Aaron Eckhart as Wilson and Vera Farmiga as former Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie. It co stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Rupert Grint.