Dennis Carl Wilson (December 4, 1944 – December 28, 1983) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter who co-founded the Beach Boys. He is best remembered as their drummer and as the middle brother of bandmates Brian and Carl Wilson. Dennis was the only true surfer in the Beach Boys, and his personal life exemplified the "California Myth" that the band's early songs often celebrated. He was also known for his brief association with then-aspiring songwriter Charles Manson, who was later convicted of murder conspiracy. Dennis served mainly on drums and backing vocals for the Beach Boys, and contrary to popular belief, his playing can be heard on many of the group's hits. He was allowed few lead vocals in the 1960s, but his prominence as a singer-songwriter increased into the 1970s. His original songs for the group included "Little Bird" (1968), "Forever" (1970), and "Slip On Through" (1970). Although uncredited, Wilson helped pen "You Are So Beautiful", a hit for Joe Cocker in 1974. His music has been characterized for reflecting "his edginess and exhibited little of his happy charm, setting it apart from Brian’s music. ... By all appearances the happy-go-lucky Beach Boy, Dennis Wilson lived out the proverbial live-fast-die-young motto. ... His wild side masked an underside that was, by turns, brooding, self-loathing, sensitive, and anxious." Wilson's only solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue (1977), was released to warm reviews, but a moderate commercial reception. 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, Bambu, disintegrated before his death in 1983. Five years later, Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Beach Boys.
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