- NAME: Brian Wilson
- OCCUPATION: Songwriter, Singer
- BIRTH DATE: June 20, 1942 (Age: 71)
- Did You Know?: The Beach Boys released a song written by Charles Manson, "Cease To Exist" (renamed "Never Learn Not To Love"), as a single B-side on their 1969 album, 20/20.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Inglewood, California
- ZODIAC SIGN: Gemini
Best Known For
Brian Wilson is one of the most influential songwriters in rock 'n' roll history, best known as the frontman for the Beach Boys.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Born in California in 1942, Brian Wilson formed the Beach Boys in 1961 and had a long string of hits. Moving beyond the cheery harmonies and catchy hooks that characterized his early music, Brian Wilson elevated himself and the Beach Boys to the status of rock legends with the release of the acclaimed album Pet Sounds in 1966. This would be the last Beach Boys album,
"I had a good childhood—except for my dad beating me up all the time."
"'Caroline, No' makes people cry. 'God Only Knows' makes people cry. A lot of love went into ['Pet Sounds']."
"At times I thought I'd never be happy ever again, and then at times I did."
"My father hit me, but he didn't hit my ear. I've never heard stereophonic sound ever in my life."
"I'm having much more fun than I did as a Beach Boy. Because I'm no longer a Beach Boy. I'm Brian Wilson."
[From 'The Guardian' interview, published May 31, 2002.]
as drugs and mental issues would plague Wilson for years.
One of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century, Brian Douglas Wilson was born on June 20, 1942, in Inglewood, California. Wilson endured a rough childhood. He was subjected to regular physical abuse by his father, Murry Wilson, and describes his mother, Audree Wilson, as an alcoholic. However, the Wilsons were also a very musical family. Both of his parents played piano, and Brian often joined his younger brothers, Dennis and Carl, in singing harmonies in the living room. Brian Wilson remembers his childhood with mixed feelings, once telling an interviewer, "I had a good childhood—except for my dad beating me up all the time."
As Wilson grew older, he increasingly turned to music as an escape from the pain of his home life. Along with his two younger brothers and their cousin, Mike Love, Wilson began singing at parties and small gatherings. The four relatives joined with high school friend Al Jardine to form a band in the late 1950s. Initially called The Pendletones, a name chosen because of the popular Pendleton flannel shirts that became the group's uniform throughout the 60s, the band changed its name to the Beach Boys in 1961. They released their first single, "Surfin'," in December 1961. Within a few months, "Surfin'" cracked Billboard's Hot 100 singles list, eventually peaking at No. 75 while remaining on the chart for six weeks. The Beach Boys signed with Capitol Records in 1962, and in the same year released their first full album, Surfin' Safari, which reached No. 32 on Billboard's Albums chart.
With Brian Wilson serving as their primary composer, the Beach Boys released a slew of hit singles during the early 1960s, creating music that would come to epitomize a generation. The Beach Boys released three albums in 1963 alone: Surfin' U.S.A., Surfer Girl and Little Deuce Coupe, all of which cracked the Top 10. They followed that breakout year with hit releases like All Summer Long (1964) and Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) (1965). Some of the band's most iconic songs from this era include "Surfin' U.SA.," "Little Deuce Coupe," and "California Girls." The early Beach Boys sound, cheery and bright, came to represent the California youth culture of the period.
Moving beyond the cheery harmonies and catchy hooks that characterized his early music, Brian Wilson elevated himself and the Beach Boys to the status of rock legends with the release of the widely acclaimed album Pet Sounds in 1966. Wilson quit touring with the band in order to focus all of his energy on writing Pet Sounds with his new collaborator, Tony Asher.
profile name: Brian Wilson profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Explore our collection of famous recluses, including Howard Hughes, Greta Garbo, Bettie Page, Bobby Fischer, Lauryn Hill, Doris Day, Harper Lee, Emily Dickinson, Brian Wilson, Dave Chappelle and J.D. Salinger. See our picks, along with full biographies, photo galleries and videos, only on Biography.com.
Famous Recluses 20 people in this group
Originally called Toast of the Town, The Ed Sullivan Show ran from 1948-1971 on CBS and was an American staple in the 50s and 60s. The American variety show featured the Who's Who of celebritydom over the decades, including Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Tony Bennett, Carol Channing, Lucille Ball, The Jackson 5, and The Doors.
The Ed Sullivan Show Guests 215 people in this group
The Beach Boys 5 people in this group