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Brian Wilson is one of the most influential songwriters in rock and roll history and the front man for the Beach Boys.
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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, as drugs and mental issues would plague Wilson for years.
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.
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