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Brian Wilson Biography

Home > Music > W > Wilson, Brian > Biography

Birth Name: Brian Douglas Wilson
Born: 1942/06/20
Birth Place: Inglewood, California, United States
Years Active: 1961–present
Genres: Rock, Pop, Outsider Music

Brian Wilson (born June 20, 1942) is an American musician, best known as the leader and chief songwriter of the group The Beach Boys. Within the band, Wilson played bass and keyboards, also providing part-time lead vocals and, more often, backing vocals, harmonizing in falsetto with the group. Besides being the primary composer in The Beach Boys, he also functioned as the band's main producer and arranger. Wilson was responsible for writing and soon produced most of the Beach Boys earliest and most successful music including more than two dozen Top 40 hits and a large portion of the songs on most of the bands 1960's albums.

In the mid-60's Wilson started to use his increasingly creative ambitions to compose music such as 1966’s “Pet Sounds” which is considered one of the greatest albums of all time and the hit single “Good Vibrations.” During this point in time his music was considered to rival that of The Beatles’ songwriting team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

The intended follow up to Pet Sounds, “Smile,” was cancelled for various reasons, including Wilson's deteriorating mental health, and his life was derailed following years of drug abuse and mental illness. Wilson's contributions to The Beach Boys began to diminish as the years went by, and his erratic behavior led to tensions with the band.

After years of treatment and recuperation, he began a solo career in 1988 with “Brian Wilson,” the same year that he and The Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Since then he has managed to fight his personal demons and tour for the first time in decades with a new band and release acclaimed albums such as a reworked version of “Smile,” “That Lucky Old Sun,” “Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin” and “In The Key Of Disney.”

Wilson also won a Grammy Award in 2005 for “Mrs. O'Leary's Cow (Fire)” as Best Rock Instrumental. He is an occasional actor and voice actor, having appeared in television shows, films, and other artists' music videos. Though no longer a part of The Beach Boys touring band, Wilson remains a member of the Beach Boys corporation, Brother Records Incorporated.