... he died on December 28, 1983 when he was 39.
Dennis Carl Wilson was a founding member and the drummer of The Beach Boys along with brothers Brian and Carl, cousin Mike Love and family friend, Al Jardine. He was a member of the group until his death in 1983.
In contrast to the other members of the group, Dennis seldom sang backup vocals at live performances, though he did so in the studio. His prominence in the group increased as their careers went on, sometimes singing lead, and as a writer towards and into the 1970s.
Born in Inglewood, California, Dennis was the second oldest of the three Wilson brothers. Their mother, Audree, forced Brian to include Dennis in the earliest lineup of the Beach Boys to keep him occupied and out of trouble.
The Beach Boys formed in August 1961 under the guidance of father Murry Wilson, meeting immediate success. Though the Beach Boys were named for and developed an image based on the California surfing culture, Dennis was the only real surfer in the band.
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Though his lead vocals on the early Beach Boys recordings were rare, ("Little Girl (You're My Miss America)" and "This Car of Mine" as well as the bridge verse on "Girls On The Beach") he sang lead on "Do You Wanna Dance?" in February 1965. Later that year on Beach Boys' Party!, Dennis sang a rendition of The Beatles' "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." He accompanied himself on guitar, and like the other Beach Boys, became a multi-instrumentalist. His piano playing in particular was showcased on his Pacific Ocean Blue album.
Dennis became fascinated by Manson and his followers. The "Manson Family" lived with Wilson for a period of time afterwards, at his expense.
In 1971, Dennis Wilson starred alongside James Taylor and Warren Oates in the critically acclaimed film Two-Lane Blacktop as "The Mechanic."
In December 1970, Dennis released his first piece of solo material, a little-known single released under the name "Dennis Wilson & Rumbo," and released his debut solo album Pacific Ocean Blue in 1977. His collaborators on the album included Daryl Dragon of the Captain & Tennille.
The album peaked at #96 in the US and sold around 300,000 copies, matching that year's Beach Boys album Love You.
Pacific Ocean Blue's follow-up, Bambu, began production in the year 1978 at Brother Studios in Santa Monica with the collaboration of then Beach Boys keyboardist and Dennis's close friend Carli Muñoz as songwriter and producer.
During the three-year recording hiatus following Holland, Dennis's voice deteriorated markedly. By then his onstage antics (including streaking) occasionally disrupted the Beach Boys' live shows.
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 back in 1980.
On January 4, 1984 he was buried at sea off the California coast by the U.S. Coast Guard. His song Farewell My Friend was played at the funeral.