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Carl Wilson

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Carl Dean Wilson (December 21, 1946 – February 6, 1998) was the youngest of the three brothers who made up the core of The Beach Boys.

The band’s lead guitarist, Wilson played the Chuck Berry-esque leads on many of their early hits. Because the band first became successful when he was in his teens, he was still developing as a musician and singer. His lead vocals in the band’s first three years included “Summertime Blues” (duet with David Marks), “Louie, Louie” (splitting the lead with Mike Love), “Pom Pom Play Girl,” “All Dressed Up For School”, and “Girl Don’t Tell Me”.

When the band started being augmented or replaced by session musicians on many of their mid-’60s recordings (they contributed the majority of the instrumental work themselves on the early-’60s recordings), Carl recorded his guitar leads during the Beach Boys vocal sessions, with his guitar plugged directly into the soundboard.

By the mid-1960s, he had become a far stronger vocalist and an accomplished live performer, and following his masterly lead on “God Only Knows”, in 1966, was often featured as lead vocalist for the band (a role previously dominated by Mike Love and Brian Wilson), singing many leads on the Smiley Smile and Wild Honey albums, including the hit singles “Good Vibrations,” “Darlin’,” and “Wild Honey.”

After his elder brother Brian’s retirement from the stage in 1965, Carl became the de facto leader of the band onstage (contracts at that time reading that promoters hired ‘Carl Wilson plus four other musicians’), and shortly after became the band’s in-studio leader, producing the bulk of the albums 20/20

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