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Carl Wilson

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Hawthorne, Los Angeles CA, United States (1961 – 1998)

Carl Dean Wilson (December 21, 1946 – February 6, 1998) was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as one of the founding members of The Beach Boys, alongside his brothers Brian and Dennis. As well as being an influential guitarist, Carl is regarded as having one of the finest singing voices in the rock idiom, notably performing lead vocals on The Beach Boys’ #1 hit “Good Vibrations”, also regarded as one of the greatest pop singles ever produced.

Born in Hawthorne, California to Murry and Audree Wilson, Carl Wilson was the youngest of the Wilsons’ three sons. A contrast to the ambitious and melancholy Brian and the rebellious Dennis, Carl was a quiet, well-mannered young man who rarely if ever felt the brunt of the parental abuse often perpetrated by father Murry. As a teenager, Carl became enamored with the growing scene, particularly Chuck Berry, whom he sought to emulate when learning to play the guitar. Carl’s love of rock and roll is partly credited with shaping the early sound of The Beach Boys, and as a result, as a whole.

When The Beach Boys were formed, Carl became lead guitarist; his Berry-inspired lead guitar lines are a staple of many of their early, primarily surf rock-driven hit singles, among them their very first, “Surfin’” (1961). During the first three years of the band’s existence, Carl rarely sang lead vocals.

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