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1998

"God only know's what I'd be without you..."
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     Mike Love, Alan Jardine, Carl Wilson & Bruce Johnston


Update:
Carl Dean Wilson, one of the most gentle and talented men in the music business, died at home, with his family at his bedside, on Friday evening, February 6, 1998. Carl fought gallantly against the illness that eventually claimed his life, and I am thankful that God let him walk among us for as long as he did. His sweet voice and his kind and gentle manner will always be remembered fondly in the Patterson household and to fans around the world! Rest in peace, Carl, "God Only Knows," you have earned it.

Gravesite Of Carl Dean Wilson

"HEAVEN"
Carl Wilson - 1984

It's like I'm sailing on the ocean 
Everytime I see your eyes 
You could be the wind that keeps me floating 
I could be in heaven for all I know 
Heaven's the place for me to go

I know your heart is very tender 
Your soft touch the breeze of life 
In your arms I feel a comfort 
I surrender in your smile 
Hold me close for just awhile 
No one ever could have told me how
No one ever could have told me how 
Heaven could be here on earth

The gentle waves of love in motion 
And the warmth of summer sun 
In your love I need no compass 
My direction has begun
Could you be an angel sent from God 
No one ever could have told me how 
No one ever could have told me how 
Heaven could be here on earth

Sunday, February 8, 1998 

AN APPRECIATION 
The Emotional--and Artistic--Anchor Music: His voice helped form the backbone of band's classic sound. 
By STEVE HOCHMAN, Special to The Times 

Wilson was the overlooked Beach Boy even though he sang the lead on some of the group's most significant songs and his guitar style was the signature sound of the band's earliest hits. 

He was easy to miss because brother Brian got the most attention as the creative center of the group and for his drug habits and what he acknowledged as mental problems. And Dennis became the poster boy for the California lifestyle that served as the band's gestalt (he was the only one who actually surfed in the early days). But it was Carl who gave the group the sound that was the first thing many people heard: the Chuck Berry-derived guitar lick that opens ''Surfin' U.S.A.,'' which in 1963 became the band's first national top 10 hit. He modified that style through such early hits as ''Fun, Fun, Fun,'' creating one of the most recognizable sounds of '60s California surf rock. It was as central as the close harmonies the brothers, cousin Mike Love and neighbor Al Jardine crafted. 

It's also his voice--sweet and high--that is the lead on several key Beach Boys songs, most notably ''Good Vibrations,'' the band's peak achievement. As such he provided an emotional anchor amid Brian's sonic experimentations. Carl's was, ultimately, the voice that best conveyed the sadness and uncertainties that emerged more and more in Brian's songs. 

Carl also in many ways was the glue that held the band together in the years when Brian was not a steady presence. Carl tried to fill the void by stepping forward as the producer of many sessions in the early '70s, a time when the band's popularity was fading and its internal dynamics were splintering. The group acknowledged this by recycling its pre-Beach Boys name, Carl and the Passions, for the 1972 album ''So Tough.'' 

Tired of the band becoming little more than a nostalgia act and weary of being the peacemaker between Love and both Dennis and Brian, Carl--who became romantically involved with Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie in 1979--left the group in 1981 and made two solo albums in the next three years. He returned, though, after Dennis' death in 1983. 

The rift between Brian and the rest of the group also seemed to wear particularly hard on Carl. At a 1993 party at the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood to celebrate the release of the box set anthology ''Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys,'' Carl was somber about the absence of Brian, then fresh from legal wrangles over the disposition of his affairs. In contrast to the spirit in the parking lot, filled for the occasion with sand on which attendees played volleyball and ate burgers, Carl stood inside the studio where many of the early Beach Boys hits were recorded, saddened that with Dennis' death and Brian's estrangement, he was the only Wilson brother on hand. ''I haven't talked to Brian in a while,'' he said with a shrug. ''I don't even know his current phone number.'' 

Once Brian's affairs and health were on the upswing, they became a closer family again. One particularly moving scene was captured in ''I Just Wasn't Made for These Times,'' a 1995 documentary about Brian made by record producer Don Was. In it, Brian, Carl and their mother, Audree, sit together at a piano, harmonizing on Brian's melancholy confessional ''In My Room.'' It was a family moment that hadn't happened through all the years since the Wilsons were boys. ''This is gonna sound stupid,'' Brian remarks in an interview segment that follows, ''but that's the first time we'd ever done that--Carl and mom and me singing together--since Hawthorne.'' 

Sunday, February 8, 1998 

Beach Boy Carl Wilson Dies of Cancer at 51 Music: His voice helped form the backbone of band's classic sound. 
By ROBERT J. LOPEZ, PATRICK KERKSTRA, Los AngelesTimes Staff Writers 

Wilson, a founding member of the Beach Boys, whose music helped define the Southern California lifestyle, has died from complications of lung cancer, the band's publicist said Saturday. He was 51. 

Wilson died Friday in Los Angeles with his family at his side.

Throughout his nearly four-decade career, Wilson was known for his sweet-sounding voice on such songs as "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and his stabilizing presence during the band's sometimes tumultuous history. 

"Carl Wilson could sing anything. He could sing the phone book and he would sound great," said Andy Paley, a songwriter and staff producer for Sire Records. 

Wilson was diagnosed with cancer last year. Still, he continued to press ahead with his music while undergoing treatment, said Alyson Dutch, the band's publicist. He played with the Beach Boys for the duration of their 36th annual tour last summer and appeared to be in good spirits. "He was doing very well," Dutch said.

Wilson was born in Hawthorne and began playing the guitar as a teenager. He and his brothers Brian and Dennis, cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine founded the Beach Boys in 1961. The Southern California quintet made its first public appearance on New Year's Eve in 1961 at Long Beach's Municipal Auditorium.

Dennis Wilson, who was killed in a swimming accident in 1983, came up with the idea of a surfing theme for the music. Brian Wilson and Love started writing lyrics, capitalizing on the surf music craze that had begun in the mid-1950s. With their quick guitar riffs, harmonic sounds and catchy lyrics, the band helped define the "surf sound" and in the process shaped the quintessential image of Southern California. Between 1962 and 1966, the Beach Boys registered more than a dozen top 20 singles. 

"As far as a super group goes, they're the nearest thing America has to the Beatles or the Rolling Stones," said Steve Brigati, a rock music historian. 

Wilson was blessed with a pitch-perfect voice that helped form the backbone of the band's classic sound. He played the guitar and was the band's lead singer on many of their classic recordings, including "Good Vibrations" and "God Only Knows." 

Wilson was a stabilizing presence over the years, as the group was torn by family feuds, drug abuse, fame and the death of Dennis Wilson. "Carl was like a rock for the group. He was the steady one. He was the tiller," said Sandy Friedman, executive vice president of Cowan and Rogers, who was the Beach Boys publicist from 1975 to 1992. 

In a 1985 interview with The Times, Wilson acknowledged the hard road that the band had traveled. "Sure, we've had our fair share of ups and downs," Wilson said. "But I don't know if we've had more than any other rock band. . . . We just have a way of getting ourselves into hot water." 

Although he was the group's emotional leader, Wilson was a private person who often preferred to shy away from the spotlight, recalled cousin Stan Love, brother of Mike Love. "He never wanted credit for their success, but he was the glue that held the band together," Stan Love said. "Whenever you saw a great Beach Boy concert you saw what Carl Wilson was bringing to the stage." 

High school classmate and musician Rick Henn said Wilson remained a down-to-earth person, never letting his fame get the best of him. "He was one of the kindest and nicest people that I'd met that had become a star. He was genuinely a sweet, caring and loving guy," said Henn, who played with the Sunrays, which toured with the Beach Boys. "That being said, he was also a wacky guy. He had a madcap personality and great sense of humor." 

In the early 1980s, Carl Wilson said he tired of the Beach Boys' focus on nostalgia and lack of musical growth. He left the group in 1981 and released a solo album that year. But he rejoined the group and had performed with them ever since--including the Beach Boys' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. Though he was in generally good spirits, his mother, Audree, died recently and he had been spending time with his family, Dutch said. The family was in seclusion Saturday. "It's the passing of a legend and a musical genre that not only affected the lives of the fans here but of people around the world," Dutch said. Private burial services were planned for later this week. Wilson is survived by his wife, Gina, and two sons, Jonah, 28, and Justyn, 26, Dutch said.

Beach Boy Carl Wilson Dies at 51

By Oscar Musibay Associated Press Writer
Saturday, February 7, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Carl Wilson, a founding member of The Beach Boys and lead guitarist for the seminal surf band, has died from complications of lung cancer, his family said Saturday. He was 51. 

Wilson, who also had brain cancer, died Friday evening in Los Angeles with his family at his side. 

``Even though he was diagnosed with cancer last year and going through treatment for a year, he was real fighter,'' said publicist Alyson Dutch. ``He participated in the entire summer tour this year.''

Ms. Dutch said family members, including brother and fellow Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson, would not be available for comment. 

Carl Dean Wilson was born in Hawthorne, a Los Angeles suburb about 5 miles from the Pacific. He learned to play guitar as a teen-ager and -- with brothers Brian and Dennis, cousin Mike Love and friend Alan Jardine -- founded The Beach Boys in 1961. 

Dennis Wilson, who was killed in a swimming accident in 1983, came up with the idea of a surfing theme for the music. Brian Wilson and Love started writing lyrics, capitalizing on the surfing craze that began in the mid-1950s. 

The Southern California quintet did not make its first public appearance until New Year's Eve 1961 at Long Beach's Municipal Auditorium. Their stage fright was not helped by the fact they could play only three songs. 

Despite the limited repertoire, the audience embraced the group. Throughout the 1960s and later, the band defined the ``surfing beat'' with such songs as ``I Get Around,'' ``Good Vibrations,'' Help Me Rhonda'' and ``Surfin' U.S.A.'' 

In the early 1980s, Carl Wilson said he tired of the Beach Boys' focus on nostalgia and lack of musical growth. He left the quintet in 1981 to work on a solo career, and released an album that year. 

But he later rejoined the group and had performed with them ever since -- including the Beach Boys' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. Despite battling cancer, he completed the band's 36th annual tour this summer, Ms. Dutch said. 

In addition to his brother, survivors include his wife Gina; and sons Jonah and Justyn. 

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

Previous Message from the summer of 1997:

Anyone who knows me, surely knows that I am a great fan of The Beach Boys, one of America's greatest and most popular bands.

It was recently disclosed that Carl Wilson, a founding member of the band and a gentle and loving soul, is extremely ill - having been disgnosed with cancer of the lung and brain. He is currently undergoing treatment in California.

Should you be so inclined, please send up a little prayer to whatever God you may believe in, asking for Carl's complete recovery.

Posted August 24, 1997:

I attended The Beach Boys concert at Jones Beach, New York, on the evening of 23 August 1997. Carl was with the band and, while he appears to have suffered some ill effects from his medical treatment (radiation and chemo-therapy), he seemed both happy and in good voice.

For upated information on the Pet Sounds Sessions, click here.

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"As I sit and close my eyes
There's peace in my mind
And I'm hoping that you find it too
And these feelings in my heart, I know are meant for you."

From: "Meant For You," - The Beach Boys, 1969

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