March 3, 2017 – Jim Fuller, co-founding member and lead guitarist of the Surfaris, was born on June 27, 1947. In 1962, Bob Berryhill (15), Jim Fuller (15), Pat Connolly (15) and Ron Wilson (17) from Glendora, California formed The Surfaris.
It was the year that the surf music craze was just emerging and “Wipe Out” was written that winter. Saxophonist, Jim Pash, joined the band after “Wipe Out” was recorded.
Initially catapulted by the California surf culture, The Surfaris transcended the local scene into international stardom with their hit song “Wipe Out.” On a cold December night that same year, these four young teenagers wrote Wipe Out in the studio after recording Surfer Joe. With the help of manager Dale Smallin (Wipe Out laugh intro) and recording engineer Paul Buff, The Surfaris recorded the 1963 hit version of Wipe Out and Surfer Joe. Continue reading Jim Fuller 3/2017
June 14, 2009 – Bob Bogle (The Ventures) was born on Jan 16, 1934 near Wagoner, Oklahoma. After leaving school at 15 he worked as a bricklayer in California.
In 1958, while working on different construction sites he met up with fellow mason worker Don Wilson in Seattle, the two formed a band called The Versatones. The duo played small clubs, beer bars, and private parties throughout the Pacific Northwest. They recruited bassist Nokie Edwards, Skip Moore on drums and changed their name to the Ventures.
March 26, 2004 – Jan William Berry (Jan and Dean) was born April 3rd 1941 in Los Angeles California. His mother was born in Norway and his dad was the project engineer for Howard Hughes “Spruce Goose”, the largest flying boat ever built, with a wing span of one inch short of 320 feet. He flew on the plane’s only flight with Howard Hughes.
Berry and Dean Ormsby Torrence , both born in Los Angeles, California, met while students at Emerson Junior High School in Westwood, Los Angeles, and both were on the school’s football team. By 1957, they were students in the Vagabond Class of 1958 at the nearby University High School, where again they were on the school’s football team, the Warriors. Berry and Torrence had adjoining lockers, and after football practice, they began harmonizing together in the showers with several other football players, including future actor James Brolin.
February 6, 1998- Carl Dean Wilson was born on December 21, 1946 in Hawthorne, California. From his pre-teens he practiced harmony vocals under the guidance of his brother Brian, who often sang in the family music room with his mother and brothers.
Inspired by country star Spade Cooley, at the age of 12, Carl asked his parents to buy him a guitar, for which he took some lessons. In 1982, Carl remembered from this time: “The kid across the street, David Marks, was taking guitar lessons from John Maus, so I started, too. David and I were about 12 and John was only three years older, but we thought he was a shit-hot guitarist. John and his sister Judy did fraternity gigs together as a duo. Later John moved to England and became one of the Walker Brothers. He showed me some fingerpicking techniques and strumming stuff that I still use. When I play a solo, he’s still there.”
While Brian perfected the band’s vocal style and keyboard base, Carl’s Chuck Berry-esque guitar became an early Beach Boys trademark. While in high school, Carl also studied saxophone.
Turning 15 as the group’s first hit, “Surfin'”, broke locally in Los Angeles, Carl’s father and manager, Murry (who had sold his business to support his sons’ band), bought him a Fender Jaguar guitar. Carl developed as a musician and singer through the band’s early recordings and the early “surf lick” sound quickly evolved into the rock sophistication of “Fun, Fun, Fun”, recorded in 1964 when Carl was 17. By the end of 1964, he was diversifying, favoring the 12-string Rickenbacker that was also notably used by Roger McGuinn in establishing the sound of the Byrds and by George Harrison of The Beatles during this era. Dave Marsh, in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll (1976), stated that Pete Townshend of The Who expanded on both R&B and white rock “influenced heavily by Beach Boy Carl Wilson.”
Carl’s lead vocals in the band’s first three years were infrequent. Although all members of the band played on their early recordings, Brian began to employ experienced session musicians to play on the group’s instrumental tracks by 1965. Unlike the other members of the band, Carl often played alongside with session musicians. He also recorded his individual guitar leads during the Beach Boys’ vocal sessions, with his guitar plugged directly into the soundboard. His playing can be heard on tracks like 1965’s “Girl Don’t Tell Me” and 1966’s “That’s Not Me”.
In 1965 he took over as lead singer in and part running the band in 1966, and then fully in 1970.
In 1969, the Beach Boys’ rendition of “I Can Hear Music” was the first track produced solely by Carl Wilson. By then, he had effectively become the band’s in-studio leader, producing the bulk of the albums during the early 1970s.
Though Carl had written surf instrumentals for the band in the early days, he did not gain prominence as a songwriter until the 1971 album Surf’s Up, for which he composed “Long Promised Road” and “Feel Flows”, with lyrics by the band’s then manager Jack Rieley. Carl considered “Long Promised Road” his first real song. After producing the majority of Carl and the Passions – “So Tough” (1972) and Holland (1973), Carl’s leadership role diminished somewhat, due to Brian’s brief public reemergence and because of Carl’s own substance abuse problems.
For L.A. (Light Album) (1979), Carl contributed three songs, among them “Good Timin'”, co-written with Brian five years earler, which became a Top 40 American hit. Carl’s main writing partner in the late 1970s was Geoffrey Cushing-Murray, but for Keepin’ the Summer Alive (1980) he wrote with Randy Bachman of the band Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Carl told Michael Feeney Callan, writer-director of the 1993 documentary The Beach Boys Today (a celebration of the Beach Boys’ 30th anniversary), that Bachman was his favorite writing partner, accordingly: “Basically because he rocked, and I love to rock”.
As a producer and vocalist, Carl’s work was not confined to the Beach Boys. He was widely regarded to have had one of the finest voices in rock and his voice appears as a backing vocal on many recordings by groups and solo singers during the 1970s, while he also produced records for other artists, such as Ricci Martin (son of Dean Martin) and South African group the Flame, two members of which later temporarily joined the Beach Boys’ line-up. He lent backing vocals to many works, including Chicago’s hits “Baby, What a Big Surprise” and “Wishing You Were Here” (with Al Jardine and brother Dennis), Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (with Bruce Johnston), David Lee Roth’s hit cover of “California Girls”, Warren Zevon’s “Desperados Under the Eaves”, and the Carnie/Wendy Wilson holiday track “Hey Santa!” Carl also recorded a duet with Olivia Newton-John, titled “You Were Great, How Was I?”, for her studio album, “Soul Kiss” (1985). It was not released as a single.
In 1981 he released a solo album, Carl Wilson, followed by Youngblood, in 1983. By the time of its release in 1983 he had rejoined the Beach Boys. Although Youngblood did not chart, a single, the John Hall-penned “What You Do To Me”, peaked at number 72, making Wilson the second Beach Boy to land a solo single on the Billboard Hot 100. Additionally, the song cracked the top 20 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. Wilson frequently performed that song and “Rockin’ All Over the World” (from the same album), as well as “Heaven” from the 1981 album, at Beach Boys’ concerts in the 1980s. “Heaven” was always announced as a tribute to brother Dennis, who drowned in December 1983.
The Beach Boys’ 1985 eponymous album prominently featured Wilson’s lead vocals and songwriting, highlighted by his “It’s Gettin’ Late” (another top 20 Adult Contemporary hit) and the “Heaven”-like “Where I Belong”.
In 1988, the Beach Boys scored their biggest chart success in more than 20 years with the US Number 1 song “Kokomo”, co-written by Mike Love, on which Carl sang lead in the chorus. After this, Love increasingly dominated the band’s recorded output and became the driving force behind the album Summer in Paradise (1993), the first and only Beach Boys album with no input from Brian in any form. In 1992, Carl told Michael Feeney Callan his hope was to record new material by Brian. “Speaking for myself”, he told Callan, “I only want to record inspired music“.
Carl continued recording through the 1990s and participated in the Don Was-led recordings of Brian’s “Soul Searchin'” and “You’re Still a Mystery”, songs conceived as the basis of an aborted Brian Wilson/Beach Boys album. He also recorded the album Like a Brother with Robert Lamm and Gerry Beckley, while continuing to tour with the Beach Boys until the last months of his life.
A cigarette smoker since the age of 13, Carl was diagnosed with lung cancer after becoming ill at his vacation home in Hawaii, in early 1997. Despite his illness, Carl continued to perform while undergoing chemotherapy. He played and sang throughout the Beach Boys’ entire summer tour which ended in the fall of 1997. During the performances, he sat on a stool, but he stood while singing “God Only Knows”.
Carl died of lung cancer at the age of 51 in Los Angeles, surrounded by his family, on February 6, 1998, just two months after the death of his mother.
April 19, 1993 – Steve Douglas Kreisman was born September 24, 1938 and grew up in Los Angeles, where he studied trumpet, trombone and violin and taught himself to play the saxophone at age 15. After serving briefly in the Navy in the Drum and Bugle Corps, Douglas began his musical career recording and touring with Duane Eddy in the ’50s.
His first job as a session saxophonist was with Phil Spector as one of “Phil’s Regulars,” a group that included Sonny Bono on percussion, Glen Campbell on guitar and Leon Russell on keyboard.
He played the blues with Duane Eddy and the Rebels at the Apollo Theater in Harlem in 1958, and with Elvis Presley on the set of the film “Girls, Girls, Girls!” in the early 1960’s.
Douglas played on albums by the Beach Boys and toured with Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. He was one of the most sort after session musicians in L.A, a member of The Wrecking Crew, who worked with Phil Spector, Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. He can be heard on records by Duane Eddy, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, BB King, Ike & Tina Turner, Bobby Darin and so many others.
Over the years, he played with Sam Cooke, B. B. King, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Stevie Wonder. He also worked on the soundtracks for such movies as “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
The ’70s and ’80s saw Douglas performing with Bob Dylan, Mink Deville, Mickey Hart, Ry Cooder, and even the Ramones on the Phil Spector production End of the Century.
Anyone who has listened to classic rock radio has heard the sax playing of Steve Douglas. As a result of his contributions, Steve Douglas was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.
Douglas died of heart failure on Monday April 19, 1993 at a Hollywood recording studio during a recording session with Ry Cooder.
May 7, 1989 – Ronald Lee “Ron” Wilson was born on June 26, 1944 in Los Angeles.
Wilson played Drums for a high school band Charter Oak Lancers in Covina, California in 1962. The members of the outfit were inspired by Boston born surf guitarist Dick Dale, but it was drummer Ron Wilson who inspired the biggest hit of the Surf Music genre.
As one of the original members of The Surfaris, an early surf rock group formed in Glendora, California in 1962, he introduced a vigorous cadence-laced drumming style which made their music much more energetic than other surf bands.
Wilson said he had dreamed of a surfer and with the others wrote a song called “Surfer Joe”, sung by Wilson. It was recorded at Pal Studios in Cucamonga, California in January 1963.
The band needed a B-side and Wilson played a drummer’s practice exercise called a paradiddle. Wilson added stresses to what had been a rhythm he played in his school marching band, and the guitarists followed. According to band member Bob Berryhill, “Ronnie loved Scottish marches and played with our high school Tartan marching band. That came into play coupled with my suggestion of bongo rock-type breaks for an arrangement, a drum-solo type of song with a simple guitar melody. Ronnie started playing the famous Wipe Out solo and in about ten minutes we had the song together.”
His energetic drum solo made ‘Wipe Out’ the best-remembered instrumental of the period. The band toured in various forms for many years and at times invited members of the audience to attempt Wilson’s drum riff while the guitarists played the melody.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Wilson was the drummer with the Monica Dupont band, which included Mel Brown, Johnny Heartsman, Bobby Forte’ and from time to time Bard Dupont. They recorded Honky Tonk live at the Stony Inn, in Sacramento, California available as a free download at www.peaceintheworld.us
He was only 44 when he died of a brain aneurysm on May 7, 1989
December 28, 1983 – Dennis Carl Wilson was born on December 4, 1944 in Inglewood, California. He was the second oldest of the three Wilson brothers. The Beach Boys formed in August 1961 under the strongwilled guidance of father Murry Wilson. Though the Beach Boys were named for and developed an early image based on the California surfing culture, Dennis was the only real surfer in the band.
Dennis was initially considered the least talented of the Wilson brothers, surprising everyone later on with his superb songwriting, productions and vocal arrangements. Dennis’ role in the family dynamic, which he himself acknowledged, was that of the black sheep. Though anxiety-filled and aggressive at times he was also sensitive and generous. His musical talent was often overshadowed in later years by his excessive drinking.
Their 1961 debut single “Surfin'” was followed by many chart hits including “Help Me, Rhonda”, “California Girls”, “I Get Around”, “Surfing USA”, “Barbara Ann”, “Sloop John B”, “Good Vibrations”, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “Fun Fun Fun” and “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)”. His original songs for the band included “Forever”, “Little Bird”, “Slip On Through” and “Do You Wanna Dance”.
In the late 1960s, as drug abuse and psychological issues led to Brian withdrawing from the group, Dennis began to write songs himself. At one point, he collaborated with Charles Manson, who, along with some of his female followers, stayed in Dennis’s house in the spring and summer of 1968. The Beach Boys even recorded one of Dennis and Manson’s songs, “Never Learn Not to Love.”
Dennis also worked on non-Beach Boys projects. With Billy Preston, he co-wrote the popular song “You Are So Beautiful,“which became a worldwide hit for Joe Cocker in 1974.
Branching out into film, Dennis appeared alongside James Taylor in Two-Lane Blacktop (1971). And he was the first Beach Boy to put out a solo album: Pacific Ocean Blue (1977). His collaborators on the album included Daryl Dragon, the ‘Captain’ of Captain & Tennille and Gregg Jakobson. Despite positive reviews, the album peaked at No.96 in the US and sold only around 300,000 copies.
His follow-up album, Bambu, was initially scuttled by lack of financing and the distractions of Beach Boys projects. A sampling of its music was officially released in 2008 as bonus material with the Pacific Ocean Blue reissue. Two songs from the Bambu sessions, “Love Surrounds Me” and “Baby Blue” were lifted for the Beach Boys 1979 L.A. (Light Album).
Within the Beach Boys, an acrimonious relationship developed between Dennis and Love in the 1970s. With his alcoholism prompting out-of-control behavior, the group sometimes banned Dennis from their concerts. In 1983, he was told that he needed to sober up in order to take part in an upcoming tour.
Dennis signed into a detox unit in late December of 1983, but left the facility on Christmas Day. For a month prior to his death, Dennis had been homeless and living a nomadic life. In November 1983, he checked into a therapy center in Arizona for two days, and then on December 23, checked into St. John’s Medical Hospital in Santa Monica, where he stayed until the evening of December 25. Following a violent altercation at the Santa Monica Bay Inn, Dennis checked into a different hospital in order to treat his wounds. Several hours later, he discharged himself and reportedly resumed drinking immediately.
On December 28, 1983, 24 days after his 39th birthday, he went to Marina del Rey, where he crashed on a friend’s yacht (his own boat had been sold to meet financial obligations). Dennis drowned at Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, after drinking all day and then diving in the afternoon, to recover items he had thrown overboard at the marina from his yacht three years prior. When he couldn’t be located after a dive, his friends raised the alarm. Rescuers recovered his body at approximately 5:45 p.m. An autopsy showed evidence of cocaine in his system, as well as an elevated blood alcohol level. Dennis was 39 when he died.
At the time of his death, Dennis—who had been married five times, twice to the same woman and had a relationship with Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac fame—was married to Shawn Love, the 19 year old daughter of his Beach Boys bandmate and cousin. Shawn insisted that her husband be buried at sea; it was only with the intervention of then-President Ronald Reagan that the at-sea burial by the U.S. Coast Guardwas allowed. Five years after Dennis died, the Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Buy the 2017 Tribute Book
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R.I.P. JOHN PRINE
R.I.P. BILL WITHERS
R.I.P. LITTLE RICHARD
R.I.P. CHARLIE DANIELS
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