Entertainment Dennis Wilson, the brief beautiful escape from a beach...

Dennis Wilson, the brief beautiful escape from a beach boy


The adventure of the Beach Boys is first of all family. Among the five original members of the group founded in the early 1960s under the Californian sun, there are indeed three brothers – Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their manager being none other than their father. Brian’s story is well known: after designing the album solo Pet sounds (1966), while the rest of the group was touring Asia, he began to dream of a “teenage symphony dedicated to God”. His quest for an album more beautiful than this absolute masterpiece will plunge him into a paranoia that will leave him with deep psychological consequences. The disc in question, which has become a sort of Grail, will finally be released in 2004 under the title Brian Wilson Presents Smile.

Read also the chronicle:
The day I (almost) spoke with Brian Wilson

At that time, Beach Boys fans began to fantasize about another recording: Pacifc Ocean Blue, the only solo effort by Dennis Wilson, the only real surfer in the group, also known to have briefly dated Charles Manson, who on the sidelines of being an evil guru was a rather gifted musician. Released in 1977, when Brian had just signed his return to the “beach boys”, this album was fairly coldly received and quickly forgotten.

Over the years, its rarity will make it a cult and sought-after object. Reissued in 1991, it will unfortunately be immediately withdrawn from the market due to rights problems – and will then be the heyday of auction sites. It was not until 2008 that he was released in a beautiful double edition containing the new songs that Dennis Wilson was working on when he accidentally died by drowning in December 1983. A few days after his 39th birthday.

Also read the article on the concert:
Brian Wilson’s good vibes, or what’s left

While for a long time, only Brian passed for a genius composer, Pacific Ocean Blue demonstrates that Dennis too had a knack for shaping small pop symphonies made of intertwined harmonies and lyrical flights of unspeakable grace. This disc, long untraceable, has undeniably gained its place over the past ten years, alongside Pet sounds, at the pinnacle of pop music.

Dennis Wilson, “Pacific Ocean Blue” (Caribou Records, 1977 / Legacy Recordings, 2008). Available on online listening platforms.

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