Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Jun 18th 2008 2:00PM by Bill Crandall
The Beach Boy with the real-life passion for sunning, surfing and California girls would not have even been in his brothers' band if their mom hadn't insisted. But while Dennis never did quite distinguish himself behind the drumkit (that's Hal Blaine, not Dennis, on 'Pet Sounds' and many of brother Brian's most hallowed recordings), he did evolve into one heluva soulful songwriter, contributing majestic ballads like 'Forever' and 'Cuddle Up' to the Beach Boys catalog.
In 1977, looking more like a lost caveman than the chick-magnet Beach Boy, Dennis became the first Wilson to release a solo album, the aptly titled 'Pacific Ocean Blue.' That triumph (upon release, Rolling Stone called it "truly wonderful and touching") and its abandoned follow-up, 'Bambu,' have been given new life this week in the form a two-CD reissue.
For the uninitiated ('Pacific Ocean Blue' has spent most its years out of print), Wilson's music is, like his life, a beautiful contradiction: rambling, hopeful, troubled and blissful.
"I'm the kind of guy that loves to mess around," he whispers mischieviously on 'Time,' a maudlin ballad Dennis penned with (and for) wife Karen Lamm-Wilson. After unleashing one of rock's greatest understatements ("I know a lot of women"), Dennis musically falls to pieces, crooning "But they don't fill my heart with love ... Ooh, I love you/I really do." Cue a sad horn solo and then an all-out funk jam, and you get the drift.
The marriage didn't last (subsequent live-in girlfriend Christine McVie, of Fleetwood Mac, turns up on 'Bambu'), and neither did Dennis' recording output, as he would abandon his second album five years before his accidental, alcohol-related drowning.
On the reissue, fellow drummer-turned-singer Taylor Hawkins, of the Foo Fighters, finished the vocals for 'Holy Man,' and Dennis' 'Pacific Ocean Blue' recording mates turn up on the below video to pay tribute to their long-lost pal.