The Wilsons are brothers. Mike Love is their cousin and Al Jardine was Brian Wilson's classmate.
Brian Wilson was the creative force. He was tormented by drug problems and a difficult childhood. He lost most of the hearing in his right ear when his father hit him with a wooden plank. By 1965, he stopped touring with the band and focused on writing and producing their songs. He was replaced on tour by Glen Campbell, who played on their Pet Sounds album as well as "Good Vibrations."
In 1968, Dennis Wilson became friends with Charles Manson, who thought of himself as a songwriter. Wilson let Manson and his followers stay at his place and paid most of their expenses. When it became clear Manson was not of sound mind, Dennis was afraid to evict him, so he just let the lease end on the house and never came back to it. Manson and his "family" went on a notorious murder spree in 1969. Before he killed anyone, the Beach Boys recorded one of Manson's songs - "Learn Not To Love."
Dennis Wilson died in 1983 when he drowned while swimming near his friend's boat in California. US president Ronald Reagan gave special permission so his body could be buried at sea.
They became the first major American rock group to play in a Communist country when they performed in Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Along with Chynna Phillips, Brian Wilson's daughters Wendie and Carnie formed the popular early '90s group Wilson Phillips. Brian and Carnie were estranged for many years, but reconciled in 1995.
Carl Wilson died of lung cancer in 1998.
At one point when he was depressed, Brian Wilson weighed over 300 pounds.
Brian Wilson stopped touring with the band because he hated performing, but he also hated to fly. Much of the travel on their early tours was by bus.
The Beach Boys do not seem to enjoy being referred to as "Oldies." In their concert riders, the band explicitly states that no advertising or promotional materials should contain the word "Oldies" in conjunction with their name or logo. Another requirement of the band during touring is to be provided with a masseuse/masseur qualified in Swedish or Oriental deep muscle massage. Loyal to their environmental concerns, The Beach Boys also ask for recycling bins.
Dennis Wilson was married 5 times (twice to the actress Karen Lamm) and had 4 children. His last marriage was to Shawn Love, who was Mike Love's daughter. Shawn, who had control of Dennis' body when he died and had him buried at sea, died in 2003 of liver failure.
The Beach Boys won Best Historical album for The Smile Sessions at the 2013 Grammy Awards. It was their first ever Grammy.
The first album Brian Wilson ever bought was Four Freshmen and Five Trombones by The Four Freshman, which he said "changed my life.".
The Four Freshman were an American male vocal band quartet that blended open-harmonic jazz arrangements with big band vocal group sounds. Four Freshmen and 5 Trombones was a major seller during the 1950s, reaching #6 nationally in 1955 and residing on the charts for over eight months. One of the most innovative and imitated jazz vocal quartet ever to grace vinyl, The Four Freshman's harmony singing was a big influence on the Beach Boys.
Speaking about his influences to Billboard magazine, Brian Wilson said: "As a writer, I've had a few influences, and Chuck (Berry) is primary. As a producer, he also informed my sense of how a record should feel."
"There were only two other producers I studied closely," he added. "The first was Phil Spector, who taught me how to make tracks and craft what some might call 'baroque' backgrounds. The second was Bob Crewe, famous for his work with Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, who showed me how to utilize horns to sharpen and sculpt an overall sound."
Brian Wilson could not contain his excitement upon seeing Elizabeth II in the flesh at a 2002 royal gala. On seeing the English monarch, he shouted: "Hey, Queen!" The Beach Boy legend recalled to The Guardian: "I yelled it out. She didn't say anything back."
In spite of its complex multi-layered tracks and harmonies, Pet Sounds was mixed not in stereo but in mono - largely because of Brian Wilson's lack of hearing in his right ear.