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Testimonials from the
(October 19, 2008, The Roxy, Los Angeles, CA)

Carl Wilson, 1982


HOWARD KRAMER (Curatorial Director, Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame)

Carl's guitar playing has this very interesting root. Inasmuch as it is rooted in early rock 'n' roll, it has a very California sound; and by that I mean there is a certain aesthetic to California guitar players like Dick Dale and Ritchie Valens. I think that's where Carl's style really grew out of.


You always knew Carl was in the room. He had a large aura, a large presence. He changed the dynamic of the room. Sometimes you had to wait for Carl to show up. And if you were waiting for him, and the phone rang, ... this was good. Because invariably it was him ... saying he was on his way ... asking if he could bring something, “a cappuccino perhaps?”

Carl was thoughtful, he was fastidious, he was hilarious.

And then he would sing.


I first had the privilege of meeting Carl some forty years ago while on tour with the Beach Boys. I will never forget their fantastic striped shirts and the reaction of those screaming fans. It was evident then that those boys were going to change the face of music forever. Carl was one of the best lead guitar players in the business and part of one of the most influential families in Rock and Roll history.

It's hard to think of anything more perfect than his vocals on “God Only Knows.” They can never be duplicated.

God Bless You, Carl.

BILL MEDLEY (Righteous Brothers)

I'm Bill Medley, but I'm also speaking for Bobby Hatfield when I say that we always loved the Wilson brothers from the bottom of our hearts. Dennis was the spirit of the Beach Boys, Brian was the soul of the Beach Boys, and Carl was the heart of the Beach Boys. Carl had a sweetness and a softness that you could see and hear a mile away. I hate that he is not here celebrating with everybody tonight; but then again, maybe he is.

All my love,
Bill Medley

PHIL “FANG” VOLK (Paul Revere & the Raiders)

There was a gentleness about him that everybody admired. He had that kind of gentle spirit. When I had contact with him it was always a pretty calm and easy feeling. I think he had a certain amount of humility that he carried with him through his whole life. He was very dependable and he was conscious of other people's needs. He was a great singer and a good leader — I'll miss him a lot.

Testimonials from the first
(October 18, 1998, The Roxy, Los Angeles, CA)

PAUL SHAFFER (Musical Director, the CBS Orchestra)

Carl was a wonderful friend and supporter of mine. He had the disposition and voice of an angel, and God only knows what we all would have been without him.

HAL BLAINE (L.A.'s #1 session drummer)

When it comes to Carl Wilson, he was the only other Beach Boy with us when we were recording. You couldn't find a sweeter guy. I know that he was a little bit intimidated when he first came in (working with the heavyweights who were making all these hit records), but he was just as nice as he could be and worked just as hard as anybody — he probably worked harder than anybody. He always did a terrific job, and he was just a wonderful guy.

I was really very, very saddened over his passing. Thank goodness he had a wonderful life, and you have to think about the good times. When I think about Carl on the road and all the good times that he had with The Beach Boys and the fact that life was real good for him, it doesn't get any better than that.

We all grow up and, if we want to be musicians, we're thrilled if we get to do something. Something always leads to something else. For Carl and Brian and the whole gang you couldn't get any bigger. Here it is 35 years later and it's still superstardom, super records and just wonderful, wonderful memories. It was just so much fun. All those years were wonderful years.

And Carl, wherever you are up there, save a spot for some drums.

DANNY HUTTON (Three Dog Night)

The one thing my wife liked to do on tour was to go backstage with our children and visit Carl. He was always so considerate, gentle and kind. He went out of his way to be nice to us. He made my family feel very welcome. He had a very big heart, and I always got along great with him.

CAROL KAYE (L.A.'s #1 session bass player)

Carl Wilson was the embodiment of the talented, caring young man of the '60s — a quiet man with the voice of an angel, a good guitarist and the central heart of the entertaining Beach Boys. His spirit is forever imprinted on our lives, his love of music forever ours. I am so proud to have been a part of The Beach Boys recordings, you cannot know.

DAN AYKROYD (Blues Brothers)

When Lorne Michaels, John Belushi and I went out to do The Beach Boys television special for NBC we had some ideas for the show.

One was for us to arrest Brian and take him surfing. When the concept for this and other scenes were proposed to various business representatives of the enormous franchise which this band had become, the answers came back: “Run it by Carl. Carl should hear that. Talk to Carl.” So we consulted Carl and found the truest barometer of humor and music for the project.

We also found a fun bag of immense depth and generosity with a boundless capacity for sharing in his interpretation of the best life had to offer.

We were among the fortunate to have been in his sphere of music, mirth and mega-good times.

I hope he is one of the first to greet me when it's my time to cross.


DEWEY BUNNELL (Founding member of America)

Carl was always there for our band. Since the beginning of our career (1970), we performed with the Beach Boys more than any other group, virtually every year, and Carl was always supportive. He was a very generous guy in every way. I will always remember the great time we had in a farm house in Omaha, Nebraska, while recording an album called Hourglass. Carl flew out to help us with vocals on several tracks, and we had a great time living together for that short week... cooking, singing, and enjoying the company. His passing left an empty place in all our hearts... but he will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace, Dear Brother.





Updated on November 16, 2008
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