5 Of The Beach Boys’ Carl Wilson’s Greatest Live Moments
via What Happened to Them? / YouTube
Carl Wilson, together with his brothers Brian and Dennis, cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine, founded The Beach Boys. Despite the initial thoughts of listeners that they were nothing but a “surf-rock group,” they demonstrated they belonged in the pantheon of great bands whose music endured the passage of time, a true sign that each member had made significant contributions during their career. For this reason, we examine the great live performances of the late Carl Wilson, who not only played lead guitar for the band but also sang lead vocals and was the band’s leader at one point.
Concert in Knebworth, England (1980)
This incredible rendition of the Beach Boys’ classic “God Only Knows” from their 1980 concert at Knebworth, UK, is carried by Carl’s mellow tenor. Good Timin’: Live at Knebworth England 1980, a live CD and concert video of the said concert, was released in 2002.
This is a rendition of “Darlin’” from the era when Carl was the Beach Boys’ main singer, in the 1970s and early 1980s. His vocals are the backbone of the song, carrying gentle harmonies with their strength and soulful inflections.
American Bandstand (1981)
Carl temporarily left The Beach Boys in 1981 to focus on his debut solo album. He appeared on American Bandstand, a legendary music television program, to play the album’s hit tracks.
Live Aid (1985)
At Live Aid, held in Philadelphia’s John F. Kennedy Stadium, is where The Beach Boys took the stage. The band’s popular song “Good Vibrations” was performed before a throng of fans, who all took turns singing lead and backing vocals. With Carl at the helm, the band’s harmonies shine like few others.
During the 1980s, Carl’s solo tune “Heaven” became a staple at Beach Boys’ performances, often being introduced as a homage to his elder brother Dennis. Here you can hear him sing the soothing tune with the band as they play gently in the background.