Brian Wilson Net Worth
Brian Wilson has an estimated net worth of $100 million. Brian Wilson is one of the most influential songwriters in rock ‘n’ roll history, best known as the frontman for the Beach Boys. He earns most of his income from album sales, concerts and music streaming.
Brian Wilson founded the Beach Boys in 1961 and had a string of hit singles and albums along the way, helping to establish the “California sound.” However, by the mid-1960s, Wilson was looking to move beyond the Beach Boys’ early music’s cheery, simple, teen-based formula. The result was Pet Sounds, which many consider to be one of the greatest albums of all time.
But, at the height of his creative powers, Wilson’s substance abuse and mental illness took their toll, and he spent much of the next 25 years in seclusion. Wilson resurrected his career and released several solo albums in the 1990s after breaking free from psychologist Eugene Landy, who had excessive control over Wilson’s life during the 1980s.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, remarried in 1995, and received a lifetime achievement award from the Kennedy Center in 2007. He has continued to tour and record albums since then, and he was also the subject of the 2014 biopic Love & Mercy.
To calculate the net worth of Brian Wilson, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.
Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:
|Net Worth:||$100 Million|
|Monthly Salary:||$1 Million|
|Annual Income:||$10 Million|
|Source of Wealth:||Record producer, Composer, Bassist, Organist, Singer-songwriter, Musician, Music Arranger, Pianist, Actor|
Early Life and Childhood
Brian Douglas Wilson was born on June 20, 1942, in Inglewood, California. While the Wilsons appeared to live a normal, middle-class suburban life, Wilson and his younger brothers, Dennis and Carl, had a difficult childhood. Their father, Murry, subjected them to regular physical and mental abuse, and their mother, Audree Wilson, was an alcoholic by all accounts.
Despite the turmoil in the Wilson household, it was a musical one. Murry was a budding songwriter, though only marginally successful, and he and Audree both played the piano. Wilson and his brothers would frequently sing along with them in the living room, developing an early ability to harmonize, a feat made all the more impressive by Wilson’s deafness in one ear.
Wilson has mixed feelings about his childhood, telling an interviewer, “I had a good childhood—except for my dad beating me up all the time.” But, as he grew older, Wilson increasingly turned to music to escape the pain of his home life. Wilson began performing at parties and small gatherings with his two younger brothers and their cousin, Mike Love.
In the late 1950s, the four relatives formed a band called the Pendletones with Hawthorne High School friend Al Jardine, named after the popular Pendleton flannel shirts that became the group’s uniform in the early days. Brian played bass, Carl and Al played guitar, and Dennis played drums. Though Mike and Brian would take the majority of the lead vocals, each member contributed to their layered harmonic sound.
The Pendletones recorded demos of two surfing-themed songs, “Surfin'” and “Surfin’ Safari,” in October 1961. Although Dennis was the only member of the band who surfed, the band wanted to capitalize on the growing popularity of the sport and, more importantly, the lifestyle that goes with it.
The small label that released the single liked the idea so much that it even renamed the group the Beach Boys, much to the surprise of its members. “Surfin'” debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 in December of that year, eventually peaking at No. 75 and remaining on the chart for six weeks.
A few months later, they released “Surfin’ Safari,” which reached the Top 20 and landed the Beach Boys a contract with Capitol Records, who released their first full-length album, Surfin’ Safari, later that year. It peaked at No. 32 on the album charts, ushering in the group’s first wave of success.
During the early 1960s, the Beach Boys released a slew of hit singles and top-charting albums, featuring a bright and cheery music that would come to represent the California youth culture of the time. In 1963, they released three albums: Surfin’ U.S.A., Surfer Girl, and Little Deuce Coupe, all of which charted in the top ten.
Following that breakthrough year, they had hits like All Summer Long (1964) and Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) (1965). To name a few, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” (No. 3), “Fun, Fun, Fun” (No. 5), “I Get Around” (No. 1), “Help Me Rhonda” (No. 1), and “California Girls” (No. 3) are among the band’s many iconic hit songs from this era.
However, by the mid-1960s, Wilson had begun to experiment musically, conceptually, and chemically, with the goal of expanding the group’s sound beyond the light and accessible sun-and-fun formula that characterized its early music.
He had quit touring with the Beach Boys by late 1964, owing in part to a nervous breakdown he had suffered on the road, and he used his time at home to begin work on the band’s next album. Wilson’s goal, initially inspired by the Beatles’ Rubber Soul (1965), was to create an album where “every song mattered” and would “make people feel loved.” Wilson used the famous session band known as the Wrecking Crew to capture his vision after collaborating with his friend Tony Asher on the lyrics and writing and arranging the music almost entirely on his own.
The resulting album, Pet Sounds, was released in 1966 and includes such memorable songs as “God Only Knows,” “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” and “Caroline, No.” Many critics consider it to be one of the greatest records ever recorded because of its complex arrangements, innovative recording techniques, and mind-bogglingly dense vocal harmonies.
Pet Sounds was ranked No. 2 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” and Paul McCartney named it his favorite album, citing it as a primary influence for the Beatles seminal 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and calling “God Only Knows” one of the most beautiful songs ever written.
Despite its later success, Capitol Records and the other Beach Boys members initially resisted Wilson’s musical direction on the album, preferring to stick with the safer, proven sound that had brought them so much success.
When band member Mike Love joked, “Who’s going to hear this sh**?” the name Pet Sounds was born. Do you have dog ears?” It received mixed reviews and did not sell as well as many of the band’s previous albums, adding to the tension between Wilson and the other members, particularly Love.
Heroes and Villains
Wilson, however, was unfazed and immediately followed with what is widely regarded as one of the greatest rock songs of all time, the 1967 single “Good Vibrations,” which he had begun work on during the Pet Sounds sessions. The song reached No. 1 on the charts, inspiring Wilson to use many of the same recording techniques on a new project that he hoped would reach even greater musical heights.
The album was initially titled Dumb Angel and later renamed SMiLE after collaborating on the lyrics with songwriter Van Dyke Parks and enlisting many of the musicians who had appeared on Pet Sounds. Wilson envisioned it as a “teenage symphony to God,” but it would not be released for another 37 years.
SMiLE, one of the most famous unfinished albums of all time, was shelved when Wilson’s personal life took a sharp turn for the worse—though reworked versions of a few of the songs would appear on Smiley Smile and Surf’s Up in 1967 and 1971, respectively.
Wilson suffered numerous nervous breakdowns and became obese as a result of his heavy use of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and LSD. He famously began sobbing in an airplane aisle, played his grand piano in a sandbox he built in his backyard, and claimed to hear voices in his head. Wilson spent much of the next two decades in seclusion, attempting to deal with his addiction and mental illnesses.
While he dealt with personal issues, the Beach Boys continued to tour (with a few exceptions), relying increasingly on nostalgia for their early work to carry their live shows. They continued to record as well, though with less involvement from Wilson and, as a result, with disappointing results.
Wilson’s substance abuse and deteriorating mental state led his family to seek the assistance of psychologist Eugene Landy in the mid-1970s, from whom he received treatment on and off for the next decade and a half.
While Landy helped Wilson control his drug addiction and take control of his mental and physical health, he also took advantage of Wilson’s reliance on him, even convincing Wilson to list him as a collaborator on several songs on his 1988 debut, self-titled solo album, as well as a beneficiary in his will. Wilson’s family sued Landy in 1991, resulting in a restraining order and the loss of Landy’s California license to practice psychology.
Wilson has one thing to thank for the renaissance of his personal and professional life in the mid-1990s – his wife, Melinda Ledbetter, whom he married in 1995. (Wilson had previously married Marilyn Rovell in 1964, with whom he’d two children before divorcing in 1979.)
Since then, Wilson has released numerous solo albums, including Orange Art Crate (1995) and Imagination (1998). He was also the subject of the documentary I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times (1995). In 2004, 37 years after the first recording, Wilson finally released a full version of SMiLE to great acclaim. Since the revival of his career, he’s even overcome his legendary stage fright and performs alone and occasionally with the Beach Boys in concerts in the United States and Europe.
For his immeasurable contribution to music, Wilson has received numerous honors and awards. In 1988, he and the Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2000, Wilson was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2005, he received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental for the song “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow,” and in 2007 he received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors for his lifetime contribution to the performing arts.
After decades of seclusion, a happy and productive Wilson was warmly welcomed into the music industry. His good friend Sir Elton John said of Wilson, “He’s got a great family life now, he goes to basketball games, he seems happy.
He’s living as normal a life as Brian Wilson can. In fact, Wilson might be happier now than he was even during the Beach Boys’ heyday. “I’m having a lot more fun than I did as a Beach Boy,” he told The Guardian. “Because I’m not a Beach Boy anymore. I’m Brian Wilson.”
In 2014, the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before being released in the U.S. the following year. Paul Dano received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of the young Wilson (actor John Cusack was cast in the role of the elder Wilson, Paul Giamatti in that of Eugene Landy), and the legendary musician was also nominated for the song “One Kind of Love,” which he co-wrote with Scott Bennett. That same year, Wilson released a new solo album, No Pier Pressure, which reached number 23 on the album charts.
In October 2016, the memoir I Am Brian Wilson was published. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine promoting the book, the 74-year-old legend announced that he would begin work on a new album, Sensitive Music for Sensitive People, that same year.
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