Q Magazine

Q Playlist: Add a Little Carl Wilson to Your Day

The late Beach Boy contributed backing vocals to classic tracks by Elton John, Chicago, Warren Zevon, America, David Lee Roth, and others.

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Source: Sony

Carl Wilson, as pictured on the cover of his 1983 solo album, 'Youngblood'

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The late Jeffrey Foskett, longtime road guitarist for the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson, once described Carl Wilson as possessing "the heart and voice of an angel," and while you'd ultimately have to actually know him to confirm if the former is true, the latter is certainly a descriptor that's been utilized more than a few times to describe Wilson's singing.

While it's all too easy to fall into utilizing a heavenly term when you're talking about the man who sang lead on "God Only Knows" and "Feel Flows," we would also accept such adjectives as "beautiful," "lovely," and possibly even "gorgeous." Wilson's voice was pretty great by itself, but his gift for helping out with harmonies was so wonderful that other artists were happy to utilize it whenever possible, which is how he racked up a list of recording credits outside the Beach Boys that would be deemed impressive by virtually anyone's standards.

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Source: Caribou / Sony

The cover art for Carl Wilson's self-titled 1981 solo debut

Since it's Wilson's birthday, Q decided to put together a list of songs on which Wilson guested, and while he's decidedly more prominent on some tracks than others, he's definitely in there on all of them. As a bonus, we've closed out the list with two songs each from his two solo albums - his 1981 self-titled solo debut, and 1983's Youngblood - as well as one from the collaborative album he did with Gerry Beckley (America) and Robert Lamm (Chicago). It's a playlist that includes everyone from the Beach Boys' early 1960s contemporaries Jan & Dean and Annette Funicello, through to rock royalty Elton John and Joan Jett, all the way to David Lee Roth's solo turn in the 1980s and Tom Petty's work in the 1990s. (Wilson died of lung cancer in 1998 at the age of 51, though he continued performing with the Beach Boys right up until the end.) Hopefully this playlist will serve as a testament to how people from many different walks of musical life loved Wilson's voice, as well as a little blast of summer vibes in the depths of December.


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