How Brian Wilson's Failed Project Skyrocketed Them to Stardom

Brian Wilson was a senior at Hawthorne High School in 1960 when his music teacher, Fred Morgan, gave their class a final project in which they had to compose a piano sonata consisting of 120 measures with five key changes. Instead, Wilson wrote 32 measures with chords. Given that it wasn’t exactly what Morgan had asked, the teacher gave Wilson an F. Despite this, Wilson was unfazed, and used this experience as inspiration to write the first song of their soon-to-be formed band, the Beach Boys.

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According to Wilson, although the assignment was about writing classical music, it changed his perspective on music and got him to thinking about the different ways music could work. And so, the failed project transformed into the first song of the Beach Boys, “Surfin'”.

Wilson had been playing the piano since he was a child, and he first started composing music in his teen years. Even though Wilson was quite a popular kid at school and according to his music teacher, “the quietest one in the class”, that didn’t stop Mr. Morgan from failing him on the project for not following the instructions.

Still, with this newly composed music, his brother Dennis suggested a title and theme for the song, while Mike Love, another member of the band, co-wrote the lyrics for the song. With “Surfin'”, the Beach Boys were able to get a contract with a record label, which was soon released as a single, then becoming a hit with 50,000 copies sold, thus propelling the group to stardom.

Going back to that fateful day when Wilson failed his project, he recalled that he failed the class as well, although it is uncertain whether Mr. Morgan just failed him on the project or on the class. Still, Wilson never held any grudges against the failing grade as it started their journey as one of the most successful rock bands in history.

(Video credit: rainbow4121/Youtube)

Source: neatorama

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