Carl Dean Wilson (December 21, 1946 – February 6, 1998) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter who co-founded the Beach Boys.
He is best remembered as their lead guitarist, as the youngest brother of bandmates Brian and Dennis Wilson, and as the group's de facto leader in the early 1970s.
He was also the band's musical director on stage from 1965 until his death.
Influenced by the guitar playing of Chuck Berry and the Ventures, Wilson's initial role in the group was that of lead guitarist and backing vocals, but he performed lead vocals on several of their later hits, including "God Only Knows" (1966), "Good Vibrations" (1966), and "Kokomo" (1988).
Unlike other members of the band, he often played alongside the studio musicians employed during the group's critical and commercial peak in the mid 1960s.
After Brian's reduced involvement with the group, Carl produced the bulk of their albums between 20/20 (1969) and Holland (1973), where the production was nominally credited to "the Beach Boys".
Concurrently, he spent several years challenging his draft status as a conscientious objector.
During the 1980s, Wilson attempted to launch a solo career, releasing the albums Carl Wilson (1981) and Young Blood (1983).
In the 1990s, he recorded material with Gerry Beckley and Robert Lamm, later released for the posthumous album Like a Brother (2000).
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Beach Boys in 1988.
Wilson was also a member of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness, a religious corporation.