Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Brian Wilson’s Net Worth: How the Beach Boys’ Founder Made His Fortune

Brian Wilson’s Net Worth: How the Beach Boys’ Founder Made His Fortune

Brian Wilson has been a creative driving force in and around The Beach Boys for decades, yet how did he make his net worth? Wilson helped shape the group’s vocals on records thanks to his ideas. He also worked with his late father Murry to have their songs in one publishing company, which they owned. The fact that Murry sold it off for $700,000 without Brian Wilson knowing about it proved disastrous.

At this time, Wilson’s net worth is at $100 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. But Wilson should be worth much, much more. He was the group’s primary songwriter, so Wilson should have gotten more from song royalties. Those hit songs from the Beach Boys reportedly brought in $100 million. None of that went into Wilson’s hands or pocketbook.

Still, much of his wealth has come from song royalties later in his career. He won $25 million in damages from a lawsuit he filed over those lost royalties. Wilson did not get his credit on those songs, either.

Let’s go back to the beginning years a little bit. Born in 1942 in Inglewood, Calif., Brian Wilson had quite an early aptitude for music.

Brian Wilson Had Early Aptitude for Music

Wilson could pick up harmonies and repeat them to his family as early as 1 year old. As he got older, his parents encouraged Wilson to keep on working with his musical tastes.

This all grew into Brian Wilson, his brothers Carl and Dennis, his cousin Mike Love, and his college friend Al Jardine joining forces as The Beach Boys. Murry, who also acted as the band’s manager, signed them to a contract with Capitol Records. A couple of national hit records in 409 and Surfin’ Safari were released on their new label.

The group got its first Top 10 hit song in Surfin’ U.S.A. in 1963. Brian Wilson found himself feeling more comfortable as a producer, so he took on the responsibilities. He was behind the scenes for the group’s record Surfer Girl, and also for Little Deuce Coupe. Wilson’s comfortability led him to leave the Beach Boys’ touring schedule in 1964 due to a panic attack.

Wilson Gets Help From Eugene Landy

At this time, Wilson started testing out psychedelic drugs and marijuana. The musical result ended up being the group’s Pet Sounds record. That was in 1965, so in 1966, they had a hit with Little Deuce Coupe.

But conflict between Brian Wilson and the band caused problems. It drove Wilson into a strange place, where reality didn’t have a foothold in his life. Eventually, Wilson found record labels unwilling to work with him due to a long list of erratic behavior.

Murry died in 1973, sending Brian into even a deeper sense of loss and drug use. Ultimately, Wilson’s family connected him with therapist Eugene Landy, who helped him get unstuck. Landy’s style and use of drugs have come under a lot of questioning over the years.

Well, the therapy and medical help seemed to boost Wilson’s spirits. And The Beach Boys would go out and perform their hit songs. In 1988, without Brian Wilson involved in any way, The Beach Boys had another hit record in Kokomo. Their album was named that, too. Why no Wilson? Reportedly, the band learned that Landy, now a collaborator on songs with Wilson, wouldn’t let Brian sing. Landy wanted Wilson to be listed as a co-writer and a producer. That didn’t happen.

Drug & Health Issues Played Role In His Life

Despite a lot of health issues in his life, Brian Wilson won the respect and accolades of the music industry. He’s won two Grammy Awards in his career to go along with nine nominations. In addition, he joined his Beach Boys brothers for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Brian Wilson has been married twice, once to Marilyn Rovell between 1964-79. They have two daughters. After divorcing Rovell, he started dating Melinda Kae Ledbetter in 1986. They broke up after three years together, then reconnected and got married in 1995. The couple adopted five children. Sadly, Melinda died in January 2024 at 77 years old.

Rock music fans, though, have grown to have a deep appreciation for Brian Wilson’s work.