Featured in a band so closely associated with his brother Brian Wilson’s musical genius, his brother Dennis’ work can be easy to overlook. “Only With You” makes the case for paying closer attention.
“That was a really beautiful song, really pretty,” co-author Mike Love says in this WFDU clip. “Dennis wrote a lot of songs, as well. The Wilson brothers, my first cousins, they’re all musically gifted in their own ways. Dennis was a really powerful drummer, and had a lot of great energy on stage. He asked me to write the lyrics for a piece that he was working on — and that turned into a beautiful little song.
Sung by the band’s third Wilson sibling Carl, “Only With You” remains the emotional center point for the Beach Boys’ wildly underrated 1973 effort Holland.
At the time, the album peaked at only No. 36 in the U.S., likely because it delved into complex themes on songs like “Only With You” that had little to do with the group’s earlier “Fun Fun Fun” era. The track, this time with Dennis singing, later appeared on a 30th anniversary reissue of Dennis’ lone solo effort, 1977?s Pacific Ocean Blue.
Carl passed away in 1998. Dennis died in 1983.