Brian Wilson's High School 'F' Switched to 'A'

Back in 1959, Brian Wilson submitted a song to his high-school music class. His teacher gave him an “F.” Nearly 60 years later, the current principal of the school turned that grade into an “A.” And the song he wrote that got him that “F” turned out to be the Beach Boys‘ first hit single a couple years later: “Surfin’.”

Wilson recently returned to California’s Hawthorne High School, where his old music teacher Fred Morgan said, “Brian wrote a composition for me and it turned out to be ‘Surfin.’ That composition got an F, but it made a million dollars.” Wilson tweeted Morgan’s quote as well as that his “failing grade has now been changed to an A on this assignment by Dr. Landesfeind!”

“Surfin'” was recorded by the Beach Boys on Oct. 3, 1961, at World Pacific Studio in California. It was released as a single a month later and became the group’s first national hit, reaching No. 75 on the chart. The next year “Surfin’ Safari” climbed to No. 14; by 1964, “I Get Around” became the first of four Beach Boys songs to top the chart.

Wilson recently wrapped up a long tour in support of the group’s classic Pet Sounds album, which was released in 1966. Even though he suggested a few years ago that this 50th anniversary tour could be his last, Wilson said that he has no plans to retire anytime soon. “I’m not gonna retire,” he said during an interview near the tour’s end last year. “I love touring.”

In September, Wilson’s solo career — which launched in earnest with a self-titled album in 1988, after years of well-documented health issues sidelined him — was compiled on Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology, an 18-track retrospective of the work he’s made over the past three decades.

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