Dennis Wilson, The Beach Boys drummer, produced his one and only solo album 33 years ago. This record resonated with gravelly melancholic vocals and soulful music of lost love and a hopeful future. As might be expected, the depth of emotion contained within the grooves won over a cult following.

But the LP (and the subsequent CD) quickly went out of print and became one of the “lost classics.” Fortunately, this album was re-released as a deluxe CD and LP a couple of years ago. The bonus disc on the expanded edition included demos and the nearly completed tracks from Bambu, the proposed follow up to Pacific Ocean Blue. It was voted 2008 Reissue of the Year in both Rolling Stone and Mojo magazine, and made it to #8 on the Billboard chart.

Linked to everyone from Charles Manson to Christine McVie, Dennis was a hip, cool, hard partying, charismatic surfer dude who lived in the moment between LA and Maui: “They say I live a fast life. Maybe I just like a fast life. I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world. It won’t last forever, either. But the memories will.”

Today marks the 27th anniversary of his death. After making two successful dives below a friend’s yacht to retrieve items he’d thrown into the waters of Marina Del Rey three years earlier, Dennis took one last dip into California’s blue Pacific Ocean and never returned. He was given a burial at sea, normally reserved for Navel personnel. His song “Farewell My Friend” was played at the funeral. He was 39.

(Photographer: Karen Lanm-Wilson)