Billy Hinsche, Longtime Member of Beach Boys’ Touring Band, Dies at 70

by Kati Kuuseoks
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Billy Hinsche has died at 70 years young. Lucie Arnaz confirms the sad news.

If you don’t quite understand that connection, let’s break it down. Lucie Arnaz is the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Her brother, Desi Arnaz Jr., performed alongside Billy Hinsche in the iconic ’60s group “Dino, Desi & Billy” before Hinsche eventually transitioned into a longtime member of the Beach Boys’ touring band.

The Death Followed an Especially Aggressive Cancer Diagnosis

Giant cell carcinoma. That’s the culprit, according to Lucie Arnaz.

“Only diagnosed a couple of weeks ago,” Lucie Arnaz starts the Instagram post. “It ravaged him like an out-of-control train.” And in a somber coincidence, the talent actually passed simultaneously with his 95-year-old mother Celia on the same day. Though she lost a friend, Lucie says “It is heartening to imagine [Billy Hinsche with his mother], hand in hand, heading into eternity [together].”

Here’s the full tribute Lucie posted to Hinsche along with the details surrounding his passing:

A History of Rock and Roll Music and Stories

That’s how Lucie describes Billy Hinsche’s legacy. A history of rock and roll music and stories.

Though he got his start with “Dino, Desi & Billy,” an opening spot with the Beach Boys eventually catapulted his career. He became a member of their touring crew and a session musician after completing his schooling at the end of the ’60s. During his time with the “Good Vibrations” group, he appeared on all of their works from ’71 to ’77 and then again from ’82-’96.

Fans remember when the iconic moment he stepped away from the keyboards and rhythm guitar to offer his own vocals up for the group’s “Sail On, Sailor” instead of Blondie Chaplin on tour.

Here’s that legendary performance:

“We lost a great friend, family member, and forever member of The Beach Boys band on Saturday. We’ll miss him greatly, especially his family members will feel his loss most deeply,” Mike Love tweeted shortly after the news broke.

Hinsche’s sister actually married the group’s late member Carl Wilson, which means that Hinsche became an uncle later on to Brian Wilson’s children.

“I can’t believe you are gone,” Wilson’s daughter Carnie shared in her own tribute. “My memories of you growing up laughing, joking, playing the keyboards, Carl’s bestie, Annie’s brother , Celia’s son, Dino Desi and You… my Uncle Billy. Sgt. Bilco. Your hair that was always great… I watched it turn gray over the years but your energy never got old. Thank you for making this world a better place with your relentless spirit and sense of humor. [Your] talent was so huge and you were always one step ahead of us all with your ideas and creativity.”

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