Brian Wilson Got His F in High School Music Changed to an A Nearly 60 Years Later

Matt Inman on January 16, 2018

Renee Silverman

Brian Wilson is a songwriting legend. The founding member and principle creative force behind the Beach Boys has had his ups and downs throughout his career, but here’s a triumphant story of Wilson overcoming an injustice inflicted upon him years ago. 

As with many geniuses in history, Wilson’s talent was apparently not properly recognized when he was in school, and he even received an F grade for a composition he turned in to a music class he took at Hawthorne High School in California in 1959. Two years later, with some co-writing from bandmate Mike Love, Wilson turned that failed assignment into the Beach Boys’ first hit single, “Surfin’,” which was later included in the group’s debut album, 1962’s
Surfin’ Safari

Now, nearly 60 years later, Wilson has returned to Hawthorne to get his grade changed from an F to an A, as a post on his 
Twitter shows (h/t Stereogum). Wilson’s high-school music teacher Fred Morgan is quoted in the caption: “Brian wrote a composition for me and it turned out to be ‘Surfin’.’ That composition got an F, but it made a million dollars.”

Stay in school, kids. But also think for yourself, because obviously teachers aren’t always the best judges of genius, especially when it comes to genre-launching surf-rock tunes.