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Be True To Your School: 58 Years Later, Brian Wilson Gets An 'A' In Music

Singer and songwriter Brian Wilson performs in Los Angeles in 2015.
Kevin Winter
Getty Images
Singer and songwriter Brian Wilson performs in Los Angeles in 2015.

Beach Boy Brian Wilson has always urged folks to love their alma maters, but now he has an extra reason to let his own colors fly.

The original lineup of The Beach Boys — including brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson along with their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine — are among the notable alumni of Hawthorne High School in Los Angeles County, Calif. On Jan. 15, Brian Wilson visited his alma mater, Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, Calif. (He hashtagged his visit #betruetoyourschool, natch.)

But the highlight of his trip seems to have been getting justice for a long-overdue wrong.

While he was still at Hawthorne, Wilson wrote a little song that turned into The Beach Boys' "Surfin'" — the tune that became the band's very first single in 1961. But before that, Wilson turned "Surfin'" in as a school assignment to his Hawthorne music teacher, Fred Morgan.

And Morgan ... gave it an F. (Why he thought so little of it, we may never know.)

However, Hawthorne High School's current principal, Dr. Vanessa Landesfeind, saw fit to revise Wilson's academic history — and gave him an A for "Surfin'," 58 years after his original grade was issued.

And because Twitter is Twitter, some excellent jokes have followed in reply.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.