Born on June 29, 1951 in Manila, the Philippines, and raised in Beverly Hills, Billy Hinsche began playing piano at the age of 5, violin at the age of 7, ukulele at the age of 10 and guitar at the age of 12.

Dino, Desi & Billy
Dino, Desi & Billy in 1966 — (l to r) Dino Martin, Desi Arnaz Jr. and Billy Hinsche

He formed a successful pop musical group in the mid-sixties with friends Dino Martin, Jr. and Desi Arnaz, Jr. that was the original “boy band.” The trio was known as Dino, Desi & Billy (DD&B) and their audition for Reprise's Frank Sinatra lead to 4 successful albums, 6 songs on the Billboard & Cash Box singles charts and appearances on every local and national television show of the era including Shindig, Shivaree, Hullabaloo, Where the Action Is, 9th Street West, The Mike Douglas Show, The Joey Bishop Show, Sammy Davis, Jr. and the Wonderful World of Children and The Ed Sullivan Show in 1965. DD&B appeared as themselves in the film Murderer's Row starring Dean Martin (as Matt Helm), Ann-Margret and Karl Malden, and they did a television commercial for Royal Crown Cola that can still be seen on YouTube.

The young trio toured extensively as the opening act for The Beach Boys, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs and headlined their own tours throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Billy graduated from Loyola High School in 1969 and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Motion Pictures & Television from UCLA in 1974. He made a series of documentary style films featuring his time spent with The Beach Boys, as well as an instructional piano video of some of their classic hits. Much of his archival footage has been used in all the significant documentaries that have been made about the legendary group including The Beach Boys: An American Band, Endless Harmony: The Beach Boys Story, Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of Smile and others, and Billy has appeared in these programs himself for his valuable insights, commentary and recollections about the group. Billy was also a longtime teacher of music and a published writer for music magazines, fanzines, liner notes, periodicals and contributed to several books written about The Beach Boys and their place in music history.

Billy Hinsche with Beach Boy Dennis Wilson
Billy Hinsche with Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, 1973
(photo by Gary Nichamin,
copyright ©1973)

He recorded and toured with The Beach Boys as a vocalist and member of the band during the '70s, '80s and '90s and has performed in every major venue in the world including the Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, and Wembley Stadium in England. He has played for 4 U.S. Presidents.

Billy toured with the Carl Wilson Band in the early '80s and the Brian Wilson Band in 2007 and 2016. He was Musical Director for Beach Boy Al Jardine's Endless Summer Band as well as being a member of California Saga, a vocal group consisting of second generation Wilsons, Loves and Jardines. The group opened for The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Tour at Irvine, CA and Lake Tahoe, NV. The group also did a special performance for The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on July 10, 2012.

Billy has enjoyed success as a songwriter and his compositions have been recorded not only by Dino, Desi & Billy but also by Dean Martin, Nelson Riddle and Beach Boy Carl Wilson, Billy's brother-in-law. His songwriting credits include the theme song “Automan” (1984) for the Glen Larson-produced television series of the same name, as well as a songwriting credit on the I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary Television Special of 2002 for “Patria,” featuring multi-Grammy Award winner Arturo Sandoval on accompanying trumpet. He co-wrote “Lady Love” with Brian Wilson, “Away” with Dennis Wilson" and “Let's Build a World” with Carl Wilson. He co-wrote “(Because) It's Christmastime” with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame/Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee Robert Lamm, who is a founding member of the group Chicago. The song is the first song on the first side of the new Chicago Christmas album on Rhino Records. The album debuted at #1 on the 2019 Billboard Holiday chart.

His credits include singing background vocals on the original recordings of Elton John's “Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” The Beach Boys' “Heroes & Villains,” Warren Zevon's “Desperados Under the Eaves” (produced by Jackson Browne), America's “Hat Trick,” Joan Jett's “Good Music” and many more.

In 2002 he produced The Whisky A Go-Go's 35th Anniversary show on the famed Sunset Strip.

Live at the Cannery cover

In 2003 Billy released his first full-length solo CD called Bay of Plenty that was recorded live in New Zealand, followed by Mixed Messages in 2006 — a double disc collection consisting of his lifelong work in the recording studio. With songs spanning his entire career from DD&B, The Beach Boys, and some original material, his last recording was called Billy Hinsche Live at The Cannery, released as a CD in 2007.

In the past, his charitable work has benefitted organizations such as the Grassroots Aspen Experience (inner-city kids), the Utah Caring Program for Children (children with no medical insurance), Wings (battered women), the Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund for Disabled Musicians (cancer victims), Andrea Yeager's Silver Lining Foundation (terminal children), Artists Palooza (empowering artists), City of Hope (cancer research) and the Los Angeles Chapter of The American Cancer Society, and most recently, MusiCares.

In 2006 he hosted Rickenbacker International Guitar's 75th Anniversary at L.A.'s House of Blues.

Billy helped produce several events for and sat on the Board of the Carl Wilson Foundation (CWF) that is devoted to cancer research and improving the quality of life for those afflicted with this disease. Past performers for CWF events have included Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, Eric Clapton, Heart, Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh, Robert Lamm, Timothy B. Schmit, Wilson Phillips, Brian Setzer, Sugar Ray, The Righteous Brothers, Van Dyke Parks, Christopher Cross, America and many others.

He served as a counselor at the Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp several times featuring guest appearances and performances by Brian Wilson, Jeff Beck and Paul Stanley of KISS.

Duirng the pandemic in 2020-21, Billy produced a live show, Live from Billy's Place, from his home in Las Vegas and other locales. Find out more about Billy, his interests, and activities on:

Billy passed away on November 20, 2021. His mother Celia passed away on the same day. Respects may be paid to both of them (also Carl Wilson, Audree Wilson, and Dean Martin, and other notables) at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles, CA.