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Dino, Desi & Billy founder, longtime Beach Boy Billy Hinsche dies

Hinsche died at 70 following a bout with lung cancer.

LOS ANGELES — Billy Hinsche, a founder of the 60's pop group Dino, Desi & Billy and a longtime session and touring musician for the Beach Boys, has died of lung cancer. He was 70 years old.

Born in the Phillipines, Hinsche eventually setteled in Beverly Hills, where he became acquainted with Desi Arnez Jr., the son of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez, and Dean Paul Martin, the son of crooner Dean Martin.

The trio, performing as Dino, Desi & Billy, had modest success, scoring two top 30 hits in 1965 with "I'm a Fool" and "Not the Lovin' Kind" and even making an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.  However, the band never found sustained success. 

Beginning in the 1970's. Hinsche began to tour with The Beach Boys, while also playing on several albums with the band as session musician. He remained actively involved with the band through the 90's. He also toured with Beach Boys' original members Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson and Al Jardine during various solo projects. 

Hinsche made guest appearances with the band during the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour in 2012. He also toured with California Saga, a comprised of the children of some of the Beach Boys' founders.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hinsche began a popular YouTube series "Live from Billy's Place," where he would tell stories from his career, play music and interview friends and colleagues. 

Hinsche ended the series in August to focus on other projects.