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California Dreamin’: Carole King, Merry Clayton, The Everly Brothers Featured on “Lou Adler: A Musical History”

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Lou Adler - A Musical HistorySongwriter, manager, A&R man, producer, director, impresario, diehard L.A. Lakers fan – in his eighty years, Lou Adler has worn all of those labels proudly.  It’s hard to believe that the same man behind The Rocky Horror Show – both on stage and on screen – and Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke also helmed one of the most successful records ever in Carole King’s Tapestry, or that the same man penned a bona fide standard in Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World.”  But much of Lou Adler’s extraordinary career has defied belief, and Ace Records has recently summed it up in an exciting new compilation entitled Lou Adler: A Musical History.  Over 25 tracks released between 1958 and 1974, the anthology chronicles a singular showbiz life and also serves as a mini-history of Los Angeles pop-rock.

A Musical History traces the ascent of Chicago-born, L.A.-raised Adler from hustling songwriter to in-demand producer.  With future Tijuana Brass bandleader and A&M Records leader Herb Alpert, the young Adler co-wrote tunes for a diverse crop of artists including Cooke (“All of My Life”), Sam Butera and the Witnesses (“Bim Bam”), Jan and Dean (“Honolulu Lulu”) and Johnny “Guitar” Watson (“Deana Baby”).  Equally adept at rock-and-roll, doo-wop and R&B, the duo also found time to produce not just their own songs for these artists, but outside compositions.  The Adler/Alpert team revived The Spaniels’ “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight” for The Untouchables and gave The Hollywood Argyles a run for their money with a cash-in cover of “Alley-Oop” by Dante and the Evergreens.  These slices of early-sixties pop kick off this set on a high note, but Adler’s first Golden Age really came when he split with Alpert in 1961.

The parting of the ways worked out for both men, with Alpert launching The Tijuana Brass, the hit “The Lonely Bull” and of course, A&M Records, just one year later with new partner Jerry Moss.  As for our man Adler, his association with Don Kirshner led to his opening the West Coast office of Aldon Music, as well as a production credit on tracks like The Everly Brothers’ Top 10 hit “Crying in the Rain.”  Most importantly, though, Adler made connections at Aldon that would come to, in large part, define his career – connections with the likes of Carole King and P.F. Sloan.  The achingly vulnerable “Crying” was co-written by Carole King and Howard Greenfield, moonlighting from their respective partners Gerry Goffin and Neil Sedaka.   In addition to King, Adler also met P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri at Aldon, pairing the two songwriters up and soon snatching them away from Kirshner’s empire to his newly-formed Dunhill Productions.

After the jump: much more on Adler’s illustrious career, including the complete track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 17, 2014 at 09:02