Jack Nitzsche at Spectropop presents
Prod. by Terry Melcher
Arr. & Cond. Jack Nitzsche
|A Personal Remembrance
by Carol Kaye
Yes, I played bass on Bruce & Terry, the Rip Chords, and several other dates, like his mother's, Doris Day (lovely woman!). I am very, very saddened about the loss of Terry. He seemed like a young man sort of driven back then in the 1960s when I first worked for him, but somehow I think the studio musicians understood. He was the son of a very esteemed, famous talented mother, both a legendary fine big-band singer and a fine actress. And there he was with all of us. Sort of "untried" at first as a young producer in the midst of the changeover from the old guard of older jazzier producers who produced the likes of Rosemary Clooney, Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra. And here are these younger bunch of producers, Mike Lloyd, Mike Curb, Brian Wilson, Gary Usher, Jan Berry, etc. all creating their hits one after the other. Could he do it? Everyone wondered.
But once he got in the booth, he commanded well, and instinctively knew exactly what to do. While he was very different from both Spector and Brian Wilson in his personality, he was sort of quiet, yet confident in his (then) new role as producer. He knew what to tell us, what kind of musical feel he wanted from us to create some licks in (and had music arranged well to fit the music, tho' of course he wanted some creativity from us too within his guidelines) and took charge proving himself right from the very start. A good man to work for, and a son that I'm sure Ms. Day must have been very proud of from those early times. It's not easy for children of famous musical talents to take charge and conduct his own career the way he did, that's quite an achievement in itself. I loved how he took good care of her on her sessions -- the caring and loyalty was certainly in the forefront of his producing of his mother's dates too.
Not being rockers, most of us studio session musicians (mostly jazz musicians) liked working for Terry. Tho' yes, sometimes it was just the surf music...which has a tendency to be boring if you spend too much time on each song. He knew that danger and spent maximum time with minimum boredom, paced us all well, and had big hit after hit. He proved himself as his own man as he wanted to do in Hollywood, a town of a reputation then of not giving anyone much chance if they failed the first time around. He didn't fail and just got better and better as he got more experience in the booth.
Terry Melcher had a genuine friendliness, a reserved, maybe considered a quiet confident manner, and always respected the studio musicians, something we revered in him. I always had a fondness for Terry, a young gentleman who truly did a ton of great hits in our business - his influence in the success of the 1960s hits was enormous.... I feel very badly for his Mom (I had lost my daughter last year to cancer, so share this burden of losing a child) - she was so proud of him for all the right reasons. He had an eye and ear for talent, for songs that would make it, and he was right. God rest him, he was a good young man who did well in our business, but maybe even more importantly, he treated people right. Just a shame to lose him.Carol Kaye © 2004.
Did you catch Carol the other day on "Beautiful Dreamer", the SMiLE' TV special? Brian Wilson had been looking a little stressed working on the re-recordings of SMiLE when the camera cut to him working on a track with Carol. Boy, did that atmosphere change! Brian and Carol wreathed in smiles doing what they both do best, making great music.
Of course Carol has worked with Brian from the earliest days - not just Brian, but all the producers. It was kind of her to take the time out from her busy schedule including her web site, http://www.carolkaye.com to pass on her remembrances of Terry Melcher.
|(Part 5)||Doris Day & Gentle Soul||Harvey Kubernik||(Part 7)|