[Prev by Date] [Next
by Date] [Index]
________________________________________________________________________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ S P E C T R O P O P ______________ ______________ ______________ ________________________________________________________________________ Jack Nitzsche a rock & roll institution April 22, 1937 - August 25, 2000 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ There are 8 messages in this issue #28. Topics in this digest: 1. BOUNCE: Non-member submission From: Spectropop: Archive | Bulletin Board 2. Re: The In Crowd From: "WASE RADIO" 3. Re: Playing with a Pick on Bass etc. From: Carol Kaye 4. Ritchie Valens, etc. From: "Bryan Thomas" 5. "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite" From: "Matt Hinrichs" 6. Jack Nitzsche From: Carol Kaye 7. From Perry Botkin on Jack's writings From: Carol Kaye 8. BOUNCE: Non-member submission From: Spectropop Admin ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Message: 1 Date: Tue, 29 Aug 00 03:58:37 From: Spectropop: Archive | Bulletin Board Subject: BOUNCE: Non-member submission Re: Our beloved LA producer/arranger Jack Nitzsche is gone Posted by Hot Pastrami on 28 Aug 2000 http://www.escribe.com/music/spectropop/bb/index.html?bID=51 ========= Start of forwarded message ========= Jack Nitzsche, who suffered from recurring bronchial infection, died on August 25 at Queen of Angels hospital in Los Angeles following cardiac arrest. He was 63. Nitzsche's signature arrangments grace many of the biggest hit records to come out of Los Angeles in the 1960s. His work with Phil Spector, including arranging the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" and Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High," is considered by many to be the among the best of the era. With Sonny Bono, Nitzsche co-wrote the Jackie DeShannon 1964 hit "Needles and Pins." Nitzsche favored working at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, where he produced and arranged widely acclaimed recordings, including those by Bob Lind, Lesley Gore and the Paris Sisters. Nitzsche and Spector worked with the Rolling Stones during the 1960s, most notably on the Out of Our Heads LP at RCA with engineer Dave Hassinger. Nitzsche also worked as a session man and producer for Neil Young over several decades, beginning with the 1967 track "Expecting to Fly," which was released on the second Buffalo Springfield album. Nitzsche recorded as an artist as well, and is remembered for the instrumental "The Lonely Surfer."
His film music work, including "Performance," "Exorcist," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Officer and a Gentleman," netted him an Academy Award nomination in 1976, but 1983 was the year he shared the best song Oscar for "Up Where We Belong." He is survived by son Jack Jr., born to his first wife Gracia Ann May. ======== End of forwarded message ========= --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 2 Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 15:29:13 -0400 From: "WASE RADIO" Subject: Re: The In Crowd To Carol Kaye: In one of your posts you mentioned that you were in on the Dobie Gray song "The In Crowd". It sounds like the song was recorded at Gold Star. I have a rare stereo mix of the song. The rhythm section and horns are on the left, Dobie in the center, and the background vocals on the right. But the real reason that the song has that distinctive but somewhat undefinable Gold Star reverb. Any information-thanks Michael Marvin WASE radio --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 3 Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 09:02:23 -0700 From: Carol Kaye Subject: Re: Playing with a Pick on Bass etc. >From Robb: > I know you play with a pick, and these days - thats > considered taboo for a bassist. One of the main people > point out as being a pick player that rocked was Berry > Oakley of the Allman Bros. Band. Any thoughts on him, > or any other of the "name" bassists of the era? > > It also might interest some of you that when asked what > he thought the greatest musical milestone of the 20th > century was, Quincy Jones cited the Fender Bass as it. Robb, to tell you the truth, I taught a great deal of the rock bassists of the 70s era, they would all practice with the pick on the airplane even, patting their foot to music on the head-phones while holding their pick patting their hand as I instructed them to do (embarrassing to the stewardess hahaha). Ones like Bowie's bassist, Toto's bassist Dave Hungate, etc. FYI, I never listen to rock musicians - nothing against rock, I'm a jazz musician and as such, only listen to jazz and a little classical. The pick is not "taboo" except by the string bassists who can't seem to learn the pick style...it's very popular out there, being used quite a bit from my correspondence (I get about 100-150 emails a day). I was the first one in the studios to record with the pick and it's nothing like the others, it's a hard pick and with hard and fast strokes, effortless actually altho' my strings were very high off the fingerboard (see my Playing Tips Page and pictures). And while I tell my students (mostly pros) today they don't have to play with a pick, it was necessary back then as everyone wanted that pick sound in the 60s. Yes, I heard about that up at Experience Music Museum...the same film people who filmed my seminar at the Paul Allen Music Museum in Seattle filmed Quincy Jones the week before saying that (there was some discussion about him using me on his film calls of the 60s and 70s also) - he wouldn't do a film call without me there until I finally quit studio work to step out in 1974 to play live with Hampton Hawes, was really burned out of doing studio work after 1,000s of sessions. Quincy knows the value and entire role of the Elec. Bass (still called Fender Bass by a few inc. Q) in pop music as few people really do, including the composers/arrangers. I think this fact kind of drove Jaco a little crazy too as being fore-runner in jazz soloing on the instrument, people were still trying to get used to the idea of it....Jaco *knew* but it's hard on top players to try to "educate" the public about it, the great role of the elec. bass in recording, and even in a band......the public really had little idea of how critical the bass was back in the 70s -- Jaco and I talked about that in 1978, he was great, I simply adored him.. Quincy utilized the Elec. Bass a LOT in his films, TV shows (Ironsides etc.) etc. and the ones who followed him also did that.....I had my hands full with lots of work back then, but working for Quincy ALWAYS was a big pleasure....he was so great and always treated all the musicians with huge respect and honor and the kidding was great too to say nothing of the great music he wrote. Carol Kaye http://www.carolkaye.com/ --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 4 Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 11:08:42 -0700 From: "Bryan Thomas" Subject: Ritchie Valens, etc. Jeffrey Thames recently asked if the portrayal of Ritchie Valens in La Bamba was accurate or not; today, I read Carol Kaye's response, in which she called Ritchie "a down-home person, very very sweet." Jeffrey, -- and others on the Spectropop elist -- you might be interested to know that Bob Keane has been writing his autobiography (The Oracle of Del-Fi: The Bob Keane Story) for the past year or so. He's written quite a bit about the "real" Ritchie, being one of the few people to really get to know Ritchie during his short, eight month career. Bob doesn't yet have a lit agent lined up or a book publisher, but the book is about 85% complete now; I've been helping him edit and doing research, etc. so I can say from first-hand knowledge that it's gonna be a terrific book. Bob has a terrific memory (he's 78) and has recalled his experiences with Ritchie, Bobby Fuller, Frank Zappa, Barry White, Johnny Crawford and nearly two hundred other artists. Jeffrey, if you'd like more info, contact me off-list; if anyone else out there would like more information, or would like to recommend a literary agent or book publisher you feel might be interested in this project, please let me know. We've been talking with a few already, but I would appeciate any help. Thanks! Bryan Thomas Del-Fi Publicity Dept. --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 5 Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 20:52:36 -0700 From: "Matt Hinrichs" Subject: "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite" Hi - I've been on this list only a couple of weeks, and already have learned about a lot of great stuff. Thanks everyone. I'd like to know more about the song "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite" by Barry and the Tamerlaines. How high did it chart, did they have any other hits, where were they >from, who produced it, etc. This song has such beautiful vocal harmonies and a typically "sixties" production - I'm suprised that it isn't played to death on oldies stations. - Matt --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
Message: 6 Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 14:22:02 -0700 From: Carol Kaye Subject: Jack Nitzsche Thanks Jamie for informing me of Jack's passing, I also called Stan Ross who is equally shocked (he'll call Phil Spector and tell others) and left word for Earl Palmer, others too. I'm just awfully saddened by this....he's way too young, was a real upper to work for, a great guy - always eager to do something fine in music, enjoying being around bunch of studio musicians - we all started out together, good soul, he and Gracia were a terrific team I tho't early on. I don't know his son, but am sure I'll see him at the funeral. I called his office and got the funeral details, it's Wednesday, on Santa Monica Blvd. not too far from where we cut all that stuff at Gold Star Studios. Another giant, just a sad time. Even tho' you may not keep up with someone, you know he's there, was eventually going to go over to see Jack, just been so busy lately....now he's gone. God rest Jack Nitzsche, he did a lot in our business and I was fortunate to know him early on and do a lot of work for him. I saw him start out in 1958 as a copyist, while Gracia was singing her high notes as a fine studio backup singer. What a career he had - I was so proud of him and happy for him for his score on that movie The Cuckoo's Nest and other great things he scored and arranged. He was so great in his arranging tasks, conducting a date with us (at a time when we all said "never hire your friends" hahahaha), he had a good sense of humor, that sparkle in his eye and the last time I saw him in that elevator at Century City, he was the same Jack I knew way back when, we had a lot of fun chatting about stuff.....wish you all could have seen the Jack I knew and cared a lot for.....we were both laughing like crazy and I'm sorry now I didn't try soon to see him again. You all know the fishing story, we had a good day that day too but now he's gone. Best, Carol Kaye http://www.carolkaye.com/ --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------
Message: 7 Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 17:43:26 -0700 From: Carol Kaye Subject: From Perry Botkin on Jack's writings The funeral for Jack Nitzsche is on Wed. at 12 noon, at Hollywood Funeral Home and so there's a lot emails about Jack. Tho't you all would like to see a message from Perry Botkin, who btw, is doing some fantastic writing of his own these days (he considers his earlier hit records composing and arranging just so-so....well....you should hear what he's into these days!!). Here's Perry: >>>>I'll never forget the Main title for "Cuckoo's Nest" The first time I saw the film I wondered what the hell he was doing writing all that native american music for a film about guys in the looney bin. Didn't make any sense. Of course at the end of the picture that wonderful tall Indian becomes the true hero and is the only one to escape that dreadful place. Now it all came together. Original and brilliant idea for M11. And the ONE note cue he did for "Personal Best". (my favorite). Two female athletes in training running up and down sand dunes. Jack started the cue with one low synth note that you hardly noticed. As the women became more and more exhausted the film went into slow motion and Jack kept adding octaves to that note. The efx mixer lowered all the effects except the women breathing heavily. Jacks "note" kept building with the heavy breathing and the hair on my arms stood straight up. Damn! He did it again. Talk about early minimilism. There are many more examples (too many for this post) but even though I didn't know Jack well, I always felt, as a composer, he was the most original of us all.<<<< Carol Kaye http://www.carolkaye.com/ --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- Message: 8 Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 13:14:06 -0700 (PDT) From: Spectropop Admin Subject: BOUNCE: Non-member submission [Forwarded from private email by permission of the sender] JACK NITZSCHE 1937-2000 Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Phil Spector, Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis, Bobby Darin, Neil Young, The Beach Boys, John Lee Hooker, Tammy Wynette, James Brown, Captain Beefheart, Jackie DeShannon, Sean Penn, The Germs, Willy DeVille, Buffy Sainte-Marie, William Friedkin, Paul Schrader, Doris Day, Ricky Nelson, Ike & Tina Turner, Marianne Faithfull, The Monkees, The Neville Brothers, Graham Parker, Sonny & Cher, Randy Newman. Jack Nitzsche worked with them all. It's hard to name another person that was involved in creating in so much music history. Whether it was pop, new wave, punk, folk, rock, R & B, or movie soundtracks, Nitzsche was there. The otherworldly hits he arranged for Spector. His eerie string work for Neil Young and others. The two-fisted piano playing for the Stones. His soundtracks, among the most original and unusual in Hollywood history. "Jack's one of the modern-day masters," Young told Gavin Martin. "His creations are on par with Mozart and the composers of the "renaissance." Bernard Alfred "Jack" Nitzsche was born on April 22, 1937, in Chicago, Illinois, but was raised on a farm outside of Newaygo, Michigan. In 1955 he moved to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming a jazz saxophonist, but quit music school after deciding he wasn't good enough. Nitzsche wandered into Specialty Records, where then-A&R man Sonny Bono hired him as a copyist. "Sonny got me my first real job in the music business," said Nitzsche. "We both loved black music." A stint at Capitol Records was most notable for Jack's introduction to aspiring singer Gracia Ann May, his first wife and the woman Nitzsche would credit most for guiding his life and career. "Gracia encouraged me to forget about getting a job and really go for the music. To just do what I wanted to do, and she would bring in the income." Son Jack Jr. was born in 1960. Various jobs in the record industry led to arrangement work for Phil Spector, beginning in 1962 with The Crystals immortal He's a Rebel, and straight on through to Ike and Tina Turners River Deep, Mountain High in 1966. What records: 'Be My Baby,' 'Zip A Dee Doo Dah,' 'Then He Kissed Me,' 'Baby I Love You.' "Phil and I saw totally eye to eye--on everything. Thats what made our combination perfect." First encountering the Rolling Stones at a 1964 session for Hale and the Hushabyes, Nitzsche contributed keyboards to such sixties Stones classics as 'Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows?,' 'Play With Fire' and 'Paint It Black,' as well as the choral arrangements for 'You Can't Always Get What You Want.' Throughout the sixties Nitzsche did production work with a slew of artists, including Bob Lind, P. J. Proby and one of his favorite female vocalists, Jackie DeShannon. He also wrote (with a little help from Sonny Bono) the classic ' Needles and Pins,' a 1964 hit for The Searchers which was later covered by The Ramones.
Nitzsche's odd solo career began with the majestic 1963 instrumental 'The Lonely Surfer,' the title cut of his first solo album for Reprise. He walked out of the sessions for a ludicrous, label-instigated follow-up Dance to the Hits of The Beatles. Nitzsche released an album of original orchestral pieces, 'St Giles Cripplegate' in 1973. The work for Neil Young began with 'Expecting to Fly,' a 1967 Buffalo Springfield track that was one Jack's favorite records. Nitzsche contributed to Young songs throughout the years, most notably the 1972 Harvest track 'A Man Needs a Maid' (done with the London Symphony Orchestra) and 'Such a Woman,' from Young's 1992 Harvest Moon. Jack was also a sometime member of Crazy Horse, contributing keyboards and his first recorded vocal, 'Crow Jane Lady,' to their 1971 debut. He played piano on Young's 1973 live album, Time Fades Away. His motion picture work began with largely overseeing the musical end of 1964's The TAMI Show, then scoring the 1965 no-budgeter Village of the Giants. 1970 brought Performance , inarguably one of the most original and influential scores of all time. Nitzsche did Robert Downey Sr.'s 1972 picture Greaser's Palace, contributed music to William Friedkin's The Exorcist in 1973, and was nominated for an Oscar for his glass harp/musical saw score for One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest in 1975. He did two pictures for Paul Schrader, 1978's Blue Collar and Hardcore in 1979. Nitzsche received the Best Original Song Oscar for co-writing 'Up Where We Belong,' which was featured in 1982 's Officer and a Gentleman. Nitzsche took soundtrack work seriously, and never felt he got the credit he deserved for his. "So many of these composers now take eight films at once, use ghost writers, a lot of orchestrators. I've never done that--I've always done my own orchestration. Because I think it's part of composition. Thats what composition is -- it isn't just writing a melody line, it's writing the whole thing." 1980 saw a punk/new wave score for Friedkin's Cruising. Jack produced Graham Parker, and did three albums with longtime friend and cohort Willy DeVille, starting with 1977's 'Cabretta.' "We hit it off. Right away," said Jack. "Willy pulled out his record collection, he started playin things, that was it. I said, Holy shit! This guys got taste! Nitzsche was particularly proud of the DeVille track 'Cadillac Walk.' The soundtrack work continued with Cutter's Way in 1981, plus a few scores for director John Byrum, including The Razor's Edge in 1984. An unusual electronic score was featured in 1984's Starman, and a haunting 1990 soundtrack for Revenge was among Jack's favorites. Nitzsche's evocative pairing of Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker was central to Dennis Hopper's 1991 picture The Hot Spot. The nineties brought two pictures for Sean Penn, 1991's The Indian Runner and The Crossing Guard in 1995. Nitzsche's last studio work (as yet unreleased) was with Louisiana rocker Charles 'C. C.' Adcock. ****************************************************** Melancholy, bittersweet, ghostly--these are words that come to mind when I think of Jack's sound. But that doesn't quite get it. It was just Jack Nitzsche music, and once you heard it, you were never the same. If Jack's name was on a record, you could count on something moving, something unique. And probably something you'd never heard before. "I do a whole number when I produce an artist," he said. " I really put them through something. They have an experience. And it changes the record." Fellow musicians loved Jack--even if they wanted to wring his neck at some point, which was inevitable. Hanging out with Nitzsche was one of the pleasures of life. Jack was funnier than hell, and he had an opinion on everything. He thought all rock 'n' roll was stolen from the black man-- and that included his own music. "Jack's one of the mighty few," said bassist Tim Dummond. "If you don't want to know the truth, don't ask Jack." Nitzsche loved fencing, doo wop, women and all things Native American, although not necessarily in that order. He could be a cad when it came to the opposite sex, yet he somehow remained close friends with nearly every ex. Jack remembered every girl he ever had a crush on. In detail. And occasionally tried to call them while inebriated in the middle of the night many decades later. With Nitzsche on your side you felt invincible, like you could go ten rounds with Ali. When he turned on you--which he invariably did--it was an equally unforgettable experience. Jack could be a real devil sometimes. You loved him anyway. Nitzsche got a kick out of any joke at his expense, particularly if it had to do with the sort of high-profile shenanigans that landed him in court and earned him an unexpected role on Cops. The sad irony was that Jack was in better shape than he'd been in years right before his death, fresh from trips to Australia and New York. One of the great joys of his life was being able to attend his son Jack Jr's marriage in May. Jack Nitzsche was a real record hound. Mention a forgotten 45 by The Mighty Hannibal or the latest work by his beloved Jon Hassell and Jack could rhapsodize for hours. Despite three decades in the music biz, he still loved going to the record store and blowing dough on new sounds. Nitzsche might've appeared cynical about many things, but music wasn't one of them. Underneath the sometimes crusty exterior lurked a romantic, even sentimental, fellow. One of his all-time favorite records was 'That's All I Want From You,' an old pop ballad covered by many singers, black and white. The version that moved Jack the most was the 1954 Jaye P. Morgan hit that he first heard in tenth grade. He talked wistfully of it. The lyrics go like this: A little love that slowly grows and grows Not one that comes and goes That's all I want from you A sunny day, with hopes up to the sky A kiss and no goodbye That's all I want from you Don't let me down Oh show me that you care Remember when you give You also get your share Don't let me down I have no time to wait Tomorrow might not come When dreamers dream too late Jack Nitzsche died at Queen of Angels hospital in Hollywood on August 25, 2000. The cause of death was cardiac arrest, brought on by a reoccuring bronchial infection. He was sixty-three years old. He is survived by son Jack Jr. --Jimmy McDonough --------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------- End
Wednesday, August 30, 2000|
Jack Nitzsche; Oscar-Winning Songwriter, Arranger
By RICHARD CROMELIN, Times Staff Writer
Jack Nitzsche, an Academy Award-winning songwriter, producer and arranger who contributed to some of rock 'n' roll's essential recordings, has died. He was 63.
Nitzsche died Friday at Queen of Angels hospital in Hollywood after cardiac arrest brought on by a recurring bronchial infection.
He arranged the bulk of Phil Spector's "wall of sound" hits in the '60s, including the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," and he arranged and played keyboard on a series of Rolling Stones records, including "Let's Spend the Night Together." His score for the 1970 Mick Jagger film "Performance" is regarded as a landmark for the use of rock in film soundtracks. Nitzsche was also instrumental in the early solo career of Neil Young, and later worked with acts as varied as English singer Graham Parker and Los Angeles punk-rock band the Germs.
As a film composer, he scored more than 40 movies. Nitzsche received an Academy Award nomination in 1976 for his score to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." In 1983, he shared the best song Oscar with Buffy Sainte-Marie (his wife at the time) and Will Jennings for "Up Where We Belong," the theme of "An Officer and a Gentleman." His score for "Officer" was also nominated for an Oscar.
Nitzsche's signature as a composer was a moody, atmospheric quality. "He really liked Wagner, and he leaned more to the sad tunes with minor chords," said Denny Bruce, a record producer and executive who had been a close friend of Nitzsche since the late '60s.
The son of German immigrants, Nitzsche was born in Chicago and grew up on a farm in Michigan. He studied piano, clarinet and saxophone and moved to Muskegon, Mich., where he worked at a steel foundry and played saxophone in a band while learning orchestration through a correspondence course.
He moved to Los Angeles in the early '60s and met Sonny Bono, who helped him into the fraternity of studio musicians that worked on Spector's hits for the Blossoms, Ike and Tina Turner and others. Becoming a producer himself, he worked with singer Jackie DeShannon and went on to record with Young's first group, the Buffalo Springfield.
Along with the success came difficulties. Nitzsche struggled with drug problems throughout his career, and in 1979 he was fined and sentenced to three years probation for an assault on his former girlfriend, actress Carrie Snodgress. More recently, Nitzsche was seen in an episode of the reality show "Cops," being arrested in Hollywood after brandishing a gun at some youths who had stolen his hat.
"Being a musician, he liked the romance and the rituals of that world, and he was intrigued by it," said Bruce.
Nitzsche's last film score was for the 1995 Sean Penn movie "The Crossing Guard."
He had been relatively inactive in recent years and suffered declining health, including a stroke two years ago, according to Bruce.
Nitzsche is survived by a son, Jack Jr., born to his first wife, Gracia Ann May. Private services will be held today in Hollywood.
The New York Times
Jack Nitzsche, an Oscar-winning songwriter, keyboardist and arranger who worked with musicians like Phil Spector, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Miles Davis, died on Friday in Hollywood. He was 63 and lived in Los Angeles.
The cause of death was cardiac arrest brought on by a recurring bronchial infection, said his son, Jack Nitzsche Jr.
Mr. Nitzsche made a career as a prized collaborator, drawing on idioms as old as the blues and as new as electronic music. He wrote songs with Buffy Sainte-Marie, who was his wife during the 1980's ("Up Where We Belong," which won an Academy Award as Best Song in 1982, from "An Officer and a Gentleman"), and with Sonny Bono ("Needles and Pins," a 1964 hit for the Searchers). He played piano with Neil Young and the Rolling Stones; he arranged full orchestras or skeletal, atmospheric handfuls of instruments as film soundtracks or as accompaniments for rock songs.
Bernard Alfred Nitzsche was born in Chicago in 1937, and grew up on a farm near Newaygo, Mich. He hoped to become a jazz saxophonist and moved to Los Angeles in 1955, but dropped out of music school. Mr. Bono, who was an artists-and-repertory executive at Specialty Records, hired him as a copyist. Mr. Nitzsche then worked for Capitol Records, where he met the singer Gracia Ann May, who became his first wife.
Mr. Nitzsche became Phil Spector's arranger in 1962, creating the thunderous orchestrations of the Wall of Sound for hits that included the Crystals' "He's a Rebel," "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me"; the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" and "Baby I Love You"; and Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High."
During the 1960's he was also a session keyboardist and arranger for the Rolling Stones, working on their albums from 1964 to 1974, including "Let It Bleed" and "Sticky Fingers." He began a long association with Neil Young when he orchestrated "Expecting to Fly" for the Buffalo Springfield in 1967. He played piano on Mr. Young's albums "Tonight's the Night" and "Time Fades Away" and wrote arrangements for Mr. Young's 1972 album, "Harvest," and his 1992 album, "Harvest Moon." He also worked with Randy Newman, Marianne Faithfull, the Neville Brothers, Jackie DeShannon and the Monkees, among many others.
Under his own name he recorded an instrumental hit, "The Lonely Surfer," in 1963, and released an album of orchestral pieces, "St. Giles Cripplegate," in 1973. In the late 1970's, Mr. Nitzsche turned to new wave rock, producing Graham Parker's "Squeezing Out Sparks" and albums by Mink DeVille. Most recently, he produced recordings by the Louisiana rocker C. C. Adcock, which remain unreleased.
But Mr. Nitzsche was most widely recognized for his film scores. His 1975 score for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was nominated for an Academy Award, as was his score for "An Officer and a Gentleman" in 1982, the year "Up Where We Belong" won as best song.
His first film music was for the 1964 rock and soul documentary, "The T.A.M.I. Show," and he went on to write scores for more than 30 films, including "Performance" (1970), "Greaser's Palace" (1972), "The Exorcist" (1972), "Heart Beat" (1980), "Cutter's Way" (1981), "Personal Best" (1982), "Starman"(1984), "The Razor's Edge (1984), "The Jewel of the Nile" (1985), "9 1/2 Weeks" (1986), "Stand by Me" (1986), "Revenge" (1990) and "The Crossing Guard" (1995). His score for "The Hot Spot," a 1990 film by Dennis Hopper, brought together John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal and Miles Davis.
Mr. Nitzsche had a persistent drug problem and was known, at times, for volatile behavior. In 1979 he was sentenced to three years of probation for breaking and entering following a domestic dispute with his girlfriend at the time, the actress Carrie Snodgress. In the late 1990's, The Los Angeles Times reported, his arrest was shown on the television series "Cops" after he waved a gun at someone who had stolen his hat.
He is survived by his son.
City News Service
Private services will be held in Hollywood today for Oscar-winning songwriter Jack Nitzsche, who died following a heart attack brought on by a recurring bronchial infection at the age of 63.
The Chicago-born composer, arranger and musician died at Queen of Angels hospital in Hollywood Friday, the Los Angeles times reported.
Nitzsche, his then-wife Buffy Sainte-Marie and Will Jennings shared the best-song Oscar in 1983 for ''Up Where We Belong,'' the theme of ''An Officer and a Gentleman.'' Nitzsche's score for the movie was also nominated for an Academy Award.
In all, he scored more than 40 movies, and also received an Academy Award nomination in 1976 for his work on ''One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.''
Nitzsche also made his mark on the rock 'n' roll music scene, arranging the bulk of Phil Spector's ''wall of sound'' hits in the 1960s.
He also arranged and played keyboards on a series of Rolling Stones records, including ''Let's Spend the Night Together.'' His score for the 1970 Mick Jagger film ''Performance'' is regarded as a landmark for the use of rock $ % in film soundtracks, The Times reported.
Nitzsche's last film score was for the 1995 Sean Penn movie ''The Crossing Guard.''
He is survived by a son born to his first wife, Gracia Ann May.
The Independent (London)
JACK NITZSCHE was a most intriguing backroom figure in the music industry. He and the record producer Phil Spector developed the famed "wall of sound" style, he recorded with the Rolling Stones and Neil Young, he wrote chart- topping singles and he scored several popular films, winning an Oscar in 1982 for "Up Where We Belong", the theme song of An Officer and a Gentleman.
Nitzsche, who was born in Chicago in 1937, was raised in Michigan. He had a rebellious James Dean stance as a teenager but he achieved a music diploma by correspondence course. He came to Hollywood in the late 1950s and worked at Specialty Records, writing Preston Epps's instrumental "Bongo Bongo Bongo" and befriending Sonny Bono, later of Sonny and Cher.
In 1962 Phil Spector moved from New York to the West Coast to make his records and Nitzsche wrote the forceful arrangement for the Crystals' "He's a Rebel", which topped the US charts. This was followed by "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me"; "Be My Baby" and "Baby I Love You" for the Ronettes; and "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" for Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans. Nitzsche arranged Phil Spector's legendary album A Christmas Gift For You, which had the misfortune to be released on 22 November 1963, the day that John F. Kennedy was shot, and hence sold poorly. For $ 50 an arrangement, Nitzsche developed the florid, echo-laden sound that Spector was looking for.
Although Nitzsche was vital to the wall of sound, Spector preferred to keep the credit for himself. For some years, they remained close, and Nitzsche would accompany Spector, who had a phobia about flying, on aeroplane trips: "Phil told me that he didn't want to die alone." Spector, a mass of neuroses, would call Nitzsche in the middle of the night and suggest that they meet for ice-cream. Nitzsche's first wife, Grazia, was a member of the Blossoms, a Los Angeles session group who also worked for Spector.
As Spector was not paying vast sums, Nitzsche worked for other companies. He arranged Bobby Darin's "Eighteen Yellow Roses" (1963) and Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly" (1966) as well as records for Gene McDaniels, Lesley Gore, the Lettermen, the Monkees and Frankie Laine. He regularly worked with Jackie deShannon, arranging "When You Walk in the Room" and a song he had written with Sonny Bono, "Needles and Pins", which became a UK No 1 for the Searchers in 1964.
To his surprise, Nitzsche had a US Top Forty hit with a Duane Eddy-styled instrumental, "The Lonely Surfer", in 1963, and his album of the same name is highly sought after by collectors. Following a disagreement with the record company, he refused to record a follow-up and so the producer of "The Lonely Surfer", Jimmy Bowen, recorded an album, Dance to the Hits of the Beatles, and put it out under Nitzsche's name.
Because of other projects, Nitzsche was not available for Phil Spector's master-work, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' " by the Righteous Brothers. Spector crowed, saying "I guess he felt unimportant when he saw that we could do it without him", although Gene Page's arrangement is surely developed from Nitzsche's "Walking in the Rain" for the Ronettes. Nitzsche returned for the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" (1965) and Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep Mountain High" (1966).
Nitzsche befriended the Rolling Stones and their record producer, Andrew Loog Oldham. He co- produced some of their records including "Mother's Little Helper" (1965) and "19th Nervous Breakdown" (1966) and he played piano or added percussion on others. His rolling piano propels "Let's Spend the Night Together" (1967) and he added the 50-voice choir on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (1969). He later commented, "Up until then all the rock'n'rollers I met seemed to be assholes. The Stones were the first ones who said 'F@ck you' to everybody."
In 1966, Nitzsche had arranged "Expecting To Fly" for Buffalo Springfield, virtually a solo showcase for Neil Young. In 1972 he added the strings to Young's album, Harvest, recording with the London Symphony Orchestra. He did not enjoy touring with Young, saying, "His lyrics are so dumb and pretentious. The tour was torture. I was bored to death with his terrible guitar solos."
Impressed, however, by the LSO, he recorded his own album with them, St Giles Cripplegate, so called because it was a recorded in a London church with excellent acoustics. The album, a fusion of classical music and experimental pop, sold only 1,300 copies and has done little better when reissued.
Nitzsche conducted the orchestra for the pop extravaganza The T.A.M.I. Show (1965), which was filmed in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and featured James Brown, Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones. He also wrote the music for Village of the Giants in 1965, but his first major score wasn't until 1970 with Performance, a strange unsettling film starring Mick Jagger and James Fox. Nitzsche's score, which involved sitars, the wailing of Merry Clayton and a downbeat blues from Randy Newman, was superbly integrated into the scenes. He also worked on Randy Newman's 1970 album 12 Songs.
Nitzsche wrote the score for Performance while living in a witch's cottage in Laurel Canyon in the Los Angeles hills and he became obsessed with the occult. He wrote the score for The Exorcist (1973), which was directed by William Friedkin, but he dismissed its contents. He said, "Friedkin didn't give a shit about the occult. It was just a hot commodity as far as he was concerned." This was followed by an Oscar nomination for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Captain Beefheart was among the performers of his score for Blue Collar (1978). Around that time, he also wrote arrangements for Barbra Streisand's 1977 album Superman.
Nitzsche was broken-hearted when the actress Carrie Snodgrass broke off her relationship with him. In 1979, fuelled by drugs and alcohol, he stormed into her house and threatened her. He was arrested and became the first person to be charged with "rape by instrumentality" as he had allegedly violated her with the barrel of a revolver. The charge was dropped after he accepted a lesser charge of threatening behaviour.
His score for An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) was nominated for an Oscar and he won an Oscar for the Best Song with "Up Where We Belong", which he co-wrote with Buffy Sainte-Marie (who was briefly married to him) and Will Jennings. The song was a major hit for Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, and Nitzsche also worked on several albums for Cocker. He wrote the scores for 35 films including Starman (1984), The Jewel of the Nile (1985), 91/2 Weeks (1986), Stand By Me (1986), Mermaids (1990), Revenge (1990) and The Crossing Guard (1994).
Despite the film scores, he still made records, including work for Mink de Ville, the Neville Brothers, Graham Parker and Richard Clayderman. He used cocaine to help him write and arrange quickly.
This year Jack Nitzsche was healthier than he had been for some years. He had stopped drinking and drug abuse and, although always cynical, was content with life.
Bernard (" Jack") Nitzsche, musician and song arranger: born Chicago 22 April 1937; twice married (one son); died Los Angeles 25 August 2000.
The Times (London)
Jack Nitzsche, composer and arranger, was born in Chicago on April 22, 1937. He died in Hollywood of cardiac arrest on August 25, aged 63.
Rock arranger who gathered no moss in a long career
ALTHOUGH he was not a household name, Jack Nitzsche was responsible for producing or arranging some of the most influential pop records of the past 40 years. Artists who benefited from his skills included the Rolling Stones, Ike and Tina Turner and Neil Young. He was also a composer whose film scores included One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and he won an Oscar for co-writing Up Where We Belong, the theme song of the film An Officer and a Gentleman.
Born Bernard Alfred Nitzsche, he grew up on a farm near the town of Newaygo, Michigan. His first love was jazz and he moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1950s to study saxophone at music college. But the lure of rock'n'roll was irresistible and he was given his first job in the music industry by Sonny Bono, then an A&R man at Speciality Records, whose biggest act was Little Richard.
With Bono he wrote Needles and Pins, a minor American hit for Jackie de Shannon which was turned into a British number one by the Searchers, and later revived by the Ramones. But it was his association with Phil Spector that was to establish his name as one of pop music's great arrangers. Together they created a style of epic pop grandeur that came to be known as the "wall of sound", and the records Nitzsche worked on included the Crystals' He's a Rebel and Then He Kissed Me, the Ronettes' Be My Baby, and Ike and Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High.
His own career as a recording artist was less successful, although the title track of his 1963 debut album The Lonely Surfer was an American Top 40 hit. Then in 1964 he began an association with the Rolling Stones, when the group travelled to Los Angeles to record. His influence can be heard on some of their best-known songs, including Satisfaction, The Last Time and Get off of My Cloud, which he arranged, and Play with Fire and Paint It Black, on which he played piano. He was also responsible for the memorable choir arrangement on You Can't Always Get What You Want, and worked again with Mick Jagger when he scored the 1970 film Performance, in which the Stones' singer had a starring role.
Around the same time he began an equally productive partnership with Neil Young. In 1968 he co-produced Buffalo Springfield Again, one of the seminal West Coast rock albums, to which he also contributed the ethereal string arrangement on one of the best songs, Young's Expecting to Fly. When the group split up, Nitzsche continued to work with Young, and his arrangements can be heard on a clutch of albums, including his biggest-sellers, After the Goldrush and Harvest. He also played for a time in Young's live touring band, Crazy Horse.
If his associations with Spector, the Stones and Young were the three pillars on which Nitzsche's reputation was built, the list of his other production and arranging credits is a roll-call of rock, ranging from P. J. Proby to Randy Newman, and from Tim Buckley to the Walker Brothers.
He dabbled in Neo-Classical styles on the album St Giles Cripplegate in 1972 (although the album was not well received), and went on to work on more than 30 film soundtracks, including Stand By Me, Star Man, Blue Collar and 9 1/2 Weeks. In 1982 he won an Academy Award for best song, Up Where We Belong.
Nitzsche continued to be in demand as an arranger, producer and composer. He is survived by his wife and a son.
Record producer, film composer and performer Jack Nitzsche died Friday at Queen of Angels hospital in Hollywood of cardiac arrest, brought on by a recurring bronchial infection. He was 63.
Nitzsche won the 1983 original song Oscar for co-writing "Up Where We Belong" for "An Officer and a Gentleman." His score for 1975's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" also brought him an Oscar nomination. In 1991, Nitzsche paired Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker to perform his acclaimed score for Dennis Hopper's pic "The Hot Spot."
In his 35-year career, Nitzsche worked with the likes of Elvis Presley, Captain Beefheart, Marianne Faithfull, the Monkees and Doris Day, but his best-known work was with the legendary producer Phil Spector, the Rolling Stones and Neil Young.
As an arranger, Nitzsche began working with Spector in 1962 with the Crystals' "He's a Rebel." Their association lasted up through Spector's final "wall of sound" production, Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High," in 1966.
Rocked with Stones
His association with the Rolling Stones started in 1964 and throughout the 1960s he contributed keyboard parts to such classics as "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows?" "Play With Fire" and "Paint It Black." He also wrote the classic choral arrangements for "You Can't Always Get What You Want."
With Young, Nitzsche arranged strings for "A Man Needs a Maid" and was a member of his backing band, the Stray Gators, for 1972's "Harvest." He arranged "Such a Woman" for Young's 1992 "Harvest Moon" album. Their association began in 1967 when Nitzsche arranged "Expecting to Fly" for Young's former band, the Buffalo Springfield.
Nitzsche had one solo hit, "The Lonely Surfer," an instrumental track that hit the top 40 in 1963.
Born Bernard Alfred " Jack" Nitzsche on April 22, 1937, in Chicago, he was reared on a farm outside of Newaygo, Mich. At age 18, he moved to Los Angeles to become a jazz saxophonist, but quit after getting a job at Specialty Records as a copyist.
His motion picture work began with largely overseeing the musical end of 1964's "The TAMI Show," then scoring the 1965 no-budgeter "Village of the Giants." In 1970 he scored "Performance." Other credits include "The Exorcist," "Stand by Me," "The Indian Runner," "The Crossing Guard," "Blue Collar" and "Hardcore."
Nitzsche, an avid record collector up until his death, was also notorious for his drug usage and run-ins with the law, one of which even landed on the TV show "Cops."
Nitzsche had one son, Jack Jr., from his first marriage, to aspiring singer Gracia Ann May. He was later married to Buffy Sainte-Marie, with whom he co-wrote "Up Where We Belong."
Nitzsche's last studio work (as yet unreleased) was with Louisiana rocker C.C. Adcock.
He is survived by his son.
Spectropop text contents & copy; copyright Spectropop unless stated otherwise. All rights in and to the contents of these documents, including each element embodied therein, is subject to copyright protection under international copyright law. Any use, reuse, reproduction and/or adaptation without written permission of the owners is a violation of copyright law and is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.