|Terrence Paul Melcher
|February 8, 1942 – November 19, 2004
|American Record Producer, Songwriter, Musician
Terry Melcher was an American record producer, songwriter, and musician who played an instrumental role in shaping the mid-to-late 1960s California Sound and folk rock movements. Born Terrence Paul Jorden on February 8, 1942, Melcher was the son of actress Doris Day and the stepson of Martin Melcher. He was also a close friend of The Beach Boys.
Melcher’s best-known contributions were producing the Byrds’ first two albums, Mr. Tambourine Man (1965) and Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965). He also produced several albums for The Beach Boys, including Pet Sounds (1966) and 20/20 (1969). In addition to his work as a producer, Melcher was a songwriter, co-writing several hit songs, including “Kokomo” for The Beach Boys.
Melcher passed away on November 19, 2004, at the age of 62 after an extended battle with cancer. His contributions to the music industry continue to be celebrated and remembered to this day.
Early Life and Background
Family and Childhood
Terry Melcher was born as Terrence Paul Jorden on February 8, 1942, in New York City. His mother, Doris Day, was a famous actress and singer, and his father, Al Jorden, was a trombonist. His parents divorced when he was young, and his mother remarried to Martin Melcher, who later adopted Terry.
Terry spent most of his childhood in California, where he attended Beverly Hills High School. He grew up in a family of musicians and performers and was exposed to music from an early age. His mother, Doris Day, was a renowned singer and actress, and his father, Al Jorden, was a professional musician.
At the age of 14, Terry Melcher began playing the guitar and the piano. He was a self-taught musician and spent countless hours practicing and perfecting his craft. He showed a keen interest in music and started writing his own songs at a young age.
Terry’s musical talent soon caught the attention of the music industry, and he started working as a producer and songwriter in the early 1960s. He collaborated with many famous musicians, including Bruce Johnston, and helped to shape the sound of 1960s surf music in California.
Overall, Terry Melcher’s upbringing in a family of musicians and performers, as well as his early exposure to music, played a significant role in shaping his musical career.
Music Production Career
Work with The Byrds
Terry Melcher’s music production career began in the mid-1960s when he joined Columbia Records as a producer. One of his most notable works was his collaboration with The Byrds. Melcher produced their top-selling version of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” which became a hit in 1965 and helped to launch the folk-rock movement.
Melcher continued to work with The Byrds on their subsequent albums, including “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “Fifth Dimension.” His work with the band helped to shape the California Sound, which was characterized by its blend of folk and rock music.
Collaborations with Beach Boys
Melcher also collaborated with the Beach Boys, producing their hit single “Kokomo” in 1988. He had previously worked with the band on their 1976 album “15 Big Ones” and their 1977 album “Love You.” Melcher’s work with the Beach Boys helped to cement their status as one of the most influential bands of the 1960s and 1970s.
Other Notable Productions
In addition to his work with The Byrds and the Beach Boys, Terry Melcher produced a number of other notable albums and singles. He worked with the Rip Cords, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and many other artists.
Melcher’s production style was characterized by his ability to blend folk and rock music, creating a unique sound that helped to define the California Sound. His work with The Byrds and the Beach Boys helped to shape the music of the 1960s and 1970s, and his legacy continues to inspire musicians today.
Overall, Terry Melcher’s music production career was marked by his ability to create innovative and influential music that helped to shape the course of rock and roll history.
Songwriting and Composing
Contributions to Music
Terry Melcher was an accomplished songwriter and composer, known for his contributions to the California sound of the 1960s. He was instrumental in shaping the mid-to-late 1960s California Sound and folk rock movements. His best-known contributions were producing the Byrds’ first two albums Mr. Tambourine Man (1965) and Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965).
Melcher was also a talented songwriter, having co-written the hit song “Hey, Little Cobra” with Bruce Johnston. The song was a top 10 hit in the United States in 1964 and helped to establish Melcher’s reputation as a songwriter.
Collaborations with Artists
In addition to his work with the Byrds, Melcher collaborated with a number of other notable artists throughout his career. He worked with Randy Newman on the soundtrack for the film “The Ballad of Easy Rider” (1969), and also produced Bobby Darin’s album “Born Walden Robert Cassotto” (1968).
Melcher’s collaborations with other artists helped to cement his reputation as a versatile and talented songwriter and composer. His contributions to the California sound of the 1960s continue to be celebrated and remembered by music fans around the world.
Acting and Television
Terry Melcher was not only a successful music producer but also had a brief stint in acting and television. Here are some of his notable appearances on screen:
Appearances on Screen
Melcher made his acting debut in 1968 in the film “Monkees, Blow Your Mind” where he played himself. He also appeared in the 1970 film “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” as a music producer. Melcher’s last on-screen appearance was in the 2019 film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” where he was portrayed by actor, actor Ryan Phillippe.
The Doris Day Show
Melcher also worked in television, producing and co-writing the theme song for “The Doris Day Show,” which aired on CBS from 1968 to 1973. The show was a sitcom that followed the life of a widowed mother and her two sons who move from the city to a small town. Melcher also made a cameo appearance on the show as himself in the episode “Doris Day’s Best Friends.”
Melcher’s involvement in “The Doris Day Show” was significant as it helped establish his reputation as a music producer and songwriter. The show’s theme song, which he co-wrote and produced, was a hit and became a popular tune of the time.
In conclusion, Terry Melcher’s involvement in acting and television was brief but significant. His appearance in films and television shows helped establish his reputation as a multi-talented individual.
Terry Melcher was married three times in his life. His first marriage was to Melissa E. Brown in 1974, which ended in divorce in 1977. His second marriage was to Jacqueline Carlin, which lasted until 1997. Finally, he married Terese Edwards in 1998, and they remained together until his death in 2004.
Melcher had one son named Ryan Melcher. He was born in 1974 to his first wife, Melissa E. Brown. Although he was not very public about his personal life, it is known that he had a close relationship with his son.
Lifestyle and Interests
Terry Melcher was known to be a private person and did not share much about his personal life with the public. However, it is known that he was very interested in real estate and owned several properties in Carmel, California. He also had a passion for music and was a talented musician himself. He played the guitar and piano and was involved in the production of many successful albums.
Melcher was also known to have a close group of friends, which included many famous musicians and celebrities. He was a part of the “California Sound” movement in the 1960s and worked with many iconic musicians such as The Beach Boys and The Byrds.
In summary, Terry Melcher had a private personal life, but he was passionate about real estate and music. He had a close relationship with his son and a group of close friends in the music industry.
The Manson Connection
Terry Melcher’s name became linked to one of the most infamous crimes in American history: the Manson Family murders. This section explores the events surrounding the Manson connection to Terry Melcher.
Cielo Drive and the Tate Murders
On August 9, 1969, the Manson Family carried out a brutal attack on the residents of 10050 Cielo Drive, the home of actress Sharon Tate and her husband, director Roman Polanski. Tate, who was eight months pregnant, and four others were brutally murdered. The murders shocked the world and sparked a massive manhunt for the killers.
It was later revealed that the Manson Family had targeted the house because it was once the home of Terry Melcher. Manson had hoped that Melcher would help him launch his music career, but after a series of failed attempts, Manson became angry and believed that Melcher had betrayed him.
Aftermath and Impact
After the murders, Terry Melcher was understandably shaken. He testified before a grand jury about his interactions with Manson, and it was revealed that Manson had visited Melcher at his home on several occasions. Melcher also admitted to having given Manson a recording contract, but it was never fulfilled.
The Manson connection had a lasting impact on Terry Melcher’s life. He reportedly became paranoid and was afraid for his safety. Melcher eventually moved out of his home on Cielo Drive and sold it to Rudi Altobelli, who rented it to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate.
In conclusion, the Manson connection to Terry Melcher is a tragic and disturbing chapter in music history. While Melcher was not the intended target of the Manson Family, his association with the group and the murders at Cielo Drive had a profound impact on his life and career.
Legacy and Influence
Impact on the Music Industry
Terry Melcher’s legacy as a record producer and songwriter continues to inspire musicians and fans alike. He was instrumental in shaping the mid-to-late 1960s California Sound and folk rock movements. Melcher’s career started with the surf craze that was popular in the early 1960s, but he quickly moved on to producing folk rock and psychedelic music.
Melcher worked with many legendary artists during his career, including Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Ryan Cooder, Taj Mahal, Glen Campbell, Gram Parsons, and Dennis Wilson. He also played an important role in the careers of The Byrds, The Beach Boys, and Paul Revere & The Raiders.
Tributes and Recognitions
Melcher’s contributions to the music industry have not gone unnoticed. In 1996, he was inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach, California. In 2009, he was posthumously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Monterey Bay Blues Festival.
Melcher’s influence can also be seen in the music of many contemporary artists. His work with The Byrds, in particular, has been cited as an influence by bands such as R.E.M. and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Melcher’s impact on the music industry was not limited to his work as a producer and songwriter. He also played a key role in the development of the Carmel-by-the-Sea music scene, which became a hub for folk rock and psychedelic music in the late 1960s. Melcher’s recording contract with Columbia Records helped to establish Carmel-by-the-Sea as an important center for music in California.
Philanthropy and Activism
Terry Melcher was not only a talented music producer and songwriter, but he was also known for his philanthropic work and activism. He was involved in several causes throughout his life, and his contributions to society have left a lasting impact.
Doris Day Animal Foundation
One of the causes that Terry Melcher was most passionate about was animal welfare. He was an active supporter of the Doris Day Animal Foundation, which was founded by his mother, Doris Day. The foundation is dedicated to helping animals in need and has been providing support to animal welfare organizations for over 40 years.
Terry Melcher was actively involved in the foundation’s work, and he served on its board of directors for many years. He was committed to ensuring that animals received the care and attention they deserved and worked tirelessly to raise awareness about animal welfare issues.
Environmental and Social Causes
In addition to his work with the Doris Day Animal Foundation, Terry Melcher was also involved in several environmental and social causes. He was a strong advocate for conservation and worked to protect the natural beauty of Carmel, California, where he lived for many years.
Terry Melcher was also involved in social causes and believed in the power of music to bring people together. He worked on several benefit concerts throughout his career and helped to raise money for various charities and causes.
Overall, Terry Melcher’s philanthropic work and activism were a testament to his dedication to making the world a better place. His contributions to animal welfare, environmental conservation, and social causes will be remembered for years to come.
Death and Memorials
Circumstances of Death
Terry Melcher, the legendary American record producer, songwriter, and vocalist, passed away on November 19, 2004, at the age of 62. He died at his home in Beverly Hills after battling cancer for an extended period. Melcher had been diagnosed with melanoma, which had spread to his lungs, liver, and spine, and he had undergone several rounds of chemotherapy.
Tributes and Legacy
Melcher’s death was a significant loss to the music industry, and his contributions to the ’60s-era California sound will always be remembered. Following his passing, several tributes were paid to him by his friends, family, and fans. The Perplexed Historian added a photo of Melcher to his Find a Grave Memorial, which also contains details about his birth, death, and burial.
County News Line paid homage to Melcher on the 19th anniversary of his passing, remembering him as an iconic record producer, vocalist, and songwriter who left an indelible mark on the music industry. His work with the Beach Boys and the Byrds, among other artists, helped shape the sound of the era, and his legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians.
In conclusion, Terry Melcher’s death was a significant loss to the music industry. He will always be remembered for his contributions to the ’60s-era California sound and his work with the Beach Boys and the Byrds. His legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians, and his memory will always be cherished by his friends, family, and fans.