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Posts Tagged ‘Don Kirshner’

Died On This Date (January 17, 2011) Don Kirshner / Influential Producer, Publisher & Television Host

Posted by themusicsover on January 17, 2011

Don Kirshner
April 17, 1934 -January 17, 2011

Don Kirshner was a music publisher, producer, songwriter-manager, and television host who rightfully earned the nickname, The Man With The Golden Ear.  His music career began during the ’50s when he and his partner, Al Nevins, launched Aldon Music, a publishing company that included such future superstar talent as Neil Diamond, Bobby Darin, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, and Neil Sedaka.   Kirshner also owned three successful record labels during the early part of his career.  In the early ’60s, the creators of a new NBC television program enlisted Kirshner to provide songs for that show.  The influential sit-com followed the fictional adventures of an up-and-coming band as it bounced from one loony situation to another while performing catchy pop songs along the way.  The show was called The Monkees, and Kirshner brought songs like “I’m A Believer,” “Last Train To Clarksville,” and several others that would become hits that help define the era.  He later helped create an animated version of that same concept with The Archies. Then in 1973, Kirshner became a television star in his own right with the launch of Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.  The late night show offered full live performances of songs by current rock stars, making it unique in a time where lip syncing on television was the norm.  For many rock music fans in a pre-MTV, pre-youtube era, it was THE only way to enjoy your favorite bands live.  Along with being executive producer, Kirshner introduced each act in a monotone manner that was later popularly parodied by Paul Shaffer on Saturday Night Live. The show’s premiere episode included the Rolling Stones and and the series continued at that pace hosting the likes of Alice Cooper, the Allman Brothers Band, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Rush, the Eagles, the Ramones, KISS, and Kansas.  It quickly became serious competition for other late night programs like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.  The show ran until 1981.  Don Kirshner was 76 when he died of heart failure on January 17, 2011.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums for the help

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Died On This Date (April 10, 2003) Little Eva / Had Hit With “The Loco-Motion”

Posted by themusicsover on April 10, 2010

“Little Eva” Boyd
June 29, 1943 – April 10, 2003

Little Eva got her big break by accident when she began working as a maid and babysitter to earn money as a teenager. As luck would have it, one of her first jobs was babysitting for songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin. Taken by Boyd’s upbeat personality and lively dance moves, they wrote a song called “The Loco-Motion,” which they had her record the demo to send over to its originally intended singer, Dee Dee Sharp. The demo landed on the desk of music impresario Don Kirshner, who liked it just as it was and released it. It shot immediately to the top of the charts in 1962. Boyd was also the inspiration for another Goffin-King penned hit, “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss).” The song came about after Boyd revealed to them that her boyfriend regularly beat her. When asked why she put up with it, she claimed that him hitting her proved that he really loved her. Boyd’s career fizzled out at around the same time the British Invasion kicked in. She would make a few comebacks over the years, but mostly performing on the Oldies circuit. She passed away in 2003 at the age of 59 from cervical cancer.

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