Graham Reid | | 2 min read
In '69 the producer, songwriter, film producer, club owner and impresario Lou Adler - because he could -- took a bunch of soulful musicians into the studio to record a bunch of Bob Dylan's songs in a gospel style.
That long forgotten item was given a recent reissue, and so Lou Adler's name went back into the wider world as reminder of what he once used to do.
These days he's just as likely to be seen sitting courtside at a Laker's game with his longtime friend Jack Nicholson or -- now in his early 80s -- accepting some longevity award from his peers (he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013).
The span of Adler's production career stretched from an association with the young Herb Alpert in the Fifties and Sixties, founding his own Dunhll Records, producing Sam Cooke's Wonderful World, a bunch of songs for the surf group Jan and Dean, the Everly Brothers, Barry McGuire's gutsy and apocalyptic Eve of Destruction and, by no mans least, the Mama's and the papa's.
With Papa John Phillips, Adler was a prime mover behind the Monetrey International Pop Festival in June '67 (Hendrix, Ravi Shankar, Simon and Garfunkel, the Byrds, the Who, Jefferson Airplane and others) and in '73 bought and refurbished the old Roxy theatre in LA and opened it with a week-long run by Neil Young.
Along the way he spotted the potential of Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show which he saw in London and became executive producer of the film version. He also directed Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke . . .
Oh, and produced the key albums in Carole King's solo career, including the record-breaking Tapestry album.
This was also the same man who did a smart knock-off cover of the Hollywood Argyll's novelty hit Alley Oop (for Dante and the Evergreens) as well as producing Scott McKenzie's hippie anthem San Francisco (Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair written by Papa John Phillips) as well as the first three Spirit albums . . .
And so much more.
Often he seemed to be the man who kept his head while all the others were out of theirs.
That much musical diversity inevitably makes for a slightly distracted 25 song collection Lou Adler; A Musical History (Ace through Border) but it does remind you what a remarkable career Adler enjoyed.
In addition to those act mentioned above whom he produced (and who are represnted on the compilation) there are also songs by the Blossoms (Stoney End and Wonderful), Peggy Lipton singing Donovan's Wear Your LOve Like Heaven, Merry Clayton (the classic Oh No, Not My Baby and her version of the Stones' Gimme Shelter which she originally sang on) and yes, right at the end Cheech and Chong with Earache to my Eye and Tim Curry and Rocky Horror cast on Sweet Transvestite.
Quite a remarkable life Lou Adler has had. He was courtside for so much American music from the Fifties onwards he has well earned that courtside seat with Jack.