Born Terrence Jorden (February 8, 1942) Died Terry Melcher (November 19, 2004) (A.K.A.: Terry Day/ Bruce & Terry/ The Rip Chords)
Terry was born in New York City on February 8, 1942, when Doris was 17 and married to her first husband, Al Jorden, a trombone player who had a reputation as a jealous and abusive husband. She left Jorden after Terry's birth, and married George Weidler, a member of the Blue Devils. The young family moved to California, where Day's career took off. Her marriage to Weidler, however, fell apart, and Day married her manager, Marty Melcher, in 1951. Melcher adopted Terry, who took his surname.
A key player on the L.A. music scene in the 60's and early 70's, his career started with a few single records that got some airplay, but did little in sales. Those original singles sported the name Terry Day. The first two were: "That's All I Want" backed with "I Waited Too Long" in 1962. These were followed in 1963 with two more singles, "Be A Soldier" and "I Love You Betty" (a minor hit).
In the early 1960s, Terry and Bruce Johnston formed the vocal duo Bruce & Terry. They had hits like "Custom Machine" and "Summer Means Fun".
Melcher and Johnston also created another group, The Rip Chords, which had a Top 10 hit, "Hey, Little Cobra". Later, Johnston would join The Beach Boys, but he and Terry remained life long friends. Johnston and his wife are still friends with Doris today. Below, that first Top Ten Hit:
Melcher's success as a producer and performer of hot rod and surf hits led him to tour with genre stalwarts Jan and Dean, and with the Beach Boys in 1964. He decided he did not like onstage performing and left Columbia Records briefly in 1964 to produce Capitol recording artist Bobby Darin. He returned to Columbia in 1965, where he took over the major production chores from Johnston for Paul Revere and the Raiders. He also wrote and produced the band's hit single, "Him or Me (What's It Gonna Be?)."
As Paul Revere and the Raiders toured incessantly, Melcher habitually cut tracks with studio musicians, flying in singer Mark Lindsay to record the vocal tracks. He employed the same strategy when he recorded the first singles for the Byrds in 1965. In fact, guitarist and singer Roger McGuinn is the only de facto member of the Byrds actually to appear on the hit, "Mr. Tambourine Man." Melcher produced many of the Byrds' early albums, which included the classic singles "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "The Bells of Rhymney". He was also largely responsible for Gene Clark's ,"I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better". Terry produced recordings by Frankie Laine, Wayne Newton, the Mamas and the Papas, Glen Campbell, and Pat Boone. He helped organize the legendary Rising Sons, a group that included session guitarist Ry Cooder and ethno-musicologist Taj Mahal, but the band failed to gel. In addition, Melcher assisted with many Beach Boys' recordings of the era, including lending vocal and keyboard assistance to their classic Pet Sounds.
Terry was on the L.A. scene throught the 60's, passing into infamy when his former house on Cielo Drive became the site for the grizzly Manson Family murders. Melcher had known Manson, and it was rumored that the producer's lack of interest in Manson's songwriting career was why the house on Cielo Drive was targeted.
In the mid-1970s Melcher released two solo albums, Terry Melcher (1974) and Royal Flush (1976). While neither grabbed the attention of critics or fans, both albums featured guest appearances by such noteworthy talents as Ry Cooder, members of the Byrds, and Mom Doris. He continued to serve as producer and agent for his mother for the next two decades, and collaborated on the hit single "Kokomo" from the Tom Cruise film Cocktail, which became the biggest selling hit in the Beach Boys entire calalog. His fellow collaborators included Beach Boy Mike Love, John Phillips, and Scott Mackenzie, and the latter scored a major 1967 hit with Phillips's song "If You're Going to San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)." It was a return to the hit charts after a long hiatus, and a fitting conclusion to more than three decades of shaping pop music. Melcher also produced the band's 1992 studio record, Summer in Paradise, which was the first record produced digitally on Pro Tools. And now, that brilliant collaboration on the top Beach Boys hit, "KOKOMO":
In the 1974 album "Terry Melcher", he convinced Mom Doris to do back up on a song called "THESE DAYS":
For the DORIS DAY'S BEST FRIENDS cable series in 1985-86, Terry co-wrote the theme song for the show with his friend, Bill House. It sounded like this:
Terry, Through the years.............
After a long battle with cancer, Terry passed away November 19, 2004. In his last few years, he did a remarkable job of getting his mother involved in all kinds of activities. He was also instrumental in convincing her to do not only her 5 year TV series, but the two specials as well. He encouraged her to do the cable series in 1985-'86 which allowed her to sing some songs she had never recorded. These songs became the nucleus for her top ten 2012 cd, "My Heart", a record setter for Doris at 88 years of age. On that cd, Doris dedicated this song to her son:
The Album ended with a song Terry had written for his mother, but she convinced him to sing it instead. It is called "Happy Endings", a fitting tribute to close this dedicated page.
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