Producers Notes: Kim Fowley
Today would’ve been Kim Fowley’s 77th birthday, which is why we honor him with a Producers Notes piece, but Fowley was about so much more than mere production that it’s hard to comfortably confine him – or this piece – into just one category of musical accomplishment.
He was born in Los Angeles and died in Hollywood, but Fowley’s legacy was felt around the world, and it was in no way limited to just one genre, as you can tell from this quick list of some of the songs he was a part of:
- He and Gary S. Paxton were responsible for recording the Hollywood Argyles’ “Alley Oop,” which managed to hit #1 despite the fact that there was no such group.
- He wrote the instrumental “Nut Rocker,” which became a hit for B. Bumble and the Stingers (still one of the greatest band names in rock history) and has been recording by countless other artists over the years, including – of all people – the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. - He produced “Popsicles and Icicles” for the Murmaids, a song written by future Bread frontman David Gates, whose first encounter with Fowley came when Fowley was hitchhiking in Los Angeles.
- He wrote and produced the iconic psychedelic track “The Trip.”
- He played on Frank Zappa’s Freak Out!
- He was originally set to producer Warren Zevon’s debut album, Wanted Dead or Alive, until the two had a difference of opinion and went their separate ways.
- He sang with Gram Parsons.
- He wrote songs for everyone from Alice Cooper and Kiss to Helen Reddy.
- He produced a few tracks on The Modern Lovers’ debut album.
- He introduced the world to the Runaways, producing the band and co-writing their classic track “Cherry Bomb.”
- He helped provide the world with the ‘80s classic “You Don’t Want Me Anymore,” by Steel Breeze, which he produced.
So, yeah, what we’re saying is that Kim Fowley is awesome. To prove it, we’ve put together a playlist that only touches on a small percentage of his career, but it still shows how diverse his tastes in music were, how much of an impact he had on the music industry, and why he’s still missed very much.