Original air date April 12, 2014 | Time 56:00
Van Dyke Parks, American composer, producer, actor, pianist, singer-songwriter
His career is fascinating and not very well known. He has produced Phil Ochs, Judy Collins, Harry Nilsson, Ry Cooder, Arlo Guthrie, Bonnie Raitt, Randy Newman, Tim Buckley and Beach Boys. He was asked to join Crosby, Stills and Nash and declined. He was briefly a member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. He was a child actor on Jackie Gleasons' "Honeymooners" and also years later was a character in David's Lynch's "Twin Peaks".
He is best known as an imaginative lyricist and a sophisticated composer in the Americana genre. We hear songs from his most recent 2013 album "Song Cycled" including "Dreaming of Paris", "Wall Street" and "The Parting Hand" and a track from his first album in 1968 "Song Cycle" called "Widow's Walk". We also hear three songs from his collaboration with Brian Wilson on the 1967 album SMILE "Hero's and Villians" "Wonderful" and "Surf's Up". He was one of the first people to have a MOOG synthesizer and we hear an excerpt from his work with Biff Rose from 1969 "Ain't No Great Day Coming".