Gabriel Mekler (2 December 1942 – 4 September 1977)was an American songwriter, musician, and record producer who attained fame in the 1960s, helming albums for Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, and Janis Joplin. He also collaborated with R&B singer Etta James for two critically acclaimed albums in the early 1970s, mixing blues, soul, land then topped it off with Genya Ravan production jazz and rock.
Born in Palestine (pre-1948 Israel) Mekler was a classically trained pianist. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, California, Mekler sought out Dunhill Records and was hired as a staff producer, despite his lack of production experience or familiarity with rock and roll and pop music. His first project at Dunhill was with folk-pop band The Lamp of Childhood, where he oversaw studio sessions, contributed songs and played piano. The group's three singles flopped but Mekler's next project, Steppenwolf, made music history.It was Mekler who suggested the name "Steppenwolf" to the band's members, having just read the Hermann Hesse novel. As the producer on Steppenwolf , the 1968 debut by that group, Mekler helped craft the sonic onslaught that would unleash the term "heavy metal" upon the world, a line from the brother of drummer, Jerry Edmonton (real name McCrohan), in the song, "Born to Be Wild".
The mysterious Mars Bonfire was Dennis Edmonton (McCrohan), lead guitarist for Jack London & The Sparrows. The Oshawa, Ontario group was the beginnings of Steppenwolf and producer Mekler's contributions on psychedelic tracks such as "Born to Be Wild" and "Magic Carpet Ride". A year after the Steppenwolf recordings, Mekler launched hits from Three Dog Night such as "One", "Try a Little Tenderness", "Eli's Coming", "Easy to Be Hard", and "Celebrate". Other studio credits include keyboard work with Cher, Donovan and David Clayton-Thomas as well as producing songs for Dinah Washington.
He married Dorothy J. Scully on 2 August 1967 in Los Angeles, CA, and they divorced in November, 1974 in Los Angeles, CA. Mekler was Jewish.
In 1971, Mekler founded his own labels, Vulture and Lizard Records, based on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Artists signed to Lizard/Vulture included Nolan Porter, Clydie King, Jamul, Paul Humphrey & the Cool Aid Chemists and The Frantics. Despite national chart success both Vulture and Lizard Records collapsed in mid 1972.Mekler remained in demand for his production talent until his death from a motorcycle accident, in September 1977.
Mekler also produced Genya Ravan's Goldie Zelkowitz album, the title utilizing her stage name from Goldie and the Gingerbreads, and her father's last name, who died during this recording.
Steppenwolf was a Canadian-American rock band, prominent from 1968 to 1972. The group was formed in late 1967 in Los Angeles by lead singer John Kay, keyboardist Goldy McJohn, and drummer Jerry Edmonton, all formerly of the Canadian band The Sparrows. Guitarist Michael Monarch and bass guitarist Rushton Moreve were recruited via notices placed in Los Angeles-area record and musical instrument stores.
Dunhill Records was started in 1964 by Lou Adler, Al Bennett, Pierre Cossette and Bobby Roberts as Dunhill Productions to release the music of Johnny Rivers on Imperial Records. It became a record label the following year and was distributed by ABC Records.
Three Dog Night is the self-titled debut album by American rock band Three Dog Night. The album was originally released by Dunhill Records on October 16, 1968. The album is known for featuring the band's Top 5 hit single, their cover of Harry Nilsson's song "One".
Suitable for Framing is the second studio album by American rock band Three Dog Night. The album was released on the Dunhill record label on June 11, 1969 and was the first of two albums released by the band that year.
Captured Live at the Forum is the third album by American rock band Three Dog Night, released in 1969.
Genya Ravan, a.k.a. Goldie is an American rock singer and producer. She was lead singer of The Escorts, Goldie and the Gingerbreads, and Ten Wheel Drive.
Dennis Edmonton, also known by the stage name Mars Bonfire, is a Canadian rock musician and songwriter, best known for writing the hit song "Born to Be Wild" for Steppenwolf.
Gerald Michael Edmonton was the drummer for the rock band Steppenwolf.
Nick St. Nicholas is a bandleader, bass guitarist, singer and songwriter. best known for his partnership in Steppenwolf.
Steppenwolf is the debut album by Canadian-American rock band Steppenwolf, released in January 1968 on ABC Dunhill Records.
The Second is the second studio album by Canadian-American rock band Steppenwolf, released in October 1968 on ABC Dunhill Records. The album contains one of Steppenwolf's most famous songs, "Magic Carpet Ride". The background of the original ABC LP cover was a shiny "foil", in contrast to later LP issues and the modern CD sleeve.
At Your Birthday Party is the third studio album by Canadian-American rock band Steppenwolf. The album was released in March 1969, by ABC Dunhill Records.
Early Steppenwolf is a collection of live recordings by Steppenwolf when they were still known as "The Sparrow" [nee: "The Sparrows"]. It was released in July 1969 on the ABC Dunhill Records label.
Monster is the fourth studio album by Canadian-American rock band Steppenwolf. The album was released in November 1969, by ABC Dunhill Records. It was their first LP with new lead guitarist Larry Byrom instead of Michael Monarch. The album was Steppenwolf's most political album, making references to important issues at the time, such as the Vietnam War.
Steppenwolf Live is primarily a collection of recordings from a single concert early in 1970 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium by Steppenwolf staged in support of their 1969 album Monster. Released in April 1970 by Dunhill Records, it contains Steppenwolf's well-known hits: "Born to Be Wild", "Magic Carpet Ride" and "The Pusher", as well as most of the songs from Monster, including the top 40 hit live version of "Monster".
Richard Allen "Richie" Podolor is an American musician, record producer and songwriter. His career started as a session musician in the 1950s, and he is best known as the producer of Three Dog Night.
James William Price is an American session musician. Price was one of the most in-demand horn session players of the 1970s. He toured extensively with The Rolling Stones from 1970 until 1973, including their 1972 American Tour, and appears on the albums Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main St. and Goats Head Soup. From September 1968 to February 1969, Price played with New Buffalo Springfield. He also toured and recorded with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen and Eric Clapton.
The Sparrows was a Canadian blues rock band that existed in the 1960s. Notable for being the first group to break out musician John Kay into the mainstream, The Sparrows later morphed into the popular heavy rock group Steppenwolf.
George Michael Biondo was the bass guitarist of the Canadian rock band, Steppenwolf, from April 1970 to October 1976. Though born in New York, he has been based in Southern California throughout his ongoing career as a session musician and songwriter.
The Lamp of Childhood was a short-lived American folk rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1966. The band released three singles which failed to chart and disbanded in 1967, but had several notable members.