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|Birth name||Kim Vincent Fowley|
|Born||July 21, 1939|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||January 15, 2015 75) (aged|
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Genres||Pop, rock, glam rock, protopunk, alternative rock|
|Occupation(s)||Record producer, impresario, songwriter|
Kim Vincent Fowley (July 21, 1939 – January 15, 2015) was an American record producer, singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known for his role behind a string of novelty and cult pop rock singles in the 1960s, and for managing the Runaways in the 1970s. He has been described as "one of the most colorful characters in the annals of rock & roll", as well as "a shadowy cult figure well outside the margins of the mainstream".
Born in Los Angeles, California, United States,Fowley was the son of character actor Douglas Fowley and actress Shelby Payne. His parents later divorced and Payne married William Friml, son of composer Rudolf Friml. Fowley attended University High School at the same time as singers Jan Berry and Dean Torrence (later of Jan and Dean fame), Bruce Johnston (later of the Beach Boys), and Nancy Sinatra, as well as actors Ryan O'Neal, James Brolin, and Sandra Dee.
In 1957, he was hospitalized with polio and, on his release, became manager and publicist for local band the Sleepwalkers that included Johnston, drummer Sandy Nelson and, occasionally, Phil Spector.He spent some time in the armed forces and, by his own account, worked in the sex industry in Los Angeles in the late 1950s. In 1959 he began working in the music industry in various capacities for both Alan Freed and Berry Gordy. His first record as producer was "Charge" by the Renegades, a group comprising Johnston, Nelson, Nik Venet and Richard Podolor. He promoted records for the duo Skip & Flip (Skip Battin and Gary S. Paxton) including the #11 hit "Cherry Pie".
During the early 1960s, Fowley was involved as co-producer/co-publisher with a string of successful records produced in Los Angeles. With Gary S. Paxton he recorded the novelty song "Alley Oop", which reached # 1 on the charts in 1960 and was credited to the non-existent group the Hollywood Argyles. In 1961 he co-produced the instrumental "Like, Long Hair", arranged by Paxton, which became a #38 hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders. He arranged "Nut Rocker" for B. Bumble and the Stingers, which became a # 1 hit in the UK in 1962 and talent scouted "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow", a #48 hit for the Rivingtons. The following year he produced "Popsicles and Icicles" by The Murmaids, which reached #3 in the charts in 1963 and which was written by a pre-Bread David Gates, then a session musician and songwriter who had met Fowley while Kim was hitchhiking in Los Angeles.
During the mid-1960s, Fowley publicized/consulted singer P.J. Proby and relocated for a time to London, England.Fowley wrote the lyrics for the song "Portobello Road", the B-side of Cat Stevens' first single, "I Love My Dog". He produced a Them spin-off band led by two ex-Them members, brothers Pat and Jackie McAuley (who were only allowed to use the band name Other Them in the UK, but called themselves Them on the European continent, releasing an album called Them Belfast Gypsies and a single "Let's Freak Out" under the name Freaks of Nature); an early incarnation of Slade known as the N'Betweens; Soft Machine (he produced "Love Makes Sweet Music", their first single); and the Lancasters, an instrumental rock group featuring a young Ritchie Blackmore. He worked with an up-and-coming band, the Farinas, and renamed them "Family".
In London around 1967 Fowley collaborated with The Seekers guitarist/arranger Keith Potger. Together (with Potger writing under the nom de plume John Martin) they wrote the lyrics to "Emerald City". Potger has said the song was originally quite unlike the eventual Seekers single, and that he heavily "Seeker-ized" the arrangement before presenting it to the group. The tune was based on the "Ode To Joy" theme from Beethoven's ninth ("Choral") symphony.
Fowley worked on occasion as a recording artist in the 1960s, issuing albums such as Love Is Alive and Well.In 1965, he wrote and produced a song about the psychedelic experience, "The Trip". In 1966 Fowley and Gail Sloatman (later Gail Zappa) recorded a spoken word single as "Bunny and Bear". The record is a satire of Sonny and Cher.
He was credited for "hypophone" on the Mothers of Invention's first album Freak Out! When asked about this band leader Frank Zappa later said "The hypophone is his mouth, 'cause all that ever comes out of it is hype."Other singles by Fowley as a recording artist included "Animal Man", during the song he remarks "Its too dirty, it'll be banned" from his popular 1968 album Outrageous . All his efforts as a solo artist since 1970 have become cult items, both in reissue and bootleg formats.
In 1968, Fowley joined forces with a young band from Topanga Canyon California, St John Green, to produce their only album containing songs, musical soundtracks, comedy and dark poetry. The band members were: Ed Bissot (bass), Bill Kirkland (guitars), Vic Sabino (vocals, harmonica and percussion), Michael 'Papabax' Baxter (keyboards, arranger), and Shelly Scott (drums). The album was engineered by Michael Lloyd. Fowley later claimed it to be "one of the great lost records...Somebody will reissue it someday and people will start crying and jacking off and smoking dope to it. It's a great record. There's only a handful of records that I’ve made that are great."The album was released by MGM on the Flick Disc label, but the group disbanded soon afterwards.
He is credited with being the inspiration behind promoter John Brower's call to John Lennon that resulted in the last-minute appearance of the Plastic Ono Band at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival on September 13, 1969, where Fowley was the MC. At this event, Fowley invited the audience to light matches and lighters to welcome a nervous John Lennon to the stage.
In 1969, Fowley produced the album I'm Back and I'm Proud for Gene Vincent.He co-wrote for Warren Zevon's first solo album, Wanted Dead or Alive . Fowley collaborated with his friend Skip Battin during Battin's membership as bassist with the Byrds on a number of songs which appeared on their early 1970's albums: "The Hungry Planet", "You All Look Alike", "Tunnel of Love", "Citizen Kane", "Absolute Happiness", "Precious Kate", and "America's Great National Pastime". The latter song was released as a single in late 1971. When Battin moved on to the New Riders of the Purple Sage in 1974, Fowley and Battin co-wrote five songs for the New Riders: "On the Amazon", "Big Wheels", "Singing Cowboy", "Neon Rose" and "Strangers on a Train".
In 1973, Fowley produced three recordings by Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids for the film American Graffiti (1973). These songs were "At the Hop", "Louie Louie" and "She's So Fine". He co-wrote songs for KISS, Helen Reddy, Alice Cooper, Leon Russell and Kris Kristofferson. He made recordings with Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, which were eventually released in 1981 as The Original Modern Lovers . Fowley's tracks were not included on the original versions of the album The Modern Lovers but some were included on later CD reissues.
In 1974, Fowley placed an advertisement in local fanzine Who Put the Bomp looking for female performers. He hoped to form an all-female group that he could produce and would perform his songs, but no one responded to the advert. In 1975, he met the teenage guitarist Joan Jett who expressed interest in forming an all-female band. Less than two weeks later, he met 15-year-old drummer Sandy West who introduced herself outside of the Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood, California. West told Fowley of her aspirations to form an all-female band after playing in all-male groups. This meeting led to Fowley giving West Jett's phone number. The two met and began playing together at West's home the following week. A short time later Fowley recruited Lita Ford, Cherie Currie, and Jackie Fox. They eventually became the Runaways.While he did produce some of their albums and contributed lyrics to songs, the band was primarily responsible for creating their own music. The group severed their ties with Fowley in 1977.
Fowley co-wrote two Kiss songs "King of the Night Time World" and "Do You Love Me?" with Paul Stanley and producer Bob Ezrin. Both appeared on Kiss' 1976 album Destroyer .
In 1978, Fowley formed the Orchids, another all-female rock band, with Laurie McAllister, the last bassist from The Runaways, and Sandy Fury,a 13-year-old rock prodigy on rhythm guitar and vocals.
In 1979, Fowley signed new artists, such as Tommy Rock, the Popsicles, and the Orchids. Fowley promoted "Kim Fowley Night" featuring these bands at the Whisky a Go Go. Fowley brought Stiv Bators & the Dead Boys, the Popsicles, and the Orchids into Leon Russell's Cherokee Recording Studio in Hollywood to record "LA, LA (I'm on a Hollywood High)".
In the 1980s Fowley moved to Australia where he announced that he was "looking for the new Beatles or ABBA". His search turned up power pop band Beathoven who were still under a recording contract with EMI. Changing their name to the Innocents, he secured a new record deal with Trafalgar Records and produced several songs for the group. They too became a cult band in later bootlegs/reissues. Fowley produced the first demos for the iconic power pop band, Candy, which featured Gilby Clarke and Kyle Vincent. Vincent was Fowley's personal assistant. Producer Fowley and attorney David Chatfield recorded the first album for Steel Breeze at Rusk studios in Hollywood and got Steel Breeze their recording contract with RCA. Casey Kasem, on the edition of March 12, 1983 of American Top 40, describes how Fowley discovered Steel Breeze while going through approximately 1200 demo tapes that were about to be discarded by a local Hollywood nightclub, Madame Wong's. "You Don't Want Me Anymore" was the first single from the band's self-titled album and quickly jumped into the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 supported by a video that was a favorite of early MTV, and peaked at # 16. The next single, "Dreamin' Is Easy", also made it into the Top 40.
In 1984, still owning rights to the name "the Runaways", Fowley rebuilt the image around Gayle Welch, an unknown teenager from New Zealand. Adding Denise Prior, Missy Bonilla (then a typist for Denny Diante at what was CBS Records) and Cathy DiAmber (Catherine Dombrowski) with David Carr on keyboards, a Chicago guitarist Bill Millay and numerous session musicians. Fowley, assisted by New Zealander Glenn Holland, sought to cash in on the fame of the former Runaways members who had gone on to significant success in their individual solo careers. In 1985, he returned to the United States and recorded further songs with the Innocents' David Minchin.
In 1986, Fowley spotted the band Shanghai (consisting of Eric Leach and Taz Rudd of Symbol Six, Brent Muscat of Faster Pussycat, Patrick Muzingo, and Todd Muscat of Decry) at the Troubadour. After seeing their performance he asked, "Are you ready to make a record?!" They immediately moved in with Fowley and began writing and recording songs. David Libert, Alice Cooper's ex-road manager and agent for George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, was recruited to come in to handle the day-to-day babysitting chores. Shanghai played the reopening of the Whisky a Go Go in April 1986 with Guns N' Roses and Faster Pussycat.Their last show was at the Scream in Los Angeles in 1987.
Fowley is featured in Mayor of the Sunset Strip , a 2003 documentary about the disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer.
Also in 2003, Fowley made a return trip to London, England, where he made an in-store appearance at Intoxica Records on Portobello Road and curated and performed an evening of music and entertainment at the Dirty Water Club at its then base at the Boston Music Room in North London.
Fowley became an experimental filmmaker after the DVD release of Mayor of the Sunset Strip. His written and directed works include: Black Room Doom, Dollboy: The Movie, Satan of Silverlake, The Golden Road to Nowhere, Frankenstein Goes Surfing, Trailer Park's On Fire and Jukebox California. Video clips/scenes from these movies can be seen on YouTube and Myspace, and feature a cast of regulars including but not limited to musical oddities such as the Fabulous Miss Wendy, Giddle Partridge, Richard Rogers (Crazy White Man) and Clown Porn Queen Hollie Stevens.
Fowley released the 21-track solo album Adventures in Dreamland on WEED/Innerstate Records in 2004. It contained the songs "Mayor of the Sunset Strip," "Terrors in Tinseltown," and "Ballad of Phil Spector."
In 2008, Fowley was reunited with Cherie Currie at Harry Houdini's mansion in Los Angeles.He played three dozen gigs between June 2007 and February 2009 as the act Crazy White Man, a duo featuring him on vocals and Richard Rogers on guitar. The bulk of the Crazy White Man shows took place during 2008 and included the Tribute to Gidget Gein, which raised funds for Gidget's Hollywood Forever memorial.
Capitol re-released several of his titles, and director Guy Ritchie used his song "The Trip" in the 2008 film RocknRolla . Fowley was regularly heard on Sirius Satellite Radio with a four-hour show on Saturdays and Sundays.
Currie wrote a memoir of her time in the Runaways, which was turned into the film, The Runaways , released on March 19, 2010. The film featured Michael Shannon as Fowley, alongside Kristen Stewart as Jett and Dakota Fanning as Currie.
In 2012, Fowley won the Special Jury Prize at the 13th Melbourne Underground Film Festival for his two feature projects – Golden Road to Nowhere and Black Room Doom.
In his last years, Fowley worked on writing and publishing his autobiography, which he divided between three distinct books. He released the first volume of his autobiography, Lord of Garbage, published by Kicks Books, in 2012. It covers the years 1939–1969 and describes his early childhood and beginning years in the music business. The second volume of his autobiography was intended to be called Planet Pain and to cover the years 1970–1994. The last volume of his autobiography was intended to be finished on his deathbed and to be released posthumously, for as the 2010s began, Fowley was disease-stricken.On September 24, 2014, Fowley married longtime girlfriend and music executive Kara Wright-Fowley, in a private ceremony in Los Angeles.
Fowley died of bladder cancer in Hollywood, California on January 15, 2015, at the age of 75.He is interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
In a 2001 interview, Michael Steele of The Bangles claimed Fowley fired her from The Runaways for refusing his sexual advances.
In 2015, Jackie Fuchs (formerly Jackie Fox of The Runaways) claimed that Fowley had raped her in 1975 during a New Year's Eve party while he was involved with the band.Fox also alleged that Jett and Currie witnessed the rape. Jett denied seeing the incident, but songwriter Kari Krome and other bystanders corroborated it. Other named accusers, some of whom were minors at the time, have alleged Fowley raped or sexually assaulted them.
Lita Rossana Ford is an English-born American guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. She was the lead guitarist for the all-female rock band the Runaways in the late 1970s before embarking on a successful glam metal solo career, that hit its peak in the late 1980s. The 1989 single "Close My Eyes Forever", a duet with Ozzy Osbourne, remains Ford's most successful song, reaching No. 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
The Runaways were an all-female American rock band that recorded and performed from 1977 to 1979. The band released four studio albums and one live album during its run. Among their best-known songs are "Cherry Bomb", "Hollywood", "Queens of Noise" and a cover version of the Velvet Underground's "Rock & Roll". Never a major success in the United States, the Runaways became a sensation overseas, especially in Japan, thanks to the single "Cherry Bomb".
Joan Jett is an American rock singer, songwriter, composer, musician, record producer, and actress. Jett is best known for her work as the frontwoman of her band Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and for earlier founding and performing with the Runaways, which recorded and released the hit song "Cherry Bomb". With The Blackhearts, Jett is known for her rendition of the song "I Love Rock 'n Roll" which was number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks in 1982. Jett's other notable songs include "Bad Reputation", "Crimson and Clover", "Do You Wanna Touch Me ", "Light of Day", "I Hate Myself for Loving You" and "Dirty Deeds".
Cherie Ann Currie is an American musician, actress and artist. Currie was the lead vocalist of the Runaways, a rock band from Los Angeles, in the mid-to-late 1970s. After the Runaways, she became a solo artist. Then she teamed up with her identical twin sister, Marie Currie, and released an album with her. Their duet "Since You've Been Gone" reached number 95 on US charts. Their band was called Cherie and Marie Currie. She is also well known for her role in the movie Foxes.
(Untitled) is the ninth album by the American rock band the Byrds and was released in September 1970 on Columbia Records. It is a double album, with the first LP featuring live concert recordings from early 1970, and a second disc consisting of new studio recordings. The album represented the first official release of any live recordings by the band, as well as the first appearance on a Byrds' record of new recruit Skip Battin, who had replaced the band's previous bass player, John York, in late 1969.
Farther Along is the eleventh album by the American rock band the Byrds and was released in November 1971 on Columbia Records. For the most part, the album was recorded and produced by the Byrds themselves in London, England, over the course of five work-intensive days in July 1971. It was quickly released as a reaction to the commercial failure of the Byrds' previous album, Byrdmaniax, and as an attempt to stem the criticism that album was receiving in the music press.
Queens of Noise is the second studio album by the American rock band The Runaways. Released in January 1977 on Mercury Records, it is fundamentally a hard rock album, although it also exhibits influences from punk rock, heavy metal, glam rock, and blues rock. While the album features a range of different tempos, most of it consists of the "heavy" guitar-driven tracks that have come to be seen as The Runaways' signature sound, although it also features two noticeably softer songs that have sometimes been described as early power ballads. While stylistically similar to the band's self-titled debut album The Runaways, Queens of Noise features greater emphases on volume and musical sophistication. The album has received generally positive reviews and has remained the band's best-selling record in the United States.
The Runaways is the debut studio album by American rock band the Runaways. It was released on June 1, 1976, by Mercury Records.
Sandy West was an American musician, singer, songwriter and drummer. She was one of the founding members of the Runaways, the first teenage all-girl hard rock band to record and achieve widespread commercial success in the 1970s.
Clyde "Skip" Battin was an American singer-songwriter, bassist, performer, and recording artist. He was a member of the Byrds, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, and the Flying Burrito Brothers.
Jacqueline Louise Fuchs is an American attorney and former musician. Under her stage name Jackie Fox, she played bass guitar for the pioneering all-girl teenage rock band the Runaways. She is the sister of screenwriter Carol Fuchs and sister-in-law of Castle Rock Entertainment co-founder Martin Shafer.
Adelaide Gail Zappa was the wife of musician and composer Frank Zappa and the trustee of the Zappa Family Trust. They met in Los Angeles in 1966 and married while she was pregnant with their first child, Moon, followed by Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva. Gail was also the aunt of model and actress Lala Sloatman.
Live in Japan is a 1977 live album from American rock band The Runaways. The album was originally released only in Japan, and some other regions including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. It was the last Runaways album Cherie Currie and Jackie Fox appeared on and not intended for release in the United States or the United Kingdom.
Flaming Schoolgirls is the rock band The Runaways' fifth and final album, released in 1980, a year after the band had broken up. A compilation of previously unreleased recordings, the album consists of one alternate version and three unreleased tracks from the sessions for the 1977 album Queens of Noise, five live tracks left over from the 1977 album Live in Japan, and two Cherie Currie demo recordings. The album was not released in the U.S.
The Runaways is a 2010 American biographical drama film about the 1970s rock band of the same name written and directed by Floria Sigismondi. It is based on the book Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway by the band's lead vocalist Cherie Currie. The film stars Dakota Fanning as Currie, Kristen Stewart as rhythm guitarist and vocalist Joan Jett, and Michael Shannon as record producer Kim Fowley. The Runaways depicts the formation of the band in 1975 and focuses on the relationship between Currie and Jett until Currie's departure from the band. The film grossed around $4.6 million worldwide and received generally favorable reviews from critics.
"Cherry Bomb" is the debut single by the all-female band the Runaways from their self-titled debut album. It is often regarded as the band's signature song. "Cherry Bomb" was also ranked 52nd on VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs. It peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.
Marie Michelle Currie is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and artist. Currie is best known for playing in a band with her identical twin Cherie Currie called Cherie & Marie Currie. Their song "Since You Been Gone" charted at number 95 on the US charts. Marie played Singing Maid Marie in The Rosebud Beach Hotel and is now a popular multi-media sculptor and artist.
Young and Wild is a compilation by Cherie & Marie Currie. This album has all 10 original tracks from Messin' with the Boys, six songs from Beauty's Only Skin Deep, three songs Cherie Currie sang with The Runaways, and one new track co-written by Marie Currie, "Longer Than Forever". "Longer Than Forever" was the B side of the single "Since You Been Gone".
Michael Jeffrey Lloyd is an American record producer, arranger, songwriter and musician. After working with Mike Curb, Kim Fowley and others in the mid-to-late 1960s on musical projects including the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and Steven Spielberg's first short film, Amblin', he became a producer of such teen idol pop stars as the Osmonds, Shaun Cassidy and Leif Garrett in the 1970s.
Reverie is the third full-length studio album by Cherie Currie. Released on iTunes March 16, 2015. Cherie released the CD version of this album June 5, 2015 on her eBay page cheriecurriedirect, 35 years after her previous full-length studio album, 1980's Messin' with the Boys.
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