Andy Cahan IS probably one of the most famous musicians you never heard of. As musical director and keyboard player for the
Turtles (not to mention played, produced and/or recorded with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Harry Nilsson
and, many other luminaries), he has seen the up and down sides of the rock-music world since the 1960s. A true road warrior, Cahan
grew up in the age of rock 'n roll and watched as the genre meant something else each decade.
Musician and On-Stage Performer on such television shows and specials as The Wonderland TV Special for Dutch Television, the
Peter Paas Cartoon Special, Casey Kasem's America's Top Ten Television, Strawberry Shortcake Cartoons, the Care Bears Cartoons,
GI Joe Cartoons, The Turtles for Swedish Television, the Dinah Shore Show, the Midnight Special, the Grammy Awards, and
American Bandstand Anniversary Special, etc. Record Producer and Publisher for assorted record labels including Rhino Records,
Panda Records, Pulsar Records, and the Robert Mellon Music Group in London.
Founder of Demo Doctor, a musical consulting and production service for musicians and composers, specializing in the musical design
and marketing of original demo pieces for presentation to recording industry professionals. Talent and Travel Coordinator for numerous
musical group concert tours throughout North America and Europe.
Andy has spent the last forty years in and behind the scenes in the music business and has tales to tell that have never before been
recounted ... including behind the scenes narratives about his days during the last few years before his good friend, singer songwriter
Harry Nillson passed away.
A sampling of Andy's many memories and tales he has to tell:
Hendrix & Snarfel
Performed Live and / or Recorded With
Hendrix & Snarfel © 1997 Andy Cahan
September, 1968, Hollywood California. I started working for a subsidiary of Mercury Records called Pulsar Records. It was headed by Irwin Garr, a friend of my Mom's. That's how I got the job. I was pulling in a whopping $40.00 a week as "office boy". You know, getting the coffee, running errands. I was assigned 'personal assistant' to Graham Bond, originator of the "Graham Bond Organization" with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce (pre -'Cream'). He was the first one to bring the Melotron over from Europe to the States. He was into black magic, lighting candles, making and breaking spells. We became good friends and he would always include me on all of his adventures.
One morning he told me to pick him up in my VW bus and to bring my Baldwin electric harpsichord, (that I had hooked up through a Hammond leslie), pretty cool for that time! There I was at "TTG" studios on Highland Ave. and Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood California November 1968, setting up my Baldwin, while Jack Cassidy of the Jefferson Airplane was setting up his bass, Lowell George of Little Feet was warming up on flute, Graham, turning on the Hammond B3 and Mitch Mitchell setting up the drums. Noel Redding was in the control room with the engineer. My back was to the studio door. Then I felt something behind me..........I looked over my shoulder...........there was Hendrix, accompanied by two gorgeous blonds, one carrying his amp and the other his guitar. He sat down, plugged in and proceeded to play the blues in the key of A. His veins were popping out of his neck as he squealed the high notes out of his Fender's Fender. It was totally awesome! The jam lasted two hours.
As we all finished gloating, listing to the playback, Hendrix, myself and some guy, I think he was a studio tech., stood in the corner, smoking a joint and pretended we were instruments. I was the drums, making "ka doom doom bop" noises with my mouth, Hendrix was......you guessed it, lead guitar with his mouth, and the guy was bass. I still don't know what happened to that tape. It's out there somewhere..........anyone know where it is?
© 1997 Andy Cahan
I joined Mark Volman (Flo) and Howard Kaylan (Eddie) aka The Turtles in 1973. Since then I've recorded many albums, TV shows and toured the world. In October of 1989, Flo & Eddie, who at the that time had their own radio show in New York on K-Rock 92.3FM in the afternoons after Howard Stern, were one of thirty radio stations doing a live broadcast from Universal City Studios for the Alice Cooper / Clarence Clemmons Octoberfest. Mark Volman asked me to drive a limo, pick up the many luminaries; Eric Burden, Bobby Hatfield, Kevin Meany, Dean Torrance, Wierd Al, Ray Manzarck, Rosanne Barr, Alice Cooper, Elvira, Mickie Dolenz, Richard Lewis, John Densmore and Harry Nilsson. I had my keyboard set up and performed either "Happy Together" or the "Hit" of each artist live on the air after they were interviewed in the little tent set up on the lot. When I drove out to Hidden Hills to pick up Harry Nilsson, I was real nervous. After all, this was the Beatles favorite American singer/songwriter......Nilsson!
When I arrived at his home, I opened up the rear door of the Limo. Harry said,"no thanks, I'll sit up front with you." So there we were, driving down the 101 freeway to universal, jammed in traffic. What else to do but to light up a cig and talk about The Beatles! I was in heaven. Harry would tell me so many stories, I could hardly remember them all. But I do remember him telling me that Kieth Moon and Momma Cass both died in his Bed in his London Flat! So we did the broadcast, and did a "Dillards" song that Mark & Howard sang harmonies while Harry sang lead. He forgot the name of the song, and to this day I still don't know the name! But I do have tapes of the show. After that, I took Harry to his office, Hawkeye, which was a company that supplied scripts to film production companies. It was just a month later that Harry found out his trusted accountant for eight years, Cindy Simms ripped him off for over eight million dollars. I do believe, that was the beginning of the end for Harry. He was devastated. Not only did he lose his land in Australia and Bell Air, but he almost lost his home in Hidden Hills. He also owed the IRS two million in back taxes. He took her to court, and she ended up in jail for maybe a year or so.....that's all!
In the meantime, I asked Harry if he was still doing music. He told me that he sold his piano and guitar and was busy raising his family of six kids and a wife! So I said, "hey! why don't we get together and record some stuff in my studio." He liked the idea very much. so much infact that he recorded twenty five songs. They are still on the shelf, waiting for his estate to figure out when or if they want to release them. The name of the album was "Papa's Got A Brown New Robe".
The demos recorded at my studio
1. 245 Lb. Man
Harry actually had one of my clients, Jessica Silverstein sing backup and double lead vocals on this wonderful song.
This is the first song we worked on together, from his play Zapata.
3. Fruit Of The Loom
One of the many commercials we submitted to various ad agencies.
4. Give It All You Got
5. Hide & Go Seek
6. High Heel Sneakers
The origional version of "Rescue Boy".
7. Honky Tonk Heaven
Harry loved this song by Merle Haggard
8. I Know Why
This Glen Miller classic was a gift to his attorney.
9. It's So Easy To Live
The second song we recorded for Ringo's album.Unfortunately Ringo turned it down!
10. Lost And Found
A Mark Hudson composition.
11. Love Is The Answer
Another track from Zapata.
12. Me And My Arrow 93FM
One day Harry noticed Arrow radio 93FM in LA. He said, "lets make a 30 second add and send this as a gift to Arrow radio." I sampled the beginning phrase, " Me And My Arrow", then added the music and Harry's vocal, "93 FM".
13. Me Myself & I
Title song for the IRS video of the same name.It starred George Siegal and Joe Beth Willams. We also did all the filler music.
14. Mother In Law
What a great version of the classic! I programmed the music verbatim.
A song we never really finished. One of the last sessions before his heart attack.
16. Mrs. Crawford
17. One Year
18. Red Neck
Alternate version of "245 LB Man"
19. Rescue Boy
The very last song recorded, days before Harry had a heart attack. It was originally "High Heel Sneakers".
20. She's Tall
We were asked by Deborah Hill (film producer) to record this track for the TV film "Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman" starring Darryl Hanna.
21. Shrink Rap
A hilarious nine minute "Rap" song Harry wanted to record as a spoof on rap music.
22. Strange Love
Another Mark Hudson composition.
23. Tainted Woman
Another unfinished early demo.
24. Ten Year
25. This Could Be The Night
This famous Nilsson song was re-recorded with two new verses. Very Cool!
26. Tonight Song
Submitted to Jay Leno for the new Tonight Show theme.
27. What Does A Woman See In A Man
Jimmy Webb wrote this one for his last album Linda Ronstat was producing. Harry loved it so much that he kidnapped Jimmy from the session, and brought him to my studio to record it!
28. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Harry invited Carol King to sing background vocals, but she never showed!
Harry always wanted to record these two songs as an overlapping medley. It came out great!
30. You Are Here
Never before was this song heard or recorded. Harry wrote this with John Lennon during the "Lost Weekend" period. This is defiantly the best of the lot! My favorite!
Harry and I became real good friends. He would come over my house practically every day, and we would either record or go for a drive and visit Ringo, Timothy Leary or Joe Walsh. It was allot of fun, sorta like when I was a teenager with my friends, just driving around, listing to the radio, laughing, telling stories and getting high. I do remember one time we were over Ringo's, and I picked up one of his custom acustic guitars with stars inlaid in pearl on the neck, and started strumming..........Harry started singing, "I listen for your footsteps, coming up the drive"..........then Ringo joined in.....there I was, Playing' a Beatle song with a Beatle and Nilsson........I'm in heaven again! Needless to say, when Harry died, I was totally devastated, and still feel a large hole in my life. At Harry's Funeral, George Harrison, Jeff Lynn, Van Dyke Parks, Paul Williams, George Siegal and many other luminaries all came up to me and thanked me for being there for Harry for the last four years of his life. Even at the eulogy, Mark Hudson mentioned me several times as Harry's friend and home away from home.
Performed Live and /or Recorded With
BOBBY HATFIELD ~ BUDDY
MILES ~ CHUCK BERRY ~ CLARENCE CLEMMONS ~ DEAN TORRANCE ~ DR. JOHN ~
EDDIE MONEY ~ ELVIRA ~ ERIC BURDEN ~ ERIC CARMEN ~ FRANK ZAPPA ~ GARY
MALABER ~ GRACE SLICK ~ GRAHAM BOND ~ HARRY NILSSON ~ JACK CASIDY ~
JACKSON BROWNE ~ JEFF BECK ~ JEFF "SKUNK" BAKSTER ~ JIMI HENDRIX ~
JOHN BONHAM ~ JIMMY WEBB ~ JOHN BULSHI ~ JOHN WESLEY HARDING ~ KINKY
FREEDMAN ~ LITTLE RICHARD ~ LOU REED ~ LOWEL GEORGE ~ MICKEY DOLENZ ~
MITCH MITCHELL ~ RAY BOLGER ~ RB GREEVES ~ RICHIE HAYWARD ~ RINGO
STARR ~ SEALS & CROFT ~ STEVE CROPPER ~ STEVEN STILLS ~ TAJ
MAHALL ~ THE TURTLES ~ TIM BOGART
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