Eddy Medora

Guitarist with the Sunrays


Edward Stephen Medora, guitarist, saxophone-player, singer and songwriter: born Los Angeles November 1945; married Ann Marshall (one son, one daughter); died Los Angeles 27 October 2006.

The Sunrays are better known in the UK for their association with the Beach Boys and Murry Wilson, the father of Brian, Dennis and Carl, who managed them after he was fired by his sons, than for the three US hits they scored in the mid-Sixties with "Still", "Andrea" and "I Live for the Sun".

Yet, with its beautiful harmonies and blissful melody, "I Live for the Sun" in particular remains a favourite with aficionados of West Coast pop and regularly crops up alongside Jan & Dean, Bruce & Terry, the Honeys and the Rivieras on compilations like Summer & Sun and Surfin' Sixties. Eddy Medora played guitar and sang harmony vocals with the Sunrays, touring with the Beach Boys and appearing on television shows like American Bandstand.

In the early Seventies, he joined the Walt Disney Corporation, became National Director of Sales for their record label and worked there until 2002.

Born in California in 1945, Eddy Medora played saxophone and guitar in the Renegades, a band he put together with schoolfriends when he was in 8th grade. By the beginning of the Sixties, they were playing fraternity parties and teenage fairs in and around the Los Angeles area and, on one occasion in 1962, even supported the Beach Boys who had just scored their first hit with "Surfin' ". "We were just young kids, we didn't know where we were going with this thing," said Medora:

But we loved playing instrumentals, sometimes recording as the Snowmen. We found out later that you have to sing and do vocals as well.

In 1963, Medora switched to Hollywood Professional School and developed his talents further. "Every Friday you were able to perform, whether you were an actor, actress. Carl and Dennis Wilson went absolutely bonkers over our band," he recalled:

Carl said, "My Dad's looking for another band", and I said, "Yeah, you just want your Dad off your back!" Which was probably part true, I found out later on.

Medora became friends with the Wilsons, and the Renegades eventually auditioned for the Beach Boys' father and manager the following year. Murry Wilson offered to get them a deal with Capitol Records, the label the Beach Boys were signed to, but asked Rick Henn (lead vocals, drums), Marty DiGiovanni (piano), Vince Hozier (bass), Byron Case and Medora (both on guitar) to work on their five-part harmonies and to go home and write some songs. Capitol and Murry Wilson/Senior also suggested they changed their name from the rebellious-sounding Renegades to the Sunrays after "I Live for the Sun", a demo which became their signature song and made the US Top Fifty in 1965.

To avoid competing with the Beach Boys, who had sacked Murry Wilson as manager by April 1964, the Sunrays' singles and sole album appeared on Tower, a subsidiary of Capitol specifically set up for the new group. Murry wrote "Car Party" - which had been rejected by the Beach Boys - and "Outta Gas", both sides of the Sunrays' first 45, but Henn and Medora subsequently became the primary songwriters for the band, the drummer basing "I Live for the Sun" on "Run, Run, Run", one of Medora's earlier compositions.

The track was recorded at Gold Star, the studio made famous by Phil Spector, and featured not only the Sunrays but also the Los Angeles session musicians - drummer Hal Blaine, bass-player Carol Kaye, guitarist Glen Campbell - known as the Wrecking Crew. "Murry paid these guys to come in and sweeten the tracks up," Medora admitted:

What was happening then was the Spector sound, overproduced records with strings and horns. Murry was afraid that, if we went in with our thin sound, no radio station would play our stuff.

The trick worked and the Sunrays charted even higher with "Andrea", their next single, inspired by an air hostess spotted by Medora, and they also released an album bearing the same title in 1966. In between completing their college education, the Sunrays did two tours with the Beach Boys, and would be fined $100 by Murry Wilson if they didn't keep smiling on stage.

They recorded "A Little Boy and His Dog" - a song written from the point of view of a dog missing its owner who had been drafted and sent to Vietnam - while Medora penned "Jo Ann" about the actress Ann Marshall - then a regular in the television series My Favorite Martian - whom he subsequently married.

The Sunrays released another eight singles and broke up in 1969. "The press started hitting hard on us. We didn't comb our hair down like the Beatles. But we weren't Beach Boys copycats," said Medora.

Following his retirement from Disney, Medora began playing live again, occasionally performing with David Marks, a former member of the Beach Boys, and worked on his autobiography. He maintained that the Sunrays

never saw a bad side of Murry Wilson. He was eccentric, he would get upset in the studio, but we understood that because he was spending a lot of money to try and make records. He wanted it his way and I think that's where him and Brian got into it. I never saw him hit any of his sons. If he did any of this stuff, we never, never saw it.

Pierre Perrone

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Ashdown Group: PHP Web Developer / Website Coordinator (PHP, JavaScript)

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: PHP Web...

Recruitment Genius: Estates Projects & Resources Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in London, Manchester, Br...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us