Terry Melcher

Co-writer of 'Move Over Darling'

Terry Melcher was the son of the actress Doris Day but, even though he co-wrote the easy listening perennial "Move Over Darling" for his mother and later managed her affairs, his forte was as a mover and shaker in the West Coast music industry.

Terry Melcher, producer, singer, instrumentalist, songwriter and publisher: born New York 8 February 1942; twice married (one son); died Los Angeles 19 November 2004.

Terry Melcher was the son of the actress Doris Day but, even though he co-wrote the easy listening perennial "Move Over Darling" for his mother and later managed her affairs, his forte was as a mover and shaker in the West Coast music industry.

Starting out in the early Sixties as a producer, singer and songwriter with the duo Bruce and Terry - in which he partnered the future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston on the sunny surf hit "Summer Means Fun" - Melcher also recorded as the Rip Chords and worked with the crooners Pat Boone and Frankie Laine, as well as the Sixties beat group Paul Revere and the Raiders.

In 1964 Melcher produced the Byrds on a version of Bob Dylan's "Mr Tambourine Man" which defined the folk-rock genre and topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. His association with the group proved short-lived but still spawned further jingle-jangle classics in 1965 - "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better", "All I Really Want To Do", "The Bells of Rhymney" and "Turn, Turn, Turn (to Everything There is a Season)".

The group called on Melcher again in 1969 to work on the Ballad of Easy Rider soundtrack and the subsequent two Byrds albums, including their last hit single "Chestnut Mare". Melcher found success again in 1987 when he co-wrote and produced the Beach Boys' hit single "Kokomo" which was featured in the Tom Cruise film Cocktail and topped the US charts.

Doris Day was only 18 when she gave birth to Terry, her only son, in New York City in 1942. The child's father was her first husband, the trombone player Al Jorden, but the couple separated when Day resumed her singing career and moved to Hollywood. She subsequently remarried three times and Terry was legally adopted by her third husband, the agent and producer Marty Melcher.

A keen singer, the young Terry hung around film sets and recording studios with his mother and adoptive father and eventually cut a record with Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios in 1961. He was billed as Terry Day and the subject of a campaign claiming that he was "carrying on in a great tradition". "I was terrible, actually," he said. "I left Columbia for a year and a half and came back as an office boy."

Melcher secured an internship in Columbia's producer-trainee programme in New York. On his return to California, he was set to work on "Don't Make My Baby Blue" which put Frankie Laine back into the US Top Fifty for the first time since 1957.

In 1962, Melcher decided to capitalise on the surf craze and produced Surfin' Round The World, the début album by his friend Bruce Johnston. The next year, they became the Hot Doggers and covered Beach Boys songs and Dick Dale instrumentals on an album entitled Surfin' USA. However, the duo were more successful as the Rip Chords, most famously cutting "Hey Little Cobra" which made the US Top Five in January 1964.

Johnston and Melcher finally emerged as Bruce and Terry on a cover of "Custom Machine", originally by the Beach Boys, and their own hit, "Summer Means Fun", which they described as "half-assed surf music". However, after appearing in concert with the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean in Honolulu in the summer of 1964, Melcher realised how uncomfortable he felt on stage and decided to concentrate on working behind the scenes.

Originally called the Jet Set, then the Beefeaters (aping the Beatles), the Byrds had finally found their style when they combined the Fab Four sound with a cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr Tambourine Man" while cutting demos in the autumn of 1964. Melcher was impressed when he heard the track but, once he set to work with the group, he decided to call in session musicians to re-record the song and back up the vocal harmonies.

The recording process Melcher used undoubtedly made the Byrds' folk-rock sound smoother and more palatable to a mainstream audience, but the band insisted on playing on the albums Mr Tambourine Man (1965) and Turn! Turn! Turn! (1966) and then parted company with the producer. Melcher concentrated on working with Paul Revere and the Raiders, the garage band from Seattle. They never scored a British hit but were US chart regulars.

In 1966, Melcher signed the Rising Sons and helped organise the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967. In 1968, he turned down the aspiring songwriter Charles Manson. When five people, including the actress Sharon Tate, were murdered by Manson's cronies in August 1969, rumours abounded that Melcher had been the real target of the attack, since he and his girlfriend Candice Bergen had previously rented the mock château at 10050 Cielo Drive where the killings took place.

After renewing his association with the Byrds on The Ballad of Easy Rider (1969), the excellent live-studio double (Untitled) (1970) and the uneven Byrdmaniax (1971), Melcher recorded two solo albums, Terry Melcher (1974) and Royal Flush (1976), but spent most of the Seventies and early Eighties dabbling in real estate.

Melcher came back to writing and producing at the behest of his old friends Bruce Johnston and Mike Love from the Beach Boys. In 1985 he co-wrote "Getcha Back" and the following year produced the group on a cover of "California Dreamin'". In 1987, Melcher, Love, John Phillips (of the Mamas and the Papas) and Scott McKenzie (singer of "San Francisco") teamed up to compose "Kokomo", which became a US No 1.

In the Eighties, Melcher produced his mother's come-back TV series Doris Day's Best Friends and helped her run the Doris Day Animal League and the Doris Day Animal Foundation.

Pierre Perrone



Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on