Monday, February 20, 2012

RIP Al De Lory

Al DeLory, who produced and arranged Glen Campbell smashes “Gentle On My Mind,” “Galveston,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman,” died on Feb. 5 at age 82.

Mr. DeLory’s productions help define country-pop music and enabled Campbell’s transition from session musician to superstar. His death was mentioned by Campbell’s wife, Kim, at a Grammy event on Feb. 11, but no cause of death has been released.

Born Alfred De Lory on Jan. 31, 1930, in Los Angeles, he was the son of a studio musician. He studied piano as a child and began arranging music while in the Army, for an Army service band. Upon his discharge, he worked as a piano player in studio orchestras and in clubs, and in the late 1950s he penned “Mr. Custer,” a novelty hit for Larry Verne.

In the early 1960s, Mr. DeLory began working as a studio musician in Los Angeles, and in that capacity he worked with artists including The Beach Boys (playing on the famed Pet Sounds album), Tina Turner and The Righteous Brothers.

Asked by Capitol Records chief Ken Nelson to produce Campbell, Mr. DeLory set about finding and writing arrangements for songs that remain staples of Campbell’s live performances.

“It was Glen’s voice and the strength of those songs that inspired me to write arrangements that exceeded my expectations,” Mr. DeLory wrote in a biography. Indeed, those arrangements remain marvels of elegance and sophistication, and Mr. DeLory worked with Campbell to establish a sound that served as a template for other pop-leaning country artists.

“I believe that country-pop is definitely here to stay,” Mr. DeLory asserted 40 years ago, and the ensuing decades have bolstered that opinion.

Based in Los Angeles, Mr. DeLory also produced movie soundtracks and recordings for artists such as Dobie Gray, The Turtles, Wayne Newton and The Lettermen, and he released four albums of his own on Capitol. But his work with Campbell remained his calling card. He won two Grammy Awards for those productions, and neither he nor Campbell won any when working separately.

Mr. DeLory’s late-life years were spent in Nashville, where he moved following his wife’s death. In Nashville, he began performing and recording Latin jazz music. His Floreando and Hot Gandinga albums drew raves for their intricate and danceable soundscapes.

“He was always following the muse,” said bass player and Nashville Musicians Union president Dave Pomeroy. “A beautiful soul who made many lifetimes’ worth of great music.”

Mr. DeLory’s daughter, Donna De Lory, is a singer, songwriter and producer who performed for years as a backing vocalist for Madonna.

No memorial service or survivor information is available.

De LORY, Al (Alfred V. De Lory)
Born: 1/31/1930, Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
Died: 2/5/2012, U.S.A.

Al De Lory's westerns - composer:
Jory 1973
Pioneer Woman - 1973

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