Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Songwriter Turns Hitmaker

Alan O’Day penned a string of hits for other artists during the 70s. He was the writer behind Helen Reddy’s smash ‘Angie Baby’ (US#1) and co-wrote ‘Rock And Roll Heaven’ by The Righteous Brothers (US#3), with other artists to record his songs including Bobby Sherman, Cher and Three Dog Night.

But O’Day had been a performer in his own right since he developed a love for rock and roll during his teen years. He was a member of various groups around California during the late 50s. He tried his hand at righting music for low budget films in the early 60s and formed his own trio for a time. O’Day came to the attention of music publishers and was soon on staff with Warner Brothers Music as a song writer. It was through this connection that O’Day finally got his big break as a performer in his own right.

Warner started up a subsidiary label called Pacific Records. Formed as an avenue specifically for song writers to record their own work, it was O’Day who would score the labels first major hit. Produced by Steve Barri, ‘Undercover Angel’ was released mid ‘77 and by July had rocketed to #1 in the U.S., in spite of it being banned by several conservative radio stations for its lyrics supposed sexual innuendo. The song only reached #43 in the U.K. (banned by the BBC who in those days banned just about everything that wasn’t the national anthem) and #9 in Australia.

O’Day had a minor follow up hit in the U.S. with ‘Started Out Dancing, Ended Up Making Love’(#73), but his only other major hit came with 1980’s playful little ditty ‘Skinny Girls’ which fell just shy of the Australian Top 10 (#11). O’Day spent some time thereafter working with Japanese artist Tatsuro Yamashita enjoying considerable success in Japan, but with the new wave movement in full swing Alan O’Day’s days as a hitmaker were over. He went on to form a song-writing partnership with Janis Liebhart writing tracks for Disney productions and National Geographic. The classic ‘Undercover Angel’ was released on Alan O’Day’s own label in 2001, and O’Day still performs and runs his own little place on the web: http://www.alanoday.com/ offering his experience as a song writing coach to up and coming artists. Alan O'day is hoping to have his music from the 70s available for legal download later this year, so if like me you have fond memories of his classic hits, keep an eye and ear out for that. Many thanks to the man himself Alan O'Day for correcting me on a couple of points in his bio for this post.

2 comments:

Alan said...

Hi, Sincere thanks for the relatively accurate bio. A few knitpicks: I co-wrote Rock'n'Roll Heaven, Undercover Angel was produced by Steve Barri, and the 2001 version was not a re-mix.

I love my fans, but I must ask that you remove the download of "Skinny Girls" from your blog. Its a violation of the Warner Bros. copyright. I hope to have legal downloads of my 70's songs available later this year.
Best,
Alan O'Day

A. FlockOfSeagulls said...

Thanks very much for your comment Alan, and for the corrections to your bio information. I've acted on your request to remove the link for 'Skinny Girls' and look forward to your music being available to download through legal channels in the future. And can I take this opportunity to thank you for the enjoyment I've had in listening to your classic hits over the years.
Kind regards.