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Jack

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    Phillip Brophy, Stuart Coupe, Bruce Milne and others were hanging out with Jack in Melbourne few months back, all were in awe. Keef JACK NITZSCHE 1937-2000
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 28, 2000
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      Phillip Brophy, Stuart Coupe, Bruce Milne and others were hanging out
      with Jack in Melbourne few months back, all were in awe. Keef

      JACK NITZSCHE 1937-2000

      Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Phil Spector, Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis,
      Bobby
      Darin, Neil Young, The Beach Boys, John Lee Hooker, Tammy Wynette, James

      Brown, Captain Beefheart, Jackie DeShannon, Sean Penn, The Germs, Willy
      DeVille, William Friedkin, Paul Schrader, Doris Day, Ricky Nelson, Ike &

      Tina
      Turner, Marianne Faithfull, The Monkees, The Neville Brothers, Graham
      Parker,
      Sonny & Cher, Randy Newman.
      Jack Nitzsche worked with them all. It's hard to name another person
      that
      was involved in creating in so much music history. Whether it was pop,
      new
      wave, punk, folk, rock, R & B, or movie soundtracks, Nitzsche was there.

      The
      otherwordly hits he arranged for Spector. His eerie string work for
      Neil
      Young and others. The two-fisted piano playing for the Stones. His
      soundtracks, among the most original and unusual in Hollywood history.
      "Jack’s one of the modern-day masters," Young told Gavin Martin. "His

      creations are on par with Mozart and the composers of the renaissance."

      Bernard Alfred ‘Jack’ Nitzsche was born on April 22, 1937, in
      Chicago,
      Illinois, but was raised on a farm outside of Newaygo, Michigan. In
      1955 he
      moved to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming a jazz saxophonist, but quit
      music
      school after deciding he wasn't good enough.
      Nitzsche wandered into Specialty Records, where then-A&R man Sonny Bono
      hired
      him as a copyist. "Sonny got me my first real job in the music
      business,"
      said Nitzsche. "We both loved black music." A stint at Capitol Records

      was
      most notable for Jack's introduction to aspiring singer Gracia Ann May,
      his
      first wife and the woman Nitzsche would credit most for guiding his life

      and
      career. "Gracia encouraged me to forget about getting a job and really
      go for
      the music. To just do what I wanted to do, and she would bring in the
      income." Son Jack Jr. was born in 1960.
      Various jobs in the record industry led to arrangement work for Phil
      Spector,
      beginning in 1962 with The Crystals’ immortal ‘He’s a Rebel,’
      and straight
      on through to Ike and Tina Turner’s ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ in

      1966.
      What records: 'Be My Baby,' 'Zip A Dee Doo Dah,' 'Then He Kissed Me,'
      'Baby I
      Love You.' "Phil and I saw totally eye to eye--on everything. That’s

      what
      made our combination perfect."
      First encountering the Rolling Stones at a 1964 session for Hale and the

      Hushabyes, Nitzsche contributed keyboards to such sixties Stones
      classics as
      'Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows?,' 'Play With
      Fire'
      and 'Paint It Black,' as well as the choral arrangements for 'You Can't

      Always Get What You Want.' Jack was an integral and influential part of

      the
      early Rolling Stones sound. Throughout the sixties Nitzsche did
      production
      work with a slew of artists, including Bob Lind, P. J. Proby and one of
      his
      favorite female vocalists, Jackie DeShannon. He also wrote (with a
      little
      help from Sonny Bono) the classic 'Needles and Pins,' a 1964 hit for The

      Searchers which was later covered by The Ramones.
      Nitzsche's odd solo career began with the majestic 1963 instrumental
      'The
      Lonely Surfer,' the title cut of his first solo album for Reprise. He
      walked
      out of the sessions for a ludicrous, label-instigated follow-up Dance to

      the
      Hits of The Beatles. Nitzsche released an album of original orchestral
      pieces, St Giles Cripplegate, in 1973.
      The work for Neil Young began with 'Expecting to Fly,' a 1967 Buffalo
      Springfield track that was one Jack's favorite records. Nitzsche
      contributed
      to Young songs throughout the years, most notably the 1972 Harvest
      track 'A
      Man Needs a Maid' (done with the London Symphony Orchestra) and 'Such a
      Woman,' from Young's 1992 Harvest Moon. Jack was also a sometime member

      of
      Crazy Horse, contributing keyboards and his first recorded vocal, 'Crow
      Jane
      Lady,' to their 1971 debut. He played piano on Young's 1973 live album,

      Time
      Fades Away.
      His motion picture work began with largely overseeing the musical end of

      1964's The TAMI Show, then scoring the 1965 no-budgeter Village of the
      Giants.
      1970 brought Performance, inarguably one of the most original and
      influential scores of all time. Nitzsche did Robert Downey Sr.'s 1972
      picture Greaser's Palace, contributed music to William Friedkin's The
      Exorcist
      in 1973, and was nominated for an Oscar for his glass harp/musical saw
      score
      for One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest in 1975. He did two pictures for
      Paul
      Schrader, 1978's Blue Collar and Hardcore in 1979. Nitzsche received
      the
      Best Original Song Oscar for co-writing (along with Buffy Sainte-Marie,
      whom
      he married that year) 'Up Where We Belong,' which was featured in 1982's
      Offic
      er and a Gentleman.

      1980 saw a punk/new wave score for Friedkin's 'Cruising.' Jack produced

      Graham Parker, and did three albums with longtime friend and cohort
      Willy
      DeVille, starting with 1977's 'Cabretta.' "We hit it off. Right away,"

      said
      Jack. "Willy pulled out his record collection, he started playin’
      things,
      that was it. I said, ‘Holy shit! This guy’s got taste!’"
      Nitzsche was
      particularly proud of the DeVille track 'Cadillac Walk.'
      The soundtrack work continued with Cutter's Way in 1981, plus a few
      scores
      for director John Byrum, including The Razor's Edge in 1984. An unusual

      electronic score was featured in 1984's Starman, and a haunting 1990
      soundtrack for Revenge was among Jack's favorites. Nitzsche's
      evocative
      pairing of Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker was central to Dennis
      Hopper's
      1991 picture The Hot Spot. The nineties brought two pictures for Sean
      Penn,
      1991's The Indian Runner and The Crossing Guard in 1995. Nitzsche's
      last
      studio work (as yet unreleased) was with Louisiana rocker Charles 'C.
      C.'
      Adcock.

      ******************************************************

      Melancholy, bittersweet, ghostly--these are words that come to mind when

      I
      think of Jack's sound. But that doesn't quite get it. It was just Jack

      Nitzsche music, and once you heard it, you were never the same. If
      Jack's
      name was on a record, you could count on something moving, something
      unique.
      And probably something you'd never heard before. "I do a whole number
      when I
      produce an artist," he said. "I really put them through something.
      They
      have an experience. And it changes the record."
      Fellow musicians loved Jack--even if they wanted to wring his neck at
      some
      point, which was inevitable. Hanging out with Nitzsche was one of the
      pleasures of life. Jack was funnier than hell, and he had an opinion on

      everything. He thought all rock 'n' roll was stolen from the black
      man--and
      that included his own music. "Jack's one of the mighty few," said
      bassist Tim
      Dummond. "If you don't want to know the truth, don't ask Jack."
      Nitzsche loved fencing, doo wop, women and all things Native American,
      although not necessarily in that order. He could be a cad when it came
      to
      the opposite sex, yet he somehow remained close friends with nearly
      every ex.
      Jack remembered every girl he ever had a crush on. In detail. And
      occasionally tried to call them while inebriated in the middle of the
      night
      many decades later.
      With Nitzsche on your side you felt invincible, like you could go ten
      rounds
      with Ali. When he turned on you--which he invariably did--it was an
      equally
      unforgettable experience. Jack could be a real devil sometimes. You
      loved
      him anyway.
      Nitzsche made no secret of his battle with drugs over the last couple of

      decades. It tormented Jack, and his loved ones. He'd been through
      rehab so
      many times it was suggested that they name his hospital room 'The
      Nitzsche
      Wing.' He got a kick out of that one, as he did out of any joke at his
      expens
      e, particularly if it had to do with the sort of high-profile
      shenanigans
      that landed him in court and earned him an unexpected role on Cops.
      The sad irony was that Jack was in better shape than he'd been in years
      right
      before his death, fresh from trips to Australia and New York. One of
      the
      great joys of his life was being able to attend his son Jack Jr's
      marriage in
      May.

      Jack Nitzsche was a real record hound. Mention a forgotten 45 by The
      Mighty
      Hannibal or the latest work by his beloved Jon Hassell and Jack could
      rhapsodize for hours. Despite three decades in the music biz, he still
      loved
      going to the record store and blowing dough on new sounds. Nitzsche
      might've
      appeared cynical about many things, but music wasn't one of them.
      Underneath
      the sometimes crusty exterior lurked a romantic, even sentimental,
      fellow.
      One of his all-time favorite records was 'That's All I Want From You,'
      an old
      pop ballad covered by many singers, black and white. The version that
      moved
      Jack the most was the 1954 Jaye P. Morgan hit that he first heard in
      tenth
      grade. He spoke wistfully of the song.
      The lyrics go like this:

      A little love that slowly grows and grows
      Not one that comes and goes
      That's all I want from you
      A sunny day, with hopes up to the sky
      A kiss and no goodbye
      That's all I want from you

      Don't let me down
      Oh show me that you care
      Remember when you give
      You also get your share

      Don't let me down
      I have no time to wait
      Tomorrow might not come
      When dreamers dream too late


      Jack Nitzsche died at Queen of Angels hospital in Hollywood on August
      25,
      2000. The cause of death was cardiac arrest, brought on by a reoccuring

      bronchial infection. He was sixty-three years old.

      He is survived by son Jack Jr.

      --Jimmy McDonough
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