Alan O'Day

Before Alan O'Day became a successful recording artist, he was writing hits for other singers. First there was "The Drum" in 1971 for teen idol Bobby Sherman, which was featured on his Portrait of Bobby album. "Angie Baby" for mellow Australian crooner Helen Reddy followed in 1974 on her Free and Easy album, and the single hit the top of the charts late that year. Three years later, O'Day stepped in front of the microphone and took "Undercover Angel," another song he penned, into the winner's circle. The single sold a couple of million copies in 1977 for Pacific Records. O'Day went on to score another winner as a singer, this time in Australia. His "Skinny Girls" rose to number one in 1980. The following year he and Tatsuro Yamashita collaborated on "Your Eyes," which Yamashita released to popular acclaim in Japan. He also wrote "Rock and Roll Heaven" for the Righteous Brothers. Among the other artists who have recorded his songs are Cher, Three Dog Night, and Mel Carter. O'Day traveled to Tokyo in 1983 to again collaborate with Yamashita on half a dozen new tunes that appeared on the latter's Big Wave album. The effort earned that country's Gold Disc Award. By that time, new wave had made an appearance and the face of music was changing. O'Day moved on and started collaborating with Janis Liebhart, beginning in 1983. Together the two singer/songwriters contributed to kids' programs that included Jim Henson's Muppet Babies. The pair also contributed "There's Only One Ariel" to the Little Mermaid soundtrack for Disney. When O'Day belonged to a band during his high-school years, he drew inspiration from such artists as Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, Little Richard, and Fats Domino. By college his tastes had shifted to the blues and B.B. King, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker, among others. Dunhill signed him in 1966, and the following year he traveled overseas to play for the armed forces. By 1969 he made the decision to pursue songwriting full-time, but by the mid-'70s, he was a performer again, this time under contract to Pacific Records. Alan O'Day died from cancer at his home in Westwood, California in May 2013; he was 72 years old. ~ Linda Seida

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