Richard Perry – A Long Overdue Toast To One Of The World’s Best Producers!

September 9, 2006

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Richard Perry
I was in the music buisness as a songwriter, artist, producer, publisher and promoter from 1960 to 1996 and met many people who have become legends. One CD and record producer who particularly stands out is Richard Perry. His track record is astonishing! From Tiny Tim, Harry Niilson, Barbra Streisand, Ringo Starr, The Pointer sisters, to the last four Rod Stewart “American Songbook” albums…he’s been consistantly on the charts for the last four decades!

I talked to him a few months ago after not being in touch with him for ten years ( I was quietly recovering from a spinal operation ) and have begun to submit songs to him again. I’d like to share a couple of stories with you from my forthcoming book about some of my experiences with him.

Richard Perry and I became friends in the mid-sixties when we were neighbors at 1650 Broadway. He was producing the “God Bless Tiny Tim” album and recorded one of my songs, “Daddy, Daddy What Is Heaven Like?” His first Gold Album, and mine. Since Richard isn’t a songwriter and depends totally on outside material, he became the number one producer that songwriters and publishers would persue. When I ran the professional department at Warner Bros. Music in the early ’70’s, Richard was always the first to hear our best songs. My boss, Ed Silvers, suggested that I update the old Johnny Burnette hit, “You’re 16,” with a New Orleans feel for Richard’s upcoming Fats Domino session. Richard loved it, but didn’t cut it with Fats. Over the next two and a half years it was turned down by 122 artists and producers. My little piano voice demo became an ongoing joke at Warner’s….until Richard Perry finally cut it with Ringo Starr and sold five million records!

The next story…

In 1971, the single “Stoney End” by Barbra Streisand was in the top ten, but her album wasn’t finished yet. Richard Perry, who was the producer, called me up on a Sunday afternoon and asked if I wanted to listen to the final mixes on Barbra’s album.

Needless to say I was thrilled, but as I sat in the studio listening to the playback something was bothering me. I couldn’t hear the lyrics loud enough over the track!! As I sheepishly told Richard what I thought, his engineer, Bill Schnee, jumped up and said, “I told you Richard……You can’t hear the lyrics !!” Richard looking a little stunned, smiled, thanked me for coming down and started re-mixing again.

The already overdue album was finally released a month later. My friend Allan Rinde, who was the Columbia Records’ West Coast Contemporary A+R director, told me that I’d be banned from the company forever if I ever interfered with any of their producers again!

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13 Responses to “Richard Perry – A Long Overdue Toast To One Of The World’s Best Producers!”

  1. matt soloff Says:

    I need to contact Richard Perry. I grew up in Brooklyn and was the best friend of his brother, Roger.
    Would you please forward this to him. I want only to contact Roger and get an update on the family; ROGER, ANDY & FRED. It is my assumption that SYLVIA & MACK are probably gone by now.

    Matt Soloff


  2. As a big fan of Harry Nilsson I’m also a big fan of Perry’s work. I can think of few who are better at doing what he does. I enjoyed your story about “You’re 16”. Such poetic justice is a beautiful thing isn’t it?

    I’ve just released a CD called “Wildernessed” independently and since it draws on the type of production techniques I learned by listening to Nilsson/Perry I’m very interested in sending him a copy. Do you know how I could obtain contact information?

    Thanks very much,

    Patrick Burke

  3. nj Says:

    sylvia is very much alive in oregon,with Andy
    Rodger is in Marin 415 3312422
    Richard is in west hollywood 9137 cordell dr 90069 310 2746266
    Freddie in NY 310 2746216
    cell# 310 4876911

  4. Beverly Karanovich Sheridan Says:

    Hi Richard:
    I was listening to a cd that my husband made of Guys and Dolls (Soph Show l961) and thought of my friend and classmate Nathan Detroit. I was Sara Brown and enjoyed being in that show and The Boyfriend with you.
    Hope you are well…I’m still singing!

    Blessings, Bev


  5. Dear Richard,
    Your production skills are awesome, I bought Art Garfunkels “Some Enchanted Evening” and the whole ablum is beautiful, how do you get such a silky warm sound its incredible, I immediately bought Arts Breakaway album as well.

    I have a small home studio working on PC and try so hard to emulate the sound you get on my own projects (I know I’m fooling myself without having the analogue outboard gear needed) but I just love the sound you get its so pleasant on my ear I can listen to the albums over and over again without getting tired of it and thats how I want my recordings to sound.

    Anyway just wanted to let you know how blown away I am by your skill.

    Mike Mathieson

  6. Feef Says:

    Ricardo, How’s Perry’s Pub? Sorry to have missed adding to the buddha collection. Hope to see you at holidays. Writing is going well. New stories to tell. With affection always, feef

  7. Joanna Rios Says:

    Thank you, Richard–

    Your warm comments and encouragement were truly appreciated. We all hope that Sylvia had a splendid birthday on Saturday night and wish her well!! We look forward to hearing from you.

    Joanna
    Blue Gardenia Jazztet

  8. DANETTA Says:

    WOULD LIKE FOR YOU TO WORK WITH ME AND MY TWIN SISTER PLEASE. DANETTALOVE6969@YAHOO.COM 8032238899

  9. mike myers Says:

    can someone tell me where I might write richard perry”’ please any info would be appreciated

  10. mike myers Says:

    Need help to find an address to write Mr. Perry


  11. Hello to everyone,

    I figured there might be a bunch of wonderful people on here that might be interested in some good free music. I am in an LA band called Atlantic Line. We love playing music and whether we make it or not we are extremely grateful to be playing music with one another as well as sharing our music with you wonderful people. As of right now you all can get our album for free. Please have a listen and if you have time tell us what you think. Thank you so very much for your time everyone. I hope and wish success for everyone.

    William


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