February 28, 2012

When I first moved to California thirty years ago and worked for Warner Brothers Music, I wanted to give back to the music community, so I joined the National Academy of the Recording Arts and Sciences, where an enthusiastic active member, Mike Melvoin took me under his wing.

I never worked with him in the studio, but as a music fan, I knew that he was considered one of the best keyboardists in Los Angeles.

In addition to being one of the best Jazz players in the business, he played on such Pop classics as Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life,” Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable,” the Jackson 5’s “ABC,” and “Pet Sounds” and “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys as well as Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” John Lennon’s “Stand By Me,” Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen” and Quincy Jones’ all-star collective, “We Are the World.”

Although I was a New Yorker and considered an outsider to the closely knit LA music scene, Mike helped me gain a foothold in the creative community.

At the time, NARAS, was criticized for having an aging membership, being out of touch with contemporary music and accused of giving out Grammys to the wrong people. Mike supported me in an effort to attract younger voters and helped me, producer Nik Venet (“The Beach Boys), Columbia Records A&R Man, Allan Rinde, and songwriter Van Dyke Parks (“Heroes and Villans”) form listening sessions around the country to play new recordings and artists for our members, so they could vote more knowledgably.

It wasn’t long before NARAS was respected again as the premier music organization and rivaled the new kid on the block, THE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS in the TV ratings!

Soon after Mike Melvoin and I were elected to the Board Of Governors, we traveled around the country, New York, Atlanta and Nashville on behalf of NARAS. It was right after the Civil Rights Movement and while traveling through the south there were times when Mike had to soothe my hurt feelings whenever I encountered the stinging barbs of racism…which I never forgot.

Mike went on to become the first musician to become President of the Academy and through the years remained active in the organization. The LA TIMES reported. In 2011, when the Academy made changes in the Grammy awards structure. Melvoin was in the vanguard of the movement to rescind the category changes. As a pianist whose career had touched every stylistic era, he was especially bothered by the effect of the changes upon instrumentalists.

“Everyone who has ever played an instrument,” he said in a public statement, “has had the possibility of receiving recognition from the Grammys gutted. That cannot and will not stand!” 

GOD BLESS YOU…We’re all going to miss you man, may you ROCK IN PERPETUITY!

Respectfully, Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/


There will be a memorial service for Mike Melvoin
Friday, March 2nd at 2pm
at Mount Sinai Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.
5950 Forest Lawn Drive 
Los Angeles, CA 90068

 My new book, “I DID IT FOR A SONG” now available at AT AMAZONor Barnes & Noble or from Smashwords


BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB  https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/

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  1. Tom Diehl Says:

    I am really sorry to hear about the passing of another music legend…. we are losing them way too fast these days it seems…. I tresure those who are still with us even if I am unaware of who they are until after they pass away (a lot of studio musicians and behind the scenes people never got their due recognition and it’s sad that many of them don’t get recognized while they’re still wish us). That said, Artie, I always love reading your blog, you’ve introduced me to many new names through your blog and your book. Thanks for keeping the memories alive.

  2. Terri Fricon Says:

    Good morning, Artie. Thank you for the moving tribute to Mike Melvoin. I am blessed to have counted Mike among my friends. I met Mike many years ago when he was on the short list of pianists my former partner, Jackie Mills, called for his sessions. The level of professionalism I witnessed from Mike then and later when I went out on my own was nothing short of amazing. It was with great pleasure that I was able to hire Mike to score the TV movie, “Return of the Rebels.” The project was such fun!
    I will always remember Mike’s talent, his wit and great laugh. My condolences to Mike’s family and his many, many friends. Rest In Peace, Michael.
    Terri Fricon

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