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Capps, Al (26th April 1939-7th June 2018)

Al Capps wore about every hat you can in the music business: arranger, conductor, mixer, multi-instrumentalist, orchestrator, producer, songwriter, and vocalist.

In the 1960s, he seemed to concentrate more on songwriting and performing. He frequently collaborated with songwriter Mary Dean on songs such as “Little Bright Star” (for inclusion on The Supremes’ 1965 album, Merry Christmas) and “Heartbeats” (sung by Dick & Dee Dee in their only film appearance, the 1966 beach-party movie, Wild, Wild Winter). (They would later co-write “Half-Breed“, which was a hit for Cher.)

When he wasn’t penning ditties for other artists, he was singing in vocal groups like The California Dreamers, who lent their dulcet tones to the Gabor Szabo Octet, and The Eligibles, who backed Bobby Vee. Al would go on to arrange for Bobby Vee and many others, including The Brady Bunch, Freddy Cannon, Sammy Davis, Jr., The Everly Brothers, Jose Feliciano, Lesley Gore, John Hartford, Davy Jones, Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, Andre Kostelanetz, Peggy Lee, The Manhattan Transfer, Johnny Mathis , The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Osmonds, Brenda Patterson, Helen Reddy, Nancy Sinatra , Tanya Tucker, Jerry Vale  and Andy Williams.

In the late ’60s, he helped launch a young Jennifer Warnes’ career by producing her first couple of albums. He also played guitar on The Everly Brothers’ Sing, sang vocals on Introducing Sparks and Frank Sinatra’s boxed set, Trilogy, and played keyboards on Marcia Hines’ 1979 release, Ooh Child.

In the late ’70s and early ’80s, he became involved in film work. He has the dubious distinction of having arranged a song that was used in Caligula, “We Are One”, performed by Toni Biggs. He also arranged and conducted the music for the Burt Reynolds films The Cannonball Run and Sharky’s Machine.

In the ’80s, he became involved with commercial work, and seems to have found his niche: He worked for HLC Killer Music and was instrumental–pun intended–in advertising campaigns for Budweiser, Gatorade, Lean Cuisine, Levi’s 501 Blues, Oldsmobile, and Wheaties. He is currently involved with Groove Addicts and works on campaigns for Budweiser, Cadillac, Dole, GTE, Hilton Hotels, MCI, Mercedes, Pepsi, and Swatch.

In 2007 he released the album Great Easy-Listening Hits of the ’60s by the Al Capps Orchestra.

He died in Michigan in June 2018 when he was 79 years old.

Here is Al Capps in the studio…