He was a keyboardist and songwriter born in Los Angeles and raised in Beverly Hills, California, whose mother was the silent film actress Mary O’Brien.
He started to learn to play the piano when he seven years old with the encouragement of his mother and later studied at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music at the suggestion of his teacher. He started performing with various groups from his local area in the 1960s and co-founded the band The East Side Kids. He was also a co-founder of The Sound of the Seventh Son, which was a house band at various venues such as Whisky A-Go-Go and Stratford-on-Sunset where they backed Caesar & Cleo who were later to become Sonny & Cher.
He was a member of The New Dimensions from 1963 with his friend Michael Lloyd, who he attended the Hollywood Professional School with and who would later win an Academy Award for production. Deciding to relocate in 1967 he went to Denver, Colorado as a member of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and became a founding member of Super Band.
A year or so later he returned to Los Angeles and became acquainted with Cory Wells, Danny Hutton and Chuck Negron. He was asked to join them as a musician for their new group Three Dog Night and this would turn out be his road to success. They achieved hit after hit from 1969 into the mid-1970s and became the top chart group of that time. He performed with them on countless albums, on 21 consecutive hits in the Top 40 and more Top 10 hits than any other group in that period. These hits include such well remembered songs such as “An Old Fashioned Love Song”, “Black and White”, “Easy to be Hard”, “Joy to the World “, “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)”, ” Shambala” and many more that still appear today on TV, radio and in movies. The group disbanded in the mid 1970s but in 1981 he and some of the others put the group back together and began touring and recording again. A decade later he entered into the world of authorship when he was the co-writer of One is the Loneliest Number: On the Road and Behind the Scenes With the Legendary Band Three Dog Night.
He didn’t perform with Three Dog Night exclusively though and was often asked to perform and/or record with many other artists. These artists include Carmine Appice, Jeff Beck, Tim Bogert, Shaun Cassidy, Eric Clapton, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, Lowell George, Chris Hillman, Bernie Leadon, Harvey Mandel, Linda Ronstadt and many others.
His album output was extensive with titles such as American Pastime, Coming Down Your Way, Cyan, Golden Bisquits, Hard Labor, Harmony, It Ain’t Easy, It’s a Jungle, Joy to the World – Their Greatest Hits, Naturally, Seven Separate Fools, Suitable for Faming by Three Dog Night , 35thAnniversary Hits Collection by Three Dog Night with the London Symphony Orchestra , Beck, Bogert & Appice by Beck, Bogert & Appice, Am I Still in Your Heart by Chuck Negron and Deuces and Eights by The New Dimensions to name just a few. He also appeared with Three Dog Night on the DVD Three Dog Night: Live with the Tennessee Symphony Orchestra.
In 2000 he was given a Golden Palm Star in the Walk of Stars in Palm Springs, California.
He continued to tour with Three Dog Night until 2014 when he was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. He passed away in North Potomac, Maryland, in March 2015 when he was 67 years old.
Here is a tribute to him as a soloist on the keyboards with Three Dog Night…