Crafting smash hits with Van Halen, The Doobie Brothers, Nicolette Larson, and Van Morrison, legendary music producer Ted Templeman changed the course of rock history
This autobiography (as told to Greg Renoff) recounts Templeman’s remarkable life from child jazz phenom in Santa Cruz, California, in the 1950s to Grammy-winning music executive during the ’70s and ’80s. Along the way, Ted details his late ’60s stint as an unlikely star with the sunshine pop outfit Harpers Bizarre and his grind-it-out days as a Warner Bros. tape listener, including the life-altering moment that launched his career as a producer: his discovery of the Doobie Brothers.
Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music takes us into the studio sessions of No. 1 hits like “Black Water” by the Doobie Brothers and “Jump” by Van Halen, as Ted recounts memories and the behind-the-scene dramas that engulfed both massively successful acts. Throughout, Ted also reveals the inner workings of his professional and personal relationships with some of the most talented and successful recording artists in history, including Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Eric Clapton, Lowell George, Sammy Hagar, Linda Ronstadt, David Lee Roth, and Carly Simon.
In no-frills prose, music producer Templeman offers behind-the-board glimpses at the musicians he's produced, including Eric Clapton, the Doobie Brothers, Van Morrison, and Van Halen. Templeman grew up in a musical family in Santa Cruz, Calif., graduated high school in 1960, and attended Cabrillo Junior College. For the next decade he played in various bands and worked for Warner Brothers, where producer Lenny Waronker taught him the art of production. In 1970, he discovered a demo tape from the Doobie Brothers and, after hearing them live, signed them to Warner (they got a $20,000 advance and "partied away half of it, and the other half went for equipment"). Following the success of the Doobies' eponymous first album, Templeman was promoted to A&R executive producer. Templeman is an entertaining storyteller, and he matter-of-factly talks of working on Van Morrison's Tupelo Honey, which taught him to value and capture spontaneous performances; producing Clapton's album Behind the Sun, when Templeman suggested he switch to a Stratocaster guitar from his Gibson to get a better tone; and recording Van Halen's "You Really Got Me," during which Templeman heard guitarist Eddie Van Halen warm up with a guitar exercise that became the song's intro, "Eruption." Classic rock fans will dig Templeman's insider view of the music business.
A wonderful stroll through a producers eyes
As a Warner Bros Records alumni this book was truly a gift to read. My first day with Warner Bros Records as a local Promotion Man was to blitz to all the rock radio stations in my territory a new band called Van Halen. 4 days later they are performing their 3rd show opening for Montrose and Journey in Detroit my home town and my area as a Warner Bros rep.
Ted was as passionate about getting the songs recorded correctly as we were in the field about getting them on the radio. It was fantastic to hear about the Doobie Bros, Nicolette Larsen, Montrose, Michael McDonald, Rickie Lee Jones, Christopher Cross and other bands that Warner Bros Records nurtured and grew and to hear the way Ted used all that he knew to craft these beautiful songs we all know and still Love today.
Thank you Ted Templeman for your contributions to the music world and to my world as a Warner Bros Records alumni.
Great book covering a lot of musical ground!
Excellent book that covers a ton of music history. Ted has packed an infinite number of experiences into his lifetime, and it’s apparent when you read this book. As a musician and wanna be producer, I related to his stories of recording processes, musician mentality and band dynamics.
I sincerely and thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Thank you to Ted Templeman for taking the time to write such a long and detailed account of your incredible life and contribution to music. Even if you are not a musician and have never stepped into a major studio like I have, this book will explain to you the incredible importance of an amazing producer like Ted. Not only was Ted an amazing producer, songwriter, musician, he was also a music industry executive and legend, having signed some of the most important musical acts of the 70s and 80s. If you have ever doubted how important a producer is, read this book! If you doubt what I am saying, simply listen to demo version of the songs that Ted Templeman had worked on and then listen to the finished product, there is the proof. This book also is filled with wonderful photographs from Teds private collection and some others from other peoples collections.