Songwriter, producer, and arranger Denny Randell has worked with a remarkable variety of artists during his five decades in the music business, including Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Tim Buckley, the Monkees, Iron Butterfly, and even Soupy Sales. Born in New York City, Randell developed a precocious interest in music, learning to play guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, and trombone before he reached his teens. While attending high school in Silver Springs, MD, he joined a local pop combo and learned the ropes of record making. When a regional single Randell wrote and produced became a modest hit, he scored a contract with a New York music publishing firm and returned to the Big Apple to pursue a career in music. Randell made a name for himself in 1965 when he produced and co-wrote (with Sandy Linzer) "A Lover's Concerto," a pop variation on Bach's "Concerto in G Major," for the vocal group the Toys; the single became a major nationwide hit, and Randell produced the lion's share of the group's subsequent recordings, while the song became a perennial covered by many notable artists. Randell also enjoyed another major hit in 1965 as co-writer (with Sandy Linzer and Bob Gaudio) of "Let's Hang On (To What We've Got)," which became a smash for Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. Randell would in time write eight songs for Valli and his group, and also arranged and conducted the session orchestra for several of their albums; three of his compositions for the group would later appear in the successful Broadway musical Jersey Boys. In the late '60s and early '70s, Randell continued to write songs but also worked as an A&R representative for several labels (including Epic, RCA, and Frank Zappa's Discreet Records), where he produced sessions for Tim Buckley and Reuben & the Jets, among others. In the mid- to late '70s, as disco dominated the music scene, Randell showed his knack for the new sound, co-writing the classic "Native New Yorker" for Odyssey, penning "You Keep Me Dancin'" for Samantha Sang, and co-writing and arranging the album Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lets for Sir Monti Rock III, which has gone on to become a major cult item. Randell also helped craft another cult item in 1980 when he helped write Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album, a holiday-themed disc produced with George Lucas' participation that also marked the recording debut of a teenaged Jon Bon Jovi. While working with Clive Davis in the '80s, Randell urged Davis to release a solo project featuring the sax player with the Jeff Lorber Fusion; the sax man, Kenny Gorelick, would shorten his name to Kenny G and become one of the biggest crossover jazz performers of all time. In the mid-'80s, Randell stepped back into performing when he teamed up with fellow songwriter and vocalist Biddy Schippers and formed the duo Randell & Schippers, who recorded a number of electronic dance songs that have since become club staples, including "Alice in Wonderland."
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