Lou Adler

Lou Adler was a prominent pop music entrepreneur from the late 50's up until the mid-70's. His name is associated with many well-known rock-and-roll acts, particularly those from the West Coast.

In the late 1950's Adler was in partnership with Herb Alpert as managers of the up-and-coming rock-and-roll act, Jan & Dean. Adler also wrote songs, often under the name Barbara Campbell; Sam Cooke's Only Sixteen is his composition.

He worked for music publisher Screen Gems and for various record labels, including Colpix and Dimension. He became involved in the careers of Shelley Fabares [whom he married in 1964] and Carole King. In 1964 he started Dunhill Productions, which later became a record label, and recruited P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri to write and produce songs. One prominent artist signed to Dunhill was former New Christy Minstrel Barry McGuire. McGuire recorded a song that had been written by Sloan and on which he was backed by the original members of the Grass Roots: Eve Of Destruction reached the top of the charts late in 1965. The top act at Dunhill was the Mamas and Papas, who placed six songs in the top ten in 1966 and 1967.

Lou Adler also produced some acts that were not associated with Dunhill, such as Johnny Rivers. He continued his relationship with Jan & Dean. He sold Dunhill to ABC in 1966 and became involved with the production of the Monterey Pop Festival. In 1967 Adler launched the Ode label, which had its first big hit with San Francisco [Be Sure To Wear Flowers in Your Hair] by Scott McKenzie; McKenzie went on to co-write the number one hit Kokomo for the Beach Boys in the late 80's. The Ode label also produced Spirit which had a top forty hit with I Got A Line On You in 1969.

The most successsful act produced by Lou Adler at Ode was yet to come. Former Brill Building songwriter Carole King became very hot as a performer in 1971 with her number one hit It's Too Late on Ode. Other hits followed for King which were produced by Lou Adler and released on the Ode label: I Feel The Earth Move, So Far Away, Sweet Seasons, Been To Canaan, Jazzman, Nightingale. Carole King won four Grammys in 1971.

After the mid-70's Lou Adler became less involved in the music business. His contributions to rock-and-roll in the 50's, 60's and 70's were enormous.

Most Recent Update: April 20, 2000

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Send email to the author, Tom Simon tsimon@tsimon.com.