by Robert Wilkinson
If you listened to the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Duane Eddy, Aretha Franklin, Bobby Darin, the Ramones, Dylan in the late 70s, or any of Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" productions, you're heard this guy's work. Today we send up a happy birthday to one of the truly great sax players of the 20th century.
Hal Blaine, Steve Douglas, Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, and a bunch of other top LA musicians were called "The Wrecking Crew," and played on hundreds of top hits during the 60s. Steve was one of the go-to guys during a time when some really great music was being created, and today I've assembled a few of his better known works. I chose to do the studio versions, so that you could hear Steve as the world first heard his work.
He was with the King doing the smash hit "Viva Las Vegas"
He's going strong on the following Phil Spector productions!
Here are the Ronettes doing their classic "Be My Baby"
Here are three Steve did with the Crystals!
The sax drives this song! "Da do Ron Ron"
Steve's sax is all over this great hit!
I found both sides of the entire Phil Spector Christmas album. Each runs about 11 minutes. I suppose I should say this probably "announces" the Christmas season for all my readers, so enjoy the gifts to come the next 90 days!
If you choose not to listen to the entire album, here's one of the most powerful Christmas tunes ever written! Sung by Darlene Love, with Steve on the sax and Leon doing one of the best piano lines ever recorded at the crescendo, here's the awesome "Baby Please Come Home."
Steve playing with Ike and Tina Turner on the studio version of their smash hit "River Deep - Mountain High"
With the Righteous Brothers on "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling"
Steve was one of the main saxmen during the surf music craze! He was in the thick of the mid-60s music, backing Jan and Dean in their huge surfing hit "Surf City" and their last hit, the prescient "Dead Man's Curve," as Jan Berry became crippled in a car crash around the time this hit big.
Steve was with the Beach Boys from "Surfin' USA" through "Pet Sounds," and so any time you hear the great tunes Brian and his brothers were cranking out during that time, if there was a sax, Steve was da man!
Steve did the clarinets, flutes, and saxes on the entire "Pet Sounds" album. For your enjoyment, Steve and the angelic voice of Carl Wilson on "God Only Knows" followed by two more "Pet Sounds" hits, "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Here Today"
He worked with America's bard, Bob Dylan, on his "Street Legal" and "Knocked Out Loaded" albums and was the sax on the Budokan tour. Here are three I really think you'll love!
Brownsville Girl" (this fades into “Not Dark Yet,” a Dylan single released much later that Steve didn’t play on.)
From the Budokan tour, here's Bob with Steve's saxes or flutes doing 15 great Dylan tunes. For those I chose to include, they're in order of how they were played at the show.
Bob doing a great reggae version of "Don't Think Twice It's Alright"
Steve’s sax wails all over this one! “One More Cup of Coffee”
My favorite Bob Dylan song of all time, the awesome "All Along The Watchtower"
We'll close today's birthday tribute to Steve Douglas with a last play from Budokan, the incredibly beautiful
"Forever Young." Steve's sax solo is great!
Steven Douglas Kreisman, aka Steve Douglas, lived from September 24, 1938 to April 19, 1993. Thanks for all the great music across the years. For those of us groovin' in the 60s and 70s, you and King Curtis were the most exciting sax players going! It's too bad you died so young of heart failure. RIP Steve. Your musical legacy will last forever.
© Copyright 2012 Robert Wilkinson