Kim Fowley RIP


JR alerted me to the death of one of the more idiosyncratic characters of the 60s and beyond pop/rock scene

Kim  Fowley passed away on January 15, 2015. He died of bladder cancer in West Hollywood, California at the age of 75. Kim Fowley was an American record producer, singer and musician. He has been described as “one of the most colorful characters in the annals of rock & roll” and as “a shadowy cult figure well outside the margins of the mainstream”. He was behind a string cult singles in the ‘60s, like  song The Hollywood Argyles “Alley Oop”, which reached number  1 on the charts in 1960 and was credited to the group – which didn’t actually even exist…
He also wrote “Nut Rocker”, for B. Bumble and the Stingers, which became a number1 hit in the UK in 1962
During the mid-1960s, Kim  relocated for a time to London, mentored singer P.J. Proby and ,wrote the lyrics for the song “Portobello Road”, the B-side of Cat Stevens’ first single, “I Love My Dog”. 
He also worked with an early incarnation of Slade known as the N’Betweens, Soft Machine (he produced their first single “Love Makes Sweet Music“) and the Lancasters, an instrumental rock group featuring a young Ritchie Blackmore.
Kim also worked as a recording artist in the 1960s, issuing albums such as “Love Is Alive and Well“,  and a song about the psychedelic experience, “The Trip”. 
He appeared on “hype phone” on Frank Zappa’s first album Freak Out!. Other singles by Fowley as a recording artist have become cult items, both in reissue and bootleg formats.
In 1969, Fowley produced the album “I’m Back and I’m Proud” for Gene Vincent, and  co-wrote for Warren Zevon’s first solo album, Wanted Dead or Alive. 
Kim Fowley collaborated with his friend Skip Battin, during Battin’s membership as bassist with The Byrds on a number of songs. Several appeared on the group’s 1970 album, “Untitled”; and one from the 1971 LP, Byrdmaniax, Farther Along, was released as a single: “America’s Great National Pastime”.
He also co-wrote songs for Kiss, Helen Reddy, Alice Cooper, Leon Russell and Kris Kristofferson, and made recordings with Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers. He also put the band The Runaways together.
In 2012 Kim  released the first part of his autobiography, entitled “Lord of Garbage” , which  covered the years 1939–1969 and describes his early childhood and beginning years in the music business. The second installment of his autobiography will be called “Planet Pain” and will cover the years 1970–1994. The last part of his autobiography was finished on his deathbed.
On September 24, 2014, Fowley married longtime girlfriend and music executive Kara Wright in a private ceremony in Los Angeles. 

Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

2 thoughts on “Kim Fowley RIP

  1. They’ve come and taken him away Ha ha!! Interesting guy , sad at his passing!

  2. I nearly said something like that Mr Mook but I gather that his attribution as Napoleon the whatever was not true – it’s a shame because it suits him!

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