She is probably the most famous person a lot of you have never heard of but if y…

Written by on March 24, 2018

She is probably the most famous person a lot of you have never heard of but if you have the ability to hear, you have heard her. She is Carol Kaye, and today is her birthday.

Carol was a studio musician in LA during the 60’s and 70’s. Although she is not fond of the term, she was a very important member of what is today known as The Wrecking Crew. Carol played guitar and bass guitar on some TV show themes and a couple of hit songs you have probably heard. The TV show themes that she played on included Cannon, The Streets of San Francisco, Mission: Impossible, M*A*S*H, Kojak, Get Smart, Hogan’s Heroes, The Love Boat, McCloud, Mannix, It Takes a Thief, Peyton Place and the Cosby Show. She is credited with performing on the soundtracks of Hawaii Five-O, The Addams Family and The Brady Bunch along with Ironside, Room 222, Bonanza, Wonder Woman, Alias Smith & Jones, Run for Your Life and Barnaby Jones.

Carol has written books, the first of many was “How To Play The Electric Bass”. She gave lessons to thousands of students, including John Clayton, Mike Porcaro, Alf Clausen, David Hughes, Tony Sales, Karl E. H. Seigfried, Roy Vogt and David Hungate. Kaye retired from studio work during the 1970s because of arthritis.

Kaye played 12-string guitar on Frank Zappa’s album Freak Out!. She also played on a few songs for his next album but declined to continue, saying she found some of the lyrics offensive. Kaye later said Zappa was good-natured and understanding about her qualms and they remained on friendly terms.

Here is a partial list of the songs and albums that Carol has played on. As we said before, you might know one or two of them.

“Soul Reggae” (Charles Kynard)
“Andmoreagain” (Love)
“Homeward Bound” (Simon and Garfunkel)
“California Girls”, “Sloop John B”, “Help Me, Rhonda”, “Heroes and Villains” (The Beach Boys)
“Natural Man” (Lou Rawls)
“Come Together” (Count Basie)
“Feelin’ Alright” (Joe Cocker)
“I Think He’s Hiding” (Randy Newman)
“Games People Play” (Mel Tormé)
“Cantaro” (Gene Ammons)
“Wait ‘Til My Bobby Gets Home” (Darlene Love)
“Goin’ Out Of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (The Lettermen)
“Little Honda” (The Hondells)
“Hikky Burr” (Quincy Jones & Bill Cosby & TV theme)
“I’m a Believer” (The Monkees)
“Indian Reservation” (Paul Revere & the Raiders)
“In the Heat of the Night”, “I Don’t Need No Doctor”, “America The Beautiful”, “Understanding” (Ray Charles)
“It Must Be Him” (Vikki Carr)
“Little Green Apples” (O.C. Smith)
“Midnight Confessions” (The Grass Roots)
“Mission: Impossible Theme” (Lalo Schifrin)
“Mannix Theme” (Lalo Schifrin)
“Out of This World” (Nancy Wilson)
“Wichita Lineman” “Galveston” “Rhinestone Cowboy” (Glen Campbell)
“River Deep – Mountain High” (Ike & Tina Turner)
“Scarborough Fair/Canticle” (Simon and Garfunkel)
“Sixteen Tons” (Tennessee Ernie Ford)
“Somethin’ Stupid” (Frank and Nancy Sinatra)
“These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” (Nancy Sinatra)
“This Diamond Ring” (Gary Lewis & the Playboys)
“The Twelfth of Never” (Johnny Mathis)
“The Way We Were” (Barbra Streisand)
“Soul & Inspiration” bass, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” guitar (The Righteous Brothers)
“Carry On” (JJ Cale) – JJ Cale Styles Book
Pet Sounds (The Beach Boys, 1966)
Neil Young (album) (Neil Young)
Light My Fire (Gábor Szabó and Bob Thiele)
Music from Mission: Impossible (Lalo Schifrin, 1967)
Song of Innocence (David Axelrod, 1968)
Songs of Experience (David Axelrod, 1969)
Release of an Oath (The Electric Prunes, 1968)
There’s a Whole Lalo Schifrin Goin’ On (Lalo Schifrin, 1968)
More Mission: Impossible (Lalo Schifrin, 1968)
Mannix (Lalo Schifrin, 1968)
Bullitt (soundtrack) (Lalo Schifrin, 1968)
The New Don Ellis Band Goes Underground (Don Ellis, 1969)
Dirty Harry (score by Lalo Schifrin, 1971)
Northern Windows (Hampton Hawes)
Big Man (Cannonball Adderley)
Reelin’ with the Feelin’ (Charles Kynard)
Charles Kynard (Charles Kynard, Mainstream, 1971)
Cameo (Dusty Springfield, 1972)
Joe Williams Live (Joe Williams, 1973)
Hugo In Wonder-land (Hugo Montenegro)
Your Good Thing (Lou Rawls)
You’ve Made Me So Very Happy (Lou Rawls)
The Funky Organ-ization of Henry Cain (Henry Cain)
The Zodiac : Cosmic Sounds
Pride (Pride) (1970)
Thumbs up (Ray Pizzi, Carol Kaye, Mitch Holder)(1999)
Picking Up On The E-String (Carol Kaye) (1995)
Freak Out! (Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention)1965
Absolutely Free (Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention) 1966
Cosmic Brotherhood (Bill Plummer, 1968)
“Then He Kissed Me” (The Crystals)
“Danke Schoen” (Wayne Newton)
“Johnny Angel” (Shelley Fabares)
“La Bamba” (Ritchie Valens)
“Let’s Dance” (Chris Montez)
“Needles and Pins” (Jackie DeShannon)
“The Beat Goes On” (Sonny & Cher)
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” (The Righteous Brothers)
“The Birds and the Bees” (Jewel Akens), with a Leslie speaker effect
“Mannix Theme” (Lalo Schifrin)

Happy Birthday Carol!!! You are a true American treasure!

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