Milt Okun

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Milt Okun, 2011

Milton T. "Milt" Okun (born December 23, 1923 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American arranger, record producer, singer and founder of Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc. Okun transformed the careers of a dozen or more major U.S. artists who under Okun's tutelage became some of the most successful musical acts of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. A special on PBS alludes to Okun as one of the most influential music producers in history. His career has lasted over 50 years, from the folk revival to the twenty-first century.

He has created arrangements or produced for a large number of popular groups and artists such as Peter Paul and Mary,[1] The Chad Mitchell Trio, The Brothers Four, John Denver, and Miriam Makeba.[2] In 1968 he interviewed many American folksingers and published the songs they chose in Something to Sing About![3]

At the height of Okun's career, a critic wrote, "Of all producers, Milton Okun's range is the widest, from Plácido Domingo to the Muppets." Conductor for Harry Belafonte, arranger and producer of Peter, Paul and Mary, the man who brought John Denver to stardom and produced his most loved hits, Okun also founded Cherry Lane Music, the music publishing company for Elvis and DreamWorks among many other household names.

Honours[edit]

In 2008, Okun won the Abe Olman Publisher Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony. Milton T. Okun published his memoir, Along the Cherry Lane, on June 13, 2011.

Discography[edit]

Okun was part of the folk quartet The Skifflers and also recorded several albums of his own in the 1950s.[4]

  • Every Inch A Sailor (Stinson SLP65)
  • I Sing Of Canada (Stinson SLP71)
  • Adirondack Folk Songs And Ballads (Stinson SLP82)
  • America's Best Loved Folk Songs (Baton BL 1203/Warwick 2011)
  • Merry Ditties (Riverside RLP 12-603)
  • Traditional American Love Songs (Riverside RLP 12-634)
  • Goin’ Down to Town (Epic) by The Skifflers; later edited and re-released as Hootenanny with the Skifflers (Columbia HL7307) and Folk Songs (Perfect Records)
  • Everybody Sing! Volume 3 - Songs for Seniors (Riverside RLP 1420)

Credits[edit]

Harry Belafonte

  • Miriam Makeba (arranger) (RCA LSP 2267, 1960)
  • An Evening with Belafonte (arranger) (GOLD)
  • Belafonte Returns to Carnegie Hall (musical director) (GOLD)
  • Love Is a Gentle Thing (arranger)
  • My Lord What a Mornin’ (singer, arranger)
  • Swing Dat Hammer (singer, arranger)
  • To Wish You a Merry Christmas (arranger)


The Belafonte Folk Singers

  • “Cheers” (singer, arranger)
  • Presenting the Belafonte Singers (singer, arranger)


Karen Beth

  • Karen Beth (producer)


Leon Bibb

  • Leon Bibb Sings Folk Songs (conductor, producer)
  • Leon Bibb Sings Love Songs (arranger, conductor, producer)
  • Tol’ My Captain (arranger, conductor, producer)
  • The Brandywine Singers
  • . . . I’ve Lost My Yo-Yo? (musical director, producer)


The Brothers Four

  • A New World’s Record (musical director, producer)
  • Cross-Country Concert (arranger, musical director, producer)
  • Merry Christmas (arranger, musical director, producer)
  • More Big Folk Hits (musical director, producer)
  • Sing of Our Times (arranger, musical director, producer)
  • The Big Folk Hits (arranger, musical director, producer)
  • The Brothers Four Sing Lennon/McCartney (arranger, musical director, producer)
  • Try to Remember (arranger, musical director, producer)


Bud & Travis

  • Naturally (musical director, producer)


Shlomo Carlebach

  • At the Village Gate (arranger, conductor, producer)
  • In the Palace of the King (arranger, conductor, producer)
  • Sing My Heart (arranger, conductor, producer)
  • Songs of My Soul (conductor, producer)
  • Wake Up World! (arranger, conductor, producer)


Anita Carter

  • Anita of the Carter Family (arranger, musical director, producer)
  • Ring of Fire (arranger, producer)


Jim Connor

  • Jim Connor (producer)


Netania Davrath

  • Russian, Israeli and Yiddish Folk Songs (producer)


John Denver

  • Aerie (producer) (GOLD)
  • An Evening with John Denver (producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • Autograph (producer)
  • Back Home Again (producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • Best of the Rocky Mountain Collection (arranger, producer)
  • Christmas (arranger, producer)
  • Country Roads Collection (arranger, producer)
  • Dreamland Express (executive producer)
  • Farewell Andromeda (producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • Forever, John (arranger, producer)
  • Greatest Country Hits (arranger, producer)
  • It’s About Time (executive producer)
  • I Want to Live (producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • John Denver (arranger, producer) (GOLD)
  • John Denver’s Greatest Hits (producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • John Denver’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 (producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • John Denver’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 3 (executive producer)
  • Live at the Sydney Opera House (producer)
  • Live in London (producer)
  • One World (arranger, producer)
  • Poems, Prayers & Promises (arranger, producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • Portrait (producer)
  • Reflections: Songs of Love & Life (arranger, producer)
  • Rhymes & Reasons (arranger, producer)
  • Rocky Mountain Christmas (producer) (GOLD)
  • Rocky Mountain Collection (arranger, producer)
  • Rocky Mountain High (producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • Seasons of the Heart (executive producer)
  • Spirit (arranger, producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • Take Me to Tomorrow (arranger, producer)
  • VH1 Behind the Music: The John Denver Collection (arranger, producer)
  • Windsong (producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • Whose Garden Was This (producer)


John Denver & the Muppets


Plácido Domingo

  • “A Love Until the End of Time” (feat. Maureen McGovern) (arranger,producer)
  • Always in My Heart (producer)
  • Christmas with Plácido Domingo (producer)
  • Entre Dos Mundos (producer)
  • My Life for a Song (producer)
  • Perhaps Love (producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • Save Your Nights for Me (producer)
  • Fat City (Bill & Taffy Danoff)
  • Welcome to Fat City (arranger, producer)


The Gaslight Singers

  • The Gaslight Singers (arranger, musical director)
  • Turning It On (arranger)


Lynn Gold

  • Lynn Gold (musical director)


Mr. Greenjeans

  • Mama Goose & Papa Gander (arranger, conductor, producer)


Carolyn Hester

  • American Folk Songs (arranger, producer)


Lee Holdridge

  • Lee Holdridge & Orchestra (producer)
  • Nights in White Satin (producer)


Inman & Ira

  • The New Generation (musical director)


The Irish Rovers

  • On the Shores of Americay (arranger, producer)
  • The Best of the Irish Rovers (producer)
  • Tales to Warm Your Mind (arranger, producer)


Jim & Jean

  • Jim & Jean (musical director, producer)


Knob Lick Upper 10000

  • The Introduction of Knob Lick Upper 10000 (musical director, producer)
  • Workout!! (musical director, producer)


Liberty

  • Liberty (producer)


Miriam Makeba

  • Miriam Makeba (arranger, conductor, producer)


Jeane Manson

  • Jeane Manson (producer)


Mark & Sumley

  • Nice Things (arranger, producer)


Taro Meyer

  • Taro Meyer (producer)


Roger Miller

  • Off the Wall (producer)
  • Roger Miller (producer)


The Mission/The Montfort Mission

  • “Soulful” Sounds for a Church in Change (arranger, conductor, producer)
  • Yesterday’s Gone (arranger, producer)


The Chad Mitchell Trio/The Mitchell Trio

  • Alive! (arranger, producer)
  • At the Bitter End (arranger, producer)
  • Best of the Chad Mitchell Trio (arranger, producer)
  • Blowin’ in the Wind (arranger, producer)
  • In Action (musical director, producer)
  • Mighty Day on Campus (arranger, musical director, producer)
  • Reflecting (arranger, musical director, producer)
  • Reunion . . . Part 2 (arranger, producer)
  • Singin’ Our Minds (musical director, producer)
  • That’s the Way It’s Gonna Be (producer)
  • The Chad Mitchell Trio Arrives! (arranger, producer)
  • The Chad Mitchell Trio Collection (arranger, producer)
  • The Slightly Irreverent Mitchell Trio (arranger, musical director, producer)
  • Typical American Boys (musical director, producer)
  • Violets of Dawn (producer)


The Chad Mitchell Trio & the Gatemen

  • In Concert—Everybody’s Listening (arranger)


The Mitchell Trio featuring John Denver

  • Beginnings (arranger, producer)


Peter Morse

  • Goin’ Down to Town (arranger, musical director, producer)


Natural Acoustic Band

  • Branching In (producer)
  • Learning to Live (producer)


Laura Nyro

  • More Than a New Discovery (arranger, producer)
  • Stoned Soul Picnic: The Best of Laura Nyro (producer)
  • The First Songs (producer)


Odetta

  • Christmas Spirituals (arranger, conductor)
  • Livin’ with the Blues (conductor)
  • My Eyes Have Seen (choir conductor)


Esther Ofarim & Abraham

  • Esther & Abi Ofarim Sing! (arranger, musical director, producer)
  • Esther Ofarim & Abraham (arranger, musical director, producer)


Milton Okun

  • Adirondack Folk Songs and Ballads (singer)
  • America’s Best Loved Folk Songs (singer)
  • I Sing of Canada! (singer)
  • Jack Was Every Inch a Sailor (singer)
  • Merry Ditties (singer)
  • Traditional American Love Songs (singer)


Tom Paxton

  • The Complete Tom Paxton (arranger, producer)
  • The Marvelous Toy & Other Gallimaufry (arranger, producer)
  • Tom Paxton 6 (arranger, producer)


Peter, Paul and Mary

  • Album 1700 (musical director, producer) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • A Song Will Rise (musical director) (producer—uncredited) (GOLD)
  • In Concert (musical director) (producer—uncredited) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • In the Wind (musical director) (producer—uncredited) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • Late Again (musical director, producer)
  • (Moving) (musical director) (producer—uncredited) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • Peter, Paul and Mary (musical director) (producer—uncredited) (PLATINUM & GOLD)
  • Peter, Paul and Mommy (musical director, producer)
  • See What Tomorrow Brings (arranger, musical director) (producer—uncredited) (GOLD)
  • The Best of Peter, Paul & Mary: Ten Years Together (musical director, producer) (GOLD)
  • The Peter, Paul and Mary Album (musical director)(producer— uncredited)


The Phoenix Singers

  • In Concert (arranger, producer)
  • The Phoenix Singers (arranger, musical director, producer)


Flora Purim

  • Les Biches/Why Can't I Cry (arranger, producer)


The Revelers

  • The Revelers Sing (arranger, musical director, producer)


Paul Robeson

  • The Essential Paul Robeson (arranger—uncredited)


Ron & Nama

  • Donkey Debka! (arranger, producer)


The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

  • The Songs of John Denver (producer)


Martha Schlamme

  • Yiddish Folk Songs (arranger)


The Seafarers Chorus

  • Salty Seafaring Shanties (arranger, conductor)
  • We Sing of the Sea (arranger, conductor)


The Shaw Brothers

  • Follow Me (arranger, producer)
  • The Best of the Shaw Brothers (producer)


Ernie Sheldon & the Villagers

  • The Big Men Bold & Bad (musical director)


The Skifflers

  • Goin’ Down to Town (singer)


Michael Smotherman

  • Michael Smotherman (producer)


Starland Vocal Band

  • “Afternoon Delight” (arranger, producer)
  • Late Nite Radio (musical director, producer)
  • Rear View Mirror (musical director, producer)
  • Starland Vocal Band (musical director, producer) (GOLD)


Starwood

  • Home Brew (executive producer)


Peter Thom

  • Peter Thom (arranger, producer)


Mary Travers

  • Morning Glory (arranger, producer)
  • Mary (arranger, producer)


Various Artists

  • The New York Times Great Songs of the Sixties (producer)


Peter Yarrow

  • Peter (producer)

Books[edit]

*Review by What Is That Book About?
*Review by BookHounds

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ramone, Phil; Granata, Charles L. (2007). Making records: the scenes behind the music. Hyperion, ISBN 978-0-7868-6859-9
  2. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard book of number 1 hits, Billboard Books, ISBN 978-0-8230-7677-2
  3. ^ Okun, Milt (1968). Something to sing about: the personal choices of America's folk singers. Macmillan Company, ISBN 978-0-02-592820-6
  4. ^ [1]

External links[edit]