|Birth name||Alan Earle O'Day|
|Born||October 3, 1940|
|Died||May 17, 2013 (aged 72)|
Westwood, California, U.S.
Alan Earle O'Day (October 3, 1940 – May 17, 2013) was an American singer-songwriter, best known for writing and singing "Undercover Angel," a million-selling Gold-certified American No. 1 hit in 1977. He also wrote songs for many other notable performers, such as 1974's Helen Reddy No. 1 hit "Angie Baby" and the Righteous Brothers' No. 3 Gold hit "Rock and Roll Heaven". In the 1980s he moved from pop music to television, co-writing nearly 100 songs for the Saturday morning Muppet Babies series, and in the 1990s he wrote and performed music on the National Geographic series Really Wild Animals. O'Day also collaborated with Tatsuro Yamashita on a series of popular songs in Japan including "Your Eyes", "Magic Ways", "Christmas Eve" and "Fragile" (which Tyler the Creator interpolated in "Gone, Gone/Thank You").
Life and career
O'Day was born in Hollywood, California, United States, the only child of Earle and Jeannette O'Day, who both worked at the Pasadena Star-News. Earle took newspaper photos and did publicity for the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce. Jeannette wrote for the Star News, as well as being a schoolteacher in Thermal, California and other schools in the Coachella Valley.
O'Day stated that he remembered creating melodies on a xylophone at the age of six. By the fifth grade, his favorite artist was Spike Jones, and he was serenading his classmates on the ukulele. At Coachella Valley Union High School, after participating in a band called The Imperials, he started his own rock'n'roll band, The Shoves, with heavy influences from Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, and Fats Domino. A third band, The Renés (O'Day, Oscar Arias, Eddie Arias, Ernie Gurrola, Sal Velasquez, Johnny Alvarez & Don Duarte) played Latin and Mexican standards mixed with rock and roll tunes and gave him the opportunity to write his own songs. In 1959, R&B pioneer Johnny Otis auditioned the Renés after an auditioning singer they were backing didn't pass muster. Impressed with their playing and the O'Day compositions, Otis recorded and produced the band performing three O'Day originals and a few covers at El Dorado Studios in Hollywood over a few sessions. but the recordings were never released as most of the members of the Renés were minors..
In 1961, he found work via a friend from high school, Arch Hall, Jr., whose father, Arch Hall, Sr., was an independent movie producer. The senior Hall wrote and produced films that starred the junior Hall, and O'Day helped out with the sound, in 1962, acting as music editor on the film Eegah and musical director on Wild Guitar, sound recorder on 1963's The Sadist, and sound mixer on the 1964 What's Up Front! After Eegah, Arch Jr. and O'Day put together a four-piece band (called The Archers) played in clubs on the Sunset Strip such as Whisky a Go Go and Pandora's Box and served as the backing band for Dobie Gray.
Around 1965, O'Day was in the band Alan & Bob & Denny, a show group that did pop songs and some comedy. They played nightclubs in the Pasadena & Hollywood area, and were on The Ed Sullivan Show on November 14, 1965, as the backup band for singer/actress/comedian, Virginia O'Brien.
In 1969, he signed with E.H. Morris Music, followed by Warner Brothers Music in 1971, writing "The Drum," which became a hit single for Bobby Sherman. In 1974, three more of his songs did well: "Train of Thought," recorded by Cher, "Rock And Roll Heaven," recorded by The Righteous Brothers, and "Angie Baby," recorded by Helen Reddy.
"Angie Baby" hit No. 1 at the end of December 1974 and became one of Reddy's biggest-selling singles. In a 2006 article, O'Day said the song took three months to write; originally, it was loosely based on the character in the Beatles' "Lady Madonna". To make the character ("Angie") more interesting, he based her on a neighbor girl he had known who seemed "socially retarded". O'Day also thought of his own childhood; an only child who was often ill, many of his days were spent in bed with a radio to keep him company. O'Day showed the unfinished song to his therapist, who pointed out that the character's reactions were not those of a retarded person; O'Day then switched Angie from mentally "slow" to "crazy." This expanded to her living in a dream world of lovers, inspired by the songs on her radio. When an evil-minded neighbor tries to enter her room to take advantage of the girl, he is instead drawn into her reality, literally shrinking him down into her radio, "never to be found."
O'Day released his first solo album, Caress Me Pretty Music in 1973. The album was not a major commercial success and he temporarily put his recording career on hiatus.
In 1977, Warner Bros. Records formed Pacific Records as a label for their composers who also performed. O'Day was the first and only artist signed to the label, and its first release was "Undercover Angel." The song, which he described as a "nocturnal novelette," was released in February 1977. Within a few months it had become No. 1 in the country, and has sold approximately two million copies. It was also a hit in Australia, reaching No. 9 on the Australian Singles Chart. ("Undercover Angel" also landed O'Day in an exclusive club as one of only a handful of writers/performers to pen a No. 1 hit for themselves and a No. 1 for another artist.)
A follow-up single, "Started Out Dancing, Ended Up Making Love" stalled at No. 73, marking O'Day's second and last appearance on the US chart. Three years later, in March 1980, a song called "Skinny Girls" reached No. 11 on the Australian Singles Chart. In 1981, O'Day co-wrote "Your Eyes" with singer-songwriter Tatsuro Yamashita, which became a hit in Japan. This was one of many collaborations between O'Day and Yamashita, including songs such as "Fragile" and "Theme From Big Wave".
O'Day left Warner Brothers in 1982 to write and self-publish. In 1983, he was invited to Tokyo to co-write six more songs with Yamashita for his album Big Wave. The collaboration yielded a Gold Disc Award in Japan.
In February 2013, the label 1st Phase Records released a new album titled Make Me Believe. Co-produced by Alan O'Day and Ken Kaufman featuring country music recording artist Paul Scott, including two new original songs co-written by O'Day: "Uh-Uh (What She Wants)," and an unofficial NASCAR national anthem titled "NASCAR CRAZY". NASCAR Crazy" is a co-write by Alan O'Day and Ken Kaufman.
In 1983, O'Day met San Francisco's singer-songwriter Janis Liebhart, with whom he co-wrote a children's song for a new Saturday morning animated TV show, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies. Within eight years they had written almost 100 songs for the program, which won an Emmy Award, and has since been syndicated internationally.
The collaboration continued after Muppet Babies, as O'Day and Liebhart co-wrote for other children-focused projects, including National Geographic's Really Wild Animals, a series of videos which they helped produce and on which they also sang. They also worked on some children's products for Alaska Video.
O'Day lived in Nashville, to write and perform, and was also a musical and creative consultant. In 2012, he wrote and sang the title tune for the film, You Don't Say.
- "Angie Baby", US gold record
- "Undercover Angel", US gold record
- "Muppet Babies", nominated for an Emmy Award
- "Really Wild Animals", Parents' Choice Award
- "Big Wave" Tatsuro Yamashita collaboration, Gold Disk Award, Japan
- 1973: Songs by Alan O'Day (vol. 1)
- 1973: Caress Me Pretty Music
- 1977: Appetizers
- 1979: Oh Johnny!
- 1994: Music from National Geographic's Really Wild Animals, (Janis Liebhart & Alan O'Day)
- 2001: Undercover Angel 2001 (City Man Music, BMI, Warner/Chappell Music, ASCAP 634479217920)
- 2008: I Hear Voices
- 1964: "I Want a Girl for Xmas" (as Alan O'Day & the Knights)
- 1970: "Heavy Church" / "House on Sunrise Avenue" (co-produced by Snuff Garrett)
- 1973: "Somewhere She Is Sleeping" (produced by Dallas Smith)
- 1977: "Undercover Angel" / "Just You" (#1 U.S., #1 CAN, #4 NZ, #9 AUS, #43 UK)
- 1978: "Started Out Dancing, Ended Up Making Love" / "Angie Baby" (#73 U.S., #39 NZ)
- 1978: "Soldier of Fortune" (#103 U.S.)
- 1978: "Satisfied"
- 1979: "Oh Johnny!" / "People Who Talk to Themselves" (#124 U.S.)
- 1980: "Skinny Girls" / "Oh Johnny!" (#11 AUS, #110 U.S.) (above six produced by Steve Barri)
- 2008: "I Hear Voices"
- 2012: "You Don't Say"
- "Theme from Eegah", 1961 (co-written and recorded by Arch Hall Jr & the Archers)
- "Wild Guitar", 1962 (co-written and recorded by Arch Hall Jr & the Archers)
- "Yes I Will", 1962 (recorded by Arch Hall Jr & the Archers)
- "Funky Funky Feelin", 1964 (recorded by Dobie Gray)
- "No Top (Just a Suit)", 1964 co-written by Charlene Groman (recorded by Danny Hamilton)
- "Back to Oklahoma", 1970 (recorded by Ned Miller)
- "Heavy Church", 1970 (recorded by Three Dog Night and Al Wilson)
- "House on Sunrise Avenue", 1970 (recorded by Bonnie Guitar)
- "Are You Old Enough", 1971 (recorded by Mark Lindsay)
- "Caress Me Pretty Music", 1971 (recorded by David Clayton-Thomas, Susan Hart, Dewey Martin, Anne Murray , Patrick Norman, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Lon Satton, Bobby Sherman, & Foster Sylvers,)
- "The Drum", 1971 (recorded by Bobby Sherman), No. 29 U.S. (Other recordings by Marti Caine, Pete Fountain, Lill-Babs & the Mills Brothers)
- "Gifts", 1971 (recorded by Bells, Tony Christie & Saori Minami)
- "Good Time Song", 1971 co-written with Artie Wayne (recorded by Bobby Sherman)
- "You Better Start Singing Soon", 1971 (recorded by Mike Clifford)
- "American Family", 1972 (recorded by Larry Carlton, Raiders, & the Vogues)
- "Easy Evil" 1972 (recorded by Long John Baldry,Sonny Bottari U.S. #139, Captain & Tennille, Larry Carlton, Climax, Coven, Jackie DeShannon, Friends of Distinction, Patsy Gallant, Gary Glitter, Bobby Hart, Hedva & David, Marcia Hines, Mieko Hirota, Walter Jackson, John Kay U.S. #92, Peggy Lee, Lettermen, Lulu, New Birth, Johnny Nicol, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Genya Ravan, Merl Saunders, Marlena Shaw, Nancy Sinatra, Dusty Springfield, Sugarloaf, Sylvia U.S. R&B #61, Three Dog Night, Sarah Vaughan, John Travolta, Travis Wammack U.S. #85 and Nancy Wilson, among others)
- "Spin Away", 1972 (recorded by Lettermen, Saori Minami & Ted Neeley)
- "Dirty Movies", 1973 (recorded by Flash Cadillac)
- "Do Me Wrong, But Do Me", 1973 (recorded by Mel Carter, Chris Christian, Homo-sapiens, Jack Jones, Johnny Mathis, Megan McDonough, Julie Rogers, Wilma Reading & not-yet-released Barbra Streisand)
- "Flashback", 1973 (recorded by The 5th Dimension, co-written with Artie Wayne, #82 US, #30 US AC, #75 US R&B, #60 Australia) (Other recordings by Paul Anka #100 U.S., Cilla Black, Blue Swede, Cher, Stein Ingebrigtsen, Tom Jones, & Bjorn Skifs)
- "Get It Off, Get It On", 1973 (recorded by Saori Minami, produced by George Clinton)
- "Like A Main Theme", 1973 (recorded by Nana Mouskouri)
- "Rubberene", 1973 co-written with Mat Camison & Maurice Vidalin (recorded by Davy Jones)
- "Angie Baby", 1974 (recorded by Helen Reddy), No. 1 U.S., produced by Joe Wissert. (Other recordings by Ray Conniff, Chelsea Cullen, Syd Dale, Barbara Dickson, Anne Lise Gjostel, George Greeley, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Hanne Krogh as "Rare Lina", Stephanie Lai as "Mo Wei Ai Shang Be!", Reg Livermore, Paul Mauriat, Pete Moore, Erick Sermon on "Hip Hop Radio", Uncle Devil Show & Sylvie Vartan.)
- "Every Man Wants Another Man's Woman", 1974 (recorded by Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gene Redding & Sami Jo).
- "Real Emotion", 1974 (recorded by Anne Murray)
- "Rock and Roll Heaven", 1974, co-written by Johnny Stevenson (recorded by The Righteous Brothers), No. 3 U.S., produced by Dennis Lambert, Eddie Lambert, and Brian Potter. (Other recordings by Climax No. 102 U.S. Flash Cadillac, Sonny Geraci, Ricky May, Ronnie McDowell/Bill Medley/John Schneider as "Country Heaven" and Zdravko Colic.)
- "Rock 'n' Roll ABC's", 1974 (recorded by Freddie Cannon No. 107 U.S.)
- "Train of Thought", 1974 (recorded by Cher) – No. 18 U.S., No. 22 Canada, produced by Snuff Garrett. (Other recordings by Gene Pitney, Steppenwolf & Sylvia Vartan)
- "Annie Annie Over", 1975 (recorded by Steppenwolf)
- "Blue Finger Lou", 1975 (recorded by Anne Murray) (Also recorded by Vicki Brown, Bobby Edwards, Family Four, Donny Most, Tony Orlando & Dawn, & Gro Anita Schonn, )
- "Catch My Breath", 1977 (recorded by Helen Reddy)
- "Undercover Angel", 1977 (recorded by Leslie Cheung, Jurgen Drews as "Unnahbarer Engel", Grethe Kausland, Pete Moore, Wess as "Se Non Fossi Matto", Kari Tapio as "Unten Enkelit" & Sylvie Vartan as "Mon Ciel de Lit".)
- "Satisfied", 1978 (recorded by Mary McGregor)
- "Love at First Night", 1979 (recorded by Kim Hart, Australia Top 10, New Zealand Top 20)
- "Every Night", 1980 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita)
- "I Love You Eyes", 1983 (recorded by Ray Price)
- "Talk Crazy to Me", 1983 co-written by Margaret Harris (recorded by Girl Talk & Pia Zadora)
- "I Love You (Part 2), 1984 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita) (Also recorded by 14 Karat Soul)
- "Jody", 1984 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita) (Also recorded by Jeffrey Foskett, & Kalapana)
- "Magic Ways", 1984 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita)
- "Only With You", 1984 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita) (Also recorded by Jeffrey Foskett)
- "Theme from the Big Wave", 1984 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita)
- "Your Eyes", 1984 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita) (Also recorded by Jun Fukamachi, Marilyn Martin, Bonnie Pink, Diane Reeves,& Mariya Takeuchi,)
- "Mermaid", 1985 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita)
- "One Step Beyond", 1985 co-written by Steven A. Williams (recorded by Arashi & Shonentai)
- "Hungry", 1986 co-written by K.A. Parker (recorded by Priscilla Wright)
- "Lady Blue", 1986 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita) (Also recorded by Tom Keane)
- "Fish", 1987 co-written by Tatsuro Yamashita (recorded by Jeffrey Foskett)
- "Replace the Face", 1987 (recorded by Dave Mason & Steppenwolf)
- "Girl in White," 1988 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita) (Also recorded by 14 Karat Soul & Tom Keane)
- "Love and Let Live" 1988 (recorded by Olivia Newton-John)
- "Christmas Eve (English version)", 1992 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita) (Other recordings by Beni, Commodores, Eric Martin, Modern Folk Quartet & Pentatonix)
- "Get Back in Love", 1992 co-written by Tatsuro Yamashita. (recorded by 14 Karat Soul)
- "There's Only One Ariel" 1992 co-written by Janis Liebhart (recorded by Kath Souci/Aleta Braxton/Angie Jaree/Janis Liebart/Susie Stevens on Little Mermaid: Songs from the Sea)
- "Fragile", 1998 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita) (Interpolated by Tyler the Creator in "Gone, Gone/Thank You" No. 79 Australia).
- "Wangan Skier (Here We Go Now)", 1998 co-written by Tatsuro Yamashita (recorded by Shonentai), No. 15 Japan
- "Love Can Go the Distance", 2000 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita), No. 18 Japan (Also recorded by Jeffrey Foskett)
- "My Summer Love", 2005 co-written by Yoshiyuki Sahashi (recorded by Emi Fujita)
- "Window Shopping", 2005 co-written by Seiji Kameda (recorded by Emi Fujita)
- "Angel of the Light", 2008 (co-written and recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita), No. 4 Japan
- "Shy Boy", 2008 (co-written and recorded by Ryan Laird)
- "Elmo Didn't Mean To", 2011, co-written by Christine Ferraro & Janis Liebhart (Recorded by Elmo)
- "'Undercover Angel' Singer Alan O'Day Dead at 72". Billboard. May 18, 2013.
- "'Undercover Angel' Singer Alan O'Day Dead at 72". Billboard. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
- Seida, Linda. "Biography: Alan O'Day". Allmusic. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
- Larkin, Colin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1851. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
- "Alan O'Day". www.alanoday.com. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
- Linna, Marian (2005). Liner Notes of "Wild Guitar" CD. Norton Records.
- "Alan O'day | Singer Alan O'day Dies | Contactmusic.com". Contactmusic.com. May 19, 2013. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 221. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 404. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
- "Singles Chart". Cashbox. December 10, 1977.
- "Singles Chart". Record World. November 24, 1979.
- "Singles Chart". Record World. February 23, 1980.
- "Singles Chart". Record World. May 12, 1973.
- "Singles chart". Cashbox. September 23, 1973.
- "R&B Singles Chart". Cashbox. July 20, 1974.
- "Singles Chart". Record World. October 25, 1975.
- "Original versions of Easy Evil by Sarah Vaughan". Secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
- "Singles Chart". Record World. December 1, 1973.
- "Singles Chart". Cashbox. July 28, 1973.
- "Singles Chart". Record World. September 7, 1974.
- "Singles Chart". Record World. July 6, 1974.
- "Australia Singles Chart". ARIA. May 27, 2019.