Jay Graydon

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Jay Graydon
Graydon in 2019.
Graydon in 2019.
Background information
Birth nameJay Joseph Graydon
Born (1949-10-08) October 8, 1949 (age 72)
Burbank, California
Occupation(s)Songwriter, producer
Associated acts

Jay Joseph Graydon[1] (born October 8, 1949, Burbank, California) is an American songwriter, recording artist, guitarist, singer, producer, arranger, and recording engineer. He is the winner of two Grammy Awards (in the R&B category) with twelve Grammy nominations, among them the title "Producer of the Year" and "Best Engineered Recording". He has mastered many different music styles and genres, and his recordings have been featured on record, film, television and the stage.


Graydon made his singing debut on his second birthday on the "Joe Graydon Show," the first music/talk television show in Los Angeles, hosted by his father, Joe Graydon.

During and for a brief time after his college days, Graydon played in the Don Ellis Band, whose style can be described as experimental post-bop jazz. He can be heard on the live double album Don Ellis at Fillmore and the studio albums The New Don Ellis Band Goes Underground, Connection and Soaring.

L. A. session musician[edit]

From the late 1960s to late 1970s Graydon was a session musician in Los Angeles, working with such artists as Gino Vannelli, Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, The Jackson Five, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Al Jarreau, Christopher Cross, Ray Charles, Cher, Joe Cocker, Marvin Gaye, Hall & Oates, Wayne Shorter, Olivia Newton-John, Albert King. One of Graydon's most notable session performances is his guitar solo on Steely Dan's 1977 hit single "Peg".

In 1977 he appeared as a character in a number of Doonesbury strips as Jay "Wah-Wah" Graydon.[2] Graydon played on the Jimmy Thudpucker album "Greatest Hits" along with Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn. He was the subject of the track "Fretman Sam" and played its guitar solo. He also programmed the synthesizers for the album.


Jay Graydon's production credits include work with Airplay, Air Supply, George Benson, Al Jarreau, DeBarge, El DeBarge, Sheena Easton, Art Garfunkel, The Manhattan Transfer, Johnny Mathis, Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, Dionne Warwick, Alan Sorrenti and the album They Don't Make Them Like They Used To by Kenny Rogers.

He started his own record label, Sonic Thrust Records, in 2001 to give himself creative and artistic freedom in his songwriting and producing profession. The label features straight-ahead jazz, adult contemporary pop, AAA, AOR, classic R&B, smooth jazz, and genuine retro surf from the 1960s

As a musician and recording engineer, he has often been a consultant and beta tester for new musical equipment and recording gear.


Graydon has written over 200 songs. His catalog includes the Grammy winners "Turn Your Love Around" (co-written with Steve Lukather and Bill Champlin) as performed by George Benson and "After the Love Has Gone" (co-written with David Foster and Bill Champlin) as performed by Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as "Who's Holding Donna Now" (DeBarge), "Friends in Love" (Dionne Warwick and Johnny Mathis), many songs written with and for Al Jarreau (including "Mornin'", "Breakin' Away", "High Crime", "After All", and "Roof Garden"), and several hits with Manhattan Transfer including "Twilight Zone", "On The Boulevard", "Smile Again" and "Spies in the Night". Many of his songs were co-written with David Foster. [1]

Writer and educator[edit]

Graydon has written numerous articles in music magazines, and has conducted seminars at Musician's Institute in Hollywood with guitarist Tommy Tedesco for over 15 years. He has been working on a series of books on recording techniques with Craig Anderton, a widely published and bestselling authority on recording technology. The books will discuss the subtleties of recording various instruments, as well as mixing.

Film scores[edit]

Graydon has participated as a musician and/or songwriter in over 50 film scores including The French Connection, Grease, Ghostbusters, St. Elmo's Fire, The Secret of My Success, Navy Seals, Lady Sings the Blues, The Greatest, Ghost Dad, Mahogany, and Thank God It's Friday.


Graydon has played on or written songs for The Andy Williams Show, The Jackson 5 Show, The Alan Thicke Show, The David Steinberg Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Soupy Sales Show, The Smothers Brothers Show, The Midnight Special, The First Rock and Roll Awards Show, Miami Vice, and Starsky and Hutch.

With Richard Page, he also wrote the second theme song for Gimme a Break!, which was used from its third through sixth seasons.

Key collaborations[edit]

Al Jarreau[edit]

Perhaps Graydon's most noted collaboration has been with Al Jarreau. Graydon was Jarreau's main songwriter/producer for in the early 1980s. Graydon produced Jarreau's albums This Time, Breakin' Away, Jarreau and High Crime, among others. Graydon also played guitar and synthesizer on these albums, as well as serving as songwriter, arranger and engineer.

David Foster[edit]

Foster and Graydon have worked together on several album projects, including the band Airplay, a pop-rock group they formed in the late 1970s, and the JT Super Producer concert in Japan in 1994 with René Angélil and Céline Dion[2].

Randy Goodrum[edit]

Graydon and Randy Goodrum formed a group named JaR. In 2008, they released an album titled Scene 29, described as "Steely Dan meets Airplay and Pages".[3]

Steely Dan[edit]

Graydon played the guitar solo on the song "Peg" on Steely Dan's 1977 album Aja.

David "Fathead" Newman[edit]


Solo albums[edit]

Year Albm Title Notes
1993 Airplay For The Planet
2001 Bebop
2006 Past To Present - The 70s
2008 Airplay For The Planet - Live In Japan


Year Artist Album Title Role(s)
1974 Boz Scaggs Slow Dancer Guitars
Joe Cocker I Can Stand a Little Rain
1975 Gino Vannelli Storm at Sunup
Aretha Franklin You
Barbra Streisand Lazy Afternoon
2nd Chapter of Acts In the Volume of the Book
1976 Albert King Albert
Candi Staton Young Hearts Run Free
Paul Anka The Painter
Jennifer Warnes Jennifer Warnes
Marvin Gaye I Want You
Donovan Slow Down World Synthesizer, programming
Cher I'd Rather Believe in You Guitar, mandolin
Stephen Bishop Careless Electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Gino Vannelli The Gist of the Gemini Electric guitar
1977 Olivia Newton-John Making a Good Thing Better Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, slide guitar
Dolly Parton Here You Come Again Pedal steel guitar
Boz Scaggs Down Two Then Left Guitar, guitar solo
Steely Dan Aja Guitar solo
Rhythm Heritage Last Night on Earth Lead guitar
Marlena Shaw Sweet Beginnings Guitar
Paul Anka The Music Man
Jackie DeShannon You're the Only Dancer
Leo Sayer Thunder in My Heart
Dionne Warwick Love at First Sight
Shaun Cassidy Born Late
Dalbello Lisa Dal Bello
Syreeta Wright Rich Love, Poor Love
1978 Various Artists Grease Soundtrack
Carole Bayer Sager ...Too
Leo Sayer Leo Sayer
Melissa Manchester Don't Cry Out Loud
Barbra Streisand Songbird
Dane Donohue Dane Donohue
Paul Anka Listen to Your Heart
Helen Reddy We'll Sing in the Sunshine
Juice Newton Well Kept Secret
Shaun Cassidy Under Wraps
Candi Staton House of Love
Valerie Carter Wild Child
2nd Chapter of Acts Mansion Builder
Ben E. King Let Me Live in Your Life
Rhythm Heritage Sky's the Limit Guitar, arranger, writer
Alice Cooper From The Inside Guitar, synthesizer programming
Brian Cadd Yesterdaydreams Synthesiser
Rita Coolidge Love Me Again Guitar, acoustic guitar
Nigel Olsson Nigel Olsson Guitar, electric guitar
Pages Pages Engineer, guitar, horns, keyboard programming, producer, songwriter
1979 Barbra Streisand Wet Electric guitar
Christopher Cross Christopher Cross Guitar solo
Cher Take Me Home Guitar
Paul Anka Headlines
Peter Allen I Could Have Been a Sailor
Yvonne Elliman Yvonne
Donna Summer Bad Girls
Rhythm Heritage Disco Derby
Nigel Olsson Nigel Electric guitar, acoustic guitar
The Manhattan Transfer Extensions Producer, arrangement, guitars, synthesisers, guitar solo, additional vocals, synthesizer programming, Mixing and Overdub Tracking
Marc Jordan Blue Desert Lead guitar, synthesiser, arranger, conductor, producer, engineer
Earth, Wind & Fire I Am Songwriter
1980 Peter Allen Bi-Coastal Guitar
2nd Chapter of Acts The Roar of Love
Syreeta Wright Syreeta Musician
Bernie Taupin He Who Rides the Tiger Electric Guitar
Mariya Takeuchi Miss M Acoustic and electric guitars, rhythm arrangement, backing vocals, songwriter
Airplay Airplay Producer, guitar, lead and backing vocals, overdubbing, mixing, songwriter
Al Jarreau This Time Synthesiser programming, electric guitar, rhythm arrangements, producer, engineer
1981 Breakin' Away Producer, mixing, songwriter, electric guitar, synthesiser programming, rhythm arrangements, vocal arrangements
Dolly Parton Dolly, Dolly, Dolly Guitar
Carole Bayer Sager Sometimes Late at Night
The Manhattan Transfer Mecca for Moderns Producer, songwriter, guitar, synthesiser, arrangements
Pages Pages Composer, engineer, guitar, mixing, producer, programming
1982 Herbie Hancock Lite Me Up Composer, engineer, guitar, producer, songwriter
Dionne Warwick Friends in Love Producer, rhythm arrangements, synthesisers, guitar, percussion, recording, mixing
1983 Donna Summer She Works Hard for the Money Songwriter, guitar
The Tubes Outside Inside Special Musical Contributor
Paul Anka Walk a Fine Line Composer
Sheena Easton Best Kept Secret Guitar, producer, engineer
Christopher Cross Another Page Guitar solo
David Foster The Best Of Me Composer, engineer, guitar, songwriter
Al Jarreau Jarreau Producer, songwriter, rhythm arrangements, guitar, synthesisers, guitar solo, engineering
1984 High Crime Producer, songwriter, guitar, arrangements, synthesisers, computer concept
1985 DeBarge Rhythm of the Night Producer, songwriter, guitars, synthesisers
1986 El DeBarge El DeBarge Synthesiser, guitar, songwriter, arranger, producer, engineer
Kenny Rogers They Don't Make Them Like They Used To Producer, engineer, songwriter, synthesisers, lead guitar, electronic drums, arrangements, guitar solo, drums, guitar lines
Al Jarreau L Is for Lover Songwriter
1988 Heart's Horizon Producer, songwriter, synthesisers
Art Garfunkel Lefty Producer, engineer
George Benson Twice the Love Producer, synthesisers, drums, arrangements, engineer, mixing
1989 El DeBarge Gemini Producer, songwriter
1993 Planet 3 Music From The Planet Guitars, keyboards, programming, mixing, recording
2004 Gems Unearthed Lead guitar, keyboards, programming, liner notes, mastering
2008 JaR Scene 29 Lead and backing vocals, guitar, drums, synthesiser, composer, arranger, producer, engineer, mixing and mastering

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Awarded Nominee/work Category Result Ref.
1980 "After the Love Has Gone" (Earth, Wind & Fire) Song of the Year (shared with Bill Champlin & David Foster) Nominated [4][5][6]
Best Rhythm & Blues Song (shared with Bill Champlin & David Foster) Won
1981 "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone" (The Manhattan Transfer) Best Arrangement for Voices (shared with Alan Paul) Nominated [7]
1982 Breakin' Away (Al Jarreau) Album of the Year (shared with Al Jarreau) Nominated [8]
"Kafka" (The Manhattan Transfer) Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices (shared with Bernard Kafka) Nominated
1983 "Turn Your Love Around" (George Benson) Best Rhythm & Blues Song (shared with Bill Champlin & Steve Lukather) Won [9]
1984 Jarreau (Al Jarreau) Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) Nominated [10]
Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical (shared with Ian Eales & Eric Prestis) Nominated
"Mornin'" (Al Jarreau) Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s) (shared with David Foster & Jeremy Lubbock) Nominated
"Step by Step" (Al Jarreau) Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s) (shared with Tom Canning, Jerry Hey & Al Jarreau) Nominated
1985 Ghostbusters Soundtrack (various artists) Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special (shared with various artists & producers) Nominated [11]
1986 St. Elmo's Fire Soundtrack (various artists) Nominated [12]


  1. ^ "Jay Graydon - SecondHandSongs". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  2. ^ Graydon, Jay (February 29, 2000). "MusicPlayer Forums: Jay Graydon here". musicplayer.com. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
  3. ^ JaR. CDBaby. Retrieved August 17, 2009.
  4. ^ "Jay Graydon - Artist". Grammy Award. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  5. ^ "Grammy Awards & Nominations". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  6. ^ "Grammy Awards 1980". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  7. ^ "Grammy Awards 1981". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  8. ^ "Grammy Awards 1982". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  9. ^ "Grammy Awards 1983". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  10. ^ "Grammy Awards 1984". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  11. ^ "Grammy Awards 1985". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  12. ^ "Grammy Awards 1986". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.

External links[edit]