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Wesley Donald Farrell
December 21, 1939
New York City, U.S.
|Died||February 29, 1996 (aged 56)|
Coconut Grove, Florida, U.S.
|Occupation||Musician, songwriter, record producer|
(m. 1965; div. 1972)
(m. 1974; div. 1976)
(m. 1978; div. 1980)
(m. 1981; died 1996)
Farrell's catalogue includes close to 500 songs that he wrote, produced, or published. One of his earliest successes, "Boys" (co-written with Luther Dixon), appeared on the B-side of the Shirelles' number-one 1960 hit "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", and in 1963 was covered by the Beatles for their debut album Please Please Me. Farrell's biggest chart hit as a composer – the McCoys' 1965 US #1 single "Hang On Sloopy" (a reworking of "My Girl Sloopy", co-written with Bert Russell) – remains one of the most performed songs in the history of popular music, according to the RIAA.
Other Farrell pop hits include the Animals' UK debut single "Baby Let Me Take You Home" (co-written with Bert Russell, #21, 1964) and two 1964 releases for Jay and the Americans: "Come a Little Bit Closer" (co-written with songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, US #3) and "Let's Lock the Door (And Throw Away the Key)" (with Roy Alfred, US #11 in early 1965). Farrell also co-wrote "Come and Take a Ride in My Boat" (with Jerry Goldstein), slightly reworked in 1967 to provide Every Mother's Son with their signature hit "Come on Down to My Boat" (US #6). He also co-wrote (with Larry Kusik and Ritchie Adams) the song Happy Summer Days, a hit for Ronnie Dove in 1966.
Farrell's Top 40 hit "Look What You've Done" — first recorded in 1966 by the Pozo Seco Singers — appears on Carla Olson's 2013 album Have Harmony, Will Travel as a duet with Rob Waller (of I See Hawks in LA).
Success as a producer came in 1968 when Farrell produced "Indian Lake" for the Cowsills. The recording of that song written by Tony Romeo was a top ten hit. He produced three other tracks for that family band, including "Poor Baby" and "The Path of Love", also written by Romeo. His association with them continued, to some extent, when he was hired to produce the music for the recordings associated with the television show that was loosely based on their life and career. That show, which aired from 1970-1974, "The Partridge Family", featured the theme song, "C'mon Get Happy" which was written by Farrell (with Danny Janssen). Seven studio albums connected with the show were produced by Farrell. They included 30 songs which Farrell also co-wrote. Among those songs were "Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted" (with Jim Cretecos and Mike Appel), and "I'll Meet You Halfway" (with Gerry Goffin), which were both top ten U.S. hits. Unlike the Cowsills, who were actually featured on their own records, the albums produced under the name of the Partridge Family mostly featured session musicians now known as the Wrecking Crew with backing vocals by the Ron Hicklin Singers. The only cast members who contributed to the recordings were David Cassidy and to a much lesser extent, Shirley Jones.
Farrell was born in 1939 in New York City, New York. In 1965 he married Joan Arthurs, and they had a daughter, named Dawn. Farrell and Arthurs divorced in 1972. He was married to actress/singer Tina Sinatra (daughter of Frank) in 1974, and to actress Pamela Hensley in 1979; both marriages ended in divorce. Farrell was later married to real estate mogul Jean Inman and had two children, named Wesley and Sky. (Sky, a collage artist, died 29 Apr 2014 at age 28.) Farrell died of cancer aged 56 in 1996 in Coconut Grove, Florida.
- Lichtman, Irv (March 16, 1996). "Songwriter/Exec Wes Farrell Dies". Billboard. 108 (11): 13. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- American Film Institute (1997). The AFI Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1961-1970. University of California Press. p. 388. ISBN 0520209702.
- "Interview with Wes Farrell". CmonGetHappy.com. Tiger Beat special edition: "The Partridge Family Magazine". March 1971.
- Lichtman, Irv (March 16, 1996). "Songwriter/Entrepreneur Wes Farrell Dies". Billboard. 108 (11): 118. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- "Chelsea Hits Gold—Fast". Billboard. 84 (31): 3. July 29, 1972. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2012-11-25.