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September 4, 2015

Don Kirshner, Rock Producer Behind 'The Monkees,' Dead at 76

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 18th 2011 3:00PM
Don KirshnerDon Kirshner, the veteran music producer, promoter and host of the long-running late night music show 'Don Kirshner's Rock Concert,' has passed away.

Kirshner died of heart failure in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 76.

As co-founder of the Aldon music publishing company, he published such hits as 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow'?, 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'' and 'Sugar, Sugar.' Kirshner was also a major force behind the wacky Beatles copy band The Monkees.

Kirshner didn't create 'The Monkees,' but he had a big hand in creating The Monkees -- Mickey Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork. The studio hired him to create the music and the sound for the band when the show first started. He hired many session musicians and friends -- such as Carole King and Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart -- to write and/or play on the songs, including 'Last Train To Clarksville' and 'I'm A Believer.' When he eventually left the show, the band started to play their own instruments more.

Kirshner then moved on to a Saturday morning cartoon, 'The Archies,' which spawned another hit.

Kirshner was the music supervisor on such shows as 'The Persuaders,' 'The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan,' and 'The Adventurer.' He was also a music consultant on 'Bewitched' and 'I Dream of Jeannie,' which probably explains some of their music-oriented episodes, such as the 'Jeannie' episode that featured Boyce and Hart as nobodies that Jeannie blinks into a hit band.

He actually started his career writing commercial jingles with another music legend, Bobby Darin, in the 1950s, who he met in a candy store. He went on to manage Darin's career.

ABC's 'Don Kirshner's Rock Concert' was an important show in rock history. Not only did it come way before MTV, it featured everyone from The Rolling Stones and David Bowie to The Police and Bruce Springsteen actually performing their songs live. It debuted in 1973 and ended in 1981.

Kirshner is survived by his wife, two children, and five grandchildren.

[YouTube has several videos of performances from 'Don Kirshner's Rock Concert.']

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Copy band?
Uh, NO.

January 18 2011 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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