It Started with a Clock Radio. All over America, kids were lulled to sleep each night and resurrected in time for school each morning by the seditious strains of rock and roll.
The radio landscape of the mid 50’s and 60’s was an endless banquet of quirky productions, hymns to love unrequited, insidious grooves, novelty tunes and above all, a sense of danger and excitement. Artists took chances and no one looked back. An entire generation was going someplace – together.
Ned Doheny was born at The Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles in 1948. His mother was a lover of Broadway Musicals, while his father tended more toward be-bop and film scores. As a child, he would lie between the speakers on the floor of his parent’s library memorizing every note of his father’s old jazz records. Every night it was the clock radio; the little bulb inside casting a sprawl of diagonal lines across the ceiling, while perfect guitars, ravaged hearts and gum-popping beehives from the East Coast put into words those feelings for which he had no language. The appearance of an acoustic guitar under the Christmas tree changed everything.
He played his first recording session while still in High School. Not long after, he was tagged by Frazier Mohawk and Elektra Records to play on an album at Paxton Lodge with his pal Jackson Browne. He recorded and toured with jazz great Charles Lloyd, eventually performing at McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary. After a year of classical guitar study with Fred Noad, he traveled to England where he was asked to join a group with Dave Mason and Cass Elliot. Disenchanted with the group’s management, he returned to Los Angeles where Jackson’s involvement with David Geffen would guide him to a recording contract at Asylum Records and his first album: “Ned Doheny”. He was 22.
Ned would go on to make two more albums for Columbia Records: “Hard Candy” and “Prone”, and have his tunes recorded by Chaka Khan, George Benson, Melissa Manchester, Johnny Rivers, and Dave Mason, to name a few. Sampling would make his music accessible to a succession of hip-hop and rap artists. One of his songs, “To Prove My Love”, would become an underground dance hit in England and a seminal influence in the world of house music. He would work with childhood guitar heroes Steve Cropper and Lonnie Mack and learn about recording from the likes of Glyn Johns, Al Schmitt and Paul Rothchild. In 1978, the Japanese recording industry would reach out to him – an association that would last well into the 90s.
The new century would see the music world turned upside down by innovations in technology. Domination by the big labels would give way to home recording and the rise of the independents, while the Internet would put unprecedented creative and marketing power into the hands of the rank and file. With his son in college and his marriage behind him, it was time to explore: “The Darkness Beyond the Fire”.