SLY STONE MEETS DORIS DAY
DORIS DAY, who was one of the 1950s biggest stars, died 13 May 2019.
It seems a bizarre confrontation – SLY STONE and DORIS DAY.
Yet this is the story of their meeting, as recounted in my book
'DON'T CALL ME NIGGER, WHITEY:
SLY STONE AND BLACK POWER'
Terry Melcher was a young, hip, well-connected West Coast scenester, an industry apparatchik, a friend of Brian and Dennis Wilson, a colleague of the high-flying Byrds. As staff-producer for Columbia Records he – and his mother, were destined to be drawn into Sly’s circle too. He was the son of fifties star Doris Day by her second husband – musician Al Jorden, although Terry took the surname of her third husband Martin Melcher. Terry was born 8th February 1942 in New York City, and made his debut as a singer, cutting several solo sides for Columbia as ‘Terry Day’. When they failed to make waves, he moved behind the mixing desk instead, shifting his attentions to production with greater results, turning out a string of moderate hits in the sun-surf genre for artists as unlikely as Pat Boone and Wayne Newton, then for the Rip Chords, and – with future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, as ‘Bruce & Terry’. But it was his work buffing and tweaking eight best-selling albums for Paul Revere & The Raiders, and then five for the Byrds, that established him as a name and a fixture in his own right.
The one-time Doris von Kappelhoff, born in Cincinnati in 1924, had been a child star since the age of twelve, starting out as a dancer, until an autowreck forced her switch to singing. She’d then been a radio and dance-band singer during the forties, fending off the predatory advances of musicians while touring in the big-band era – and an American ‘forces favourite’ with her easy-listening 1945 record “Sentimental Journey”. Her film debut came in 1948, replacing Betty Hutton who had pulled out of ‘Romance On The High Seas’, and from there she went on to star in a series of chirpy Warner Brothers movie musicals such as ‘Lullaby Of Broadway’ (1951), the light comedy-Western ‘Calamity Jane’ (1953), and as a strong independent shop steward in ‘The Pyjama Game’ (1957), which all capitalised on the freckled peanut-butter girl-next-door cuteness she so effortlessly oozed. There was potent on-screen chemistry enlivening her romantic comedies with Rock Hudson too, their engaging arguments over sharing a telephone party-line lead to amorous entanglements in ‘Pillow Talk’ in 1959, making her an even more massive star. Later, her 1964 success with ‘Move Over Darling’ brought her back into the charts and renewed her celebrity for the new generation. But behind the image, all was less than sunshine. Her seventeen-year marriage to manager/ agent Martin Melcher – credited as co-producer of ‘Pillow Talk’, among other of her movies, ended in tears. A strict Christian Scientist, he’d over-controlled and stymied her career, and when he died in 1968 she discovered he’d also mismanaged and embezzled some $20-million of her money. Also that he’d mistreated her son, Terry.
An excerpt from my book...