Book review: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music by Ted Templeman as told to Greg Renoff

Ted Templeman

ECW Press [Publication date 21.04.20]

Ted Templeman started out on the other side of the mixing desk as a musician, being part of Harpers Bizarre who had a number of US hits, the most well-known being ‘59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)’. It is fascinating to discover his early musical roots and influences.

The Doobie Brothers rise to becoming a touring success and having a string of hit albums and singles is well covered. Ted Templeman is honest over some mistakes he may have made and also the insight to his relationship with band members and how they evolved one Michael McDonald joined the band.

The Van Halen days get plenty of coverage, which is to be expected as Greg Renoff wrote the well-received ‘Van Halen Rising’ book. He obviously cared a lot about the band and certainly seemed to put a lot of effort into making them known. Bizarre how various musical paths cross, as he worked on with Montrose and Sammy Hagar (on his ‘VOA’ album) earlier in his career, only for Hagar to replace Roth in Van Halen and signal the end also of Templeman producing the band’s albums.

Interesting the account of working with Dave Lee Roth on his solo EP and how he got names like Carl Wilson and Christopher Cross to guest on the Beach Boys cover ‘California Girls’. Roth stitched him up though asking him to work on his next solo album after they worked together on ‘Eat ‘Em And Smile’. Ted Templeman was due to produce Aerosmith’s next album ‘Permanent Vacation’ (he produced that band’s comeback album ‘Done With Mirrors’), but declined as Roth asked him to work with him, only to tell Ted he no longer wanted to work with him.

Ted Templeman also co-produced the Private Life album with Eddie Van Halen. A band that gained rave reviews back in the day (late 80’s) but never really made an impact, although singer/keys player Jennifer Blakeman is now a leading music executive.

Outside of the rock side of music he also worked with Carly Simon, Van Morrison and Bette Midler, all of whom have interesting stories told about them and working with them.

The 90’s are covered quite briefly and to date the last album he produced was the 2010 album ‘World Gone Crazy’ by the Doobie Brothers.

An entertaining read for any fan of the Doobie Brothers and Van Halen, plus those who enjoy getting more insight to how great music and albums are made. It’s not a muck raking or tell all memoir, more giving his side of the some of the famous albums and bands he has been involved in.

By Jason Ritchie

The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk

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