Remembering Don Kirshner

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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Remembering Don Kirshner

They called him “The Man with the Golden Ear,” and with good reason: Don Kirshner was a songwriter, a producer, a music publisher, and a manager, and by the time he passed away on this date in 2011 at the age of 75, he was unquestionably as much of a music icon as the musicians he worked with.

Over the years, the media’s desire to boil everything down to the simplest possible bullet points has led to Kirshner’s legacy regularly being summed up with three key projects: The Monkees (he was responsible for corralling the songwriters to provide material for the group), The Archies (he assembled the studio musicians who portrayed the fictional band on their recordings), and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, the TV series which he produced and hosted. 

In an effort to help educate you about some of the other artists Kirshner was involved with, we’ve compiled a playlist which includes tracks from other folks from the Rhino roster which were fortunate enough to have Kirshner involved. In order to blow your mind, though, here’s a list of some of the TV series on which Kirshner was involved as a music consultant. It might not generally be a task for which he’s remembered, but it’s remarkable just how many TV classics he worked on.

1. Hazel (1966) – Shirley Booth starred in this sitcom about a maid named Hazel who rarely stops talking and remains constantly confident that she knows better than her employers, which regularly results in problematic situations.

2. Gidget (1966) – This lighthearted series about the adventures of a teenage beach girl nicknamed Gidget is remembered almost entirely because it introduced the world to a perky young actress named Sally Field.

3. Bewitched (1966-1967) – You know the story: a witch named Samantha defies the expectations of her mother and father by marrying a mortal named Darrin Stevens, who asks that his new wife stop using her powers, which she promptly failed to do for the entire run of the series. 

4. I Dream of Jeannie (1966-1967) – One good gorgeous blonde with magical abilities deserves another, which is probably why we ended up with the series about a genie who is rescued from imprisonment in her bottle by an astronaut and declares him to be her new master. 

5.The Persuaders! (1971-1972) – An underrated entry in the TV spy genre, this cult favorite starred Roger Moore and Tony Curtis as unlikely partners who travel the world on various missions. To say that the two actors take it over the top on occasion is an understatement, but oh what amazing fashions they sport during the course of the proceedings.

6. A Year at the Top (1977) – Okay, so this one might not qualify as a TV classic, but it’s one that’s known to a certain demographic due to its two soon-to-be-famous stars: Greg Evigan and Paul Shaffer, who played two struggling musicians who decided to sell their soul to the Devil in exchange for success. It never took off, unfortunately, resulting in a quick cancellation, but it lasted long enough for a soundtrack album to hit stores.