? This is a sobering question, and a topic for endless debate. The fact is that Boylan DID assemble what was later to become one of the most successful rock bands in history. It happened at the Troubadour, West Hollywood's famous gathering place for aspiring musicians, when
asked him to help her put a band together for her next tour. Boylan agreed and would then seek out and recruit relative unknowns,
, who were all accomplished players, great singers, prolific songwriters, and whose vocal blend was magical. This quartet would work for
for little more than a year and one album before learning that they had a uniqueness all of their own -- and Boylan encouraged them to exploit it. These four young men were the founding members of
and they would go on to span three decades of enormous success, selling more records than any other American group in history.
(born March 21, 1941, New York, NY) was a Theater Arts major at Bard College in New York before beginning his career as a songwriter. After graduation he and his brother, Terence Boylan
, beat on enough doors to get jobs with well-known music publisher Charles Koppelman
, but for very little pay. There would, however, be a payoff since one of Boylan's songs attracted the attention of Rick Nelson during the late '60s and started dialogue between the two. This led to a relationship, which landed him the job as Nelson's producer, and as the architect of the original Stone Canyon Band
. With Boylan's influence, Nelson's career would become revitalized with the hit single, "She Belongs to Me."
Boylan left New York for L.A. in 1969 where he knew there would be a much larger pool of production clients and whose music would be enhanced by the introduction of his new ideas, which included blends of traditional folk music and rock & roll. He became busy almost immediately taking on production responsibilities for the Association
and then for Dillards
, yet conserving enough time between recording sessions to prospect for new artists. One of these artists was the aforementioned Linda Ronstadt
, whose career Boylan almost single-handedly boosted into orbit. As Boylan helped her to escape mediocrity he would also sign on as her manager and be directly involved in securing the best possible label deals for her -- just more evidence to support the well-rounded make up of this future icon.
In the mid '70s, Boylan's studio prowess really began to gain him notoriety, and after producing albums for Pure Prairie League
, Commander Cody
, and others he was approached by a friend who played him a demo of a heavy metal band called Boston
. He was so impressed by the unique melodic quality up against the hard-driving rock sound that he had to throw in with the group as their co-producer, sharing the production duties with Tom Scholz, the band's founder, leader, and primary songwriter. The record cover was that of a surrealistic guitar-like spaceship, and it appeared to "fly" off record store shelves making Boston
's 1976 debut album of Boston the fastest selling first release in the history of recorded music. The group's label, Epic Records, would further reward Boylan for his success by offering him the position of Vice President, West Coast, which he accepted.
During Boylan's ten years as Epic's VP he produced many, many albums by artists who were signed to the label. One of these artists was Charlie Daniels, whose 1979 album -- Million Mile Reflections
, featuring the single "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" -- sold over three million copies and earned Daniels
a Grammy as well as CMA's Single of the Year award. A long and fruitful relationship developed between Boylan and Daniels
, and several more successful albums would follow. Also during this same period, Boylan ventured out and would discover a new group based in Australia called Little River Band
. Since his contract with Epic permitted him to record one album per year outside of the label, Boylan decided to take a chance with them. The result was four platinum albums and six Top Ten singles.
In 1986, Sony purchased Epic Records together with sister label Columbia Records. And since Boylan was feeling the urge to get back to work as an independent producer, he decided to put his own company, Great Eastern Music, back into operation, and at the same time upgraded his own personal recording studio to a state-of-the-art digital facility. One of his first projects stands out because of its peculiar nature. Longtime friend and Geffen Records founder David Geffen
asked Boylan to take on production of an album featuring the characters of the hit TV show, The Simpsons, which, by his own account, turned out to be the most challenging production project of his career. He was surprised and relieved that the actors were at least capable of singing in their characters' own voices. The album, The Simpsons Sing the Blues
, was released in 1990 and sold over four million albums, and at the same time made Boylan's name synonymous with children's music.
Boylan found a new passion in producing children's music and would go on to produce Chipmunks in Low Places, a certified platinum smash, and its follow-up, A Very Merry Chipmunk. His next project would be one of his all time favorites, which was Kermit Unpigged by the Muppets
. He called upon his old pals, Don Henley
, Linda Ronstadt
, and several others, to join in the fun. Then what followed was the opportunity for Boylan to work on the massive 1998 ABC-TV prime time special of Elmopalooza that featured a host of top stars, including Celine Dion
, Gloria Estefan
, and Kenny Loggins
. This extravaganza took over a year to produce, and much of it was done in Boylan's own studio. The production was also released on DVD, CD, audio, and videocassette. John Boylan
would win a Grammy Award for Elmopalooza -- Best Musical Album of the Year.
There are other sides of John Boylan
that must not be understated. For example, over the years he has worked on several motion picture soundtracks. Among the most notable are, Urban Cowboy
(yielding the huge number one hit, "Lookin' for Love"), Footloose
, and Born on the Fourth of July, to name just a few. Boylan was, is, and will always be regarded by his peers as the consummate recording professional, remaining active only until the desire runs out, which won't be anytime soon.