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Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music

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Crafting smash hits with Van Halen, The Doobie Brothers, Nicolette Larson, and Van Morrison, legendary music producer Ted Templeman changed the course of rock history This autobiography (as told to Greg Renoff) recounts Templeman’s remarkable life from child jazz phenom in Santa Cruz, California, in the 1950s to Grammy-winning music executive during the ’70s and ’80s. Crafting smash hits with Van Halen, The Doobie Brothers, Nicolette Larson, and Van Morrison, legendary music producer Ted Templeman changed the course of rock history This autobiography (as told to Greg Renoff) recounts Templeman’s remarkable life from child jazz phenom in Santa Cruz, California, in the 1950s to Grammy-winning music executive during the ’70s and ’80s. Along the way, Ted details his late ’60s stint as an unlikely star with the sunshine pop outfit Harpers Bizarre and his grind-it-out days as a Warner Bros. tape listener, including the life-altering moment that launched his career as a producer: his discovery of the Doobie Brothers. Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music takes us into the studio sessions of No. 1 hits like “Black Water” by the Doobie Brothers and “Jump” by Van Halen, as Ted recounts memories and the behind-the-scene dramas that engulfed both massively successful acts. Throughout, Ted also reveals the inner workings of his professional and personal relationships with some of the most talented and successful recording artists in history, including Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Eric Clapton, Lowell George, Sammy Hagar, Linda Ronstadt, David Lee Roth, and Carly Simon.


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Crafting smash hits with Van Halen, The Doobie Brothers, Nicolette Larson, and Van Morrison, legendary music producer Ted Templeman changed the course of rock history This autobiography (as told to Greg Renoff) recounts Templeman’s remarkable life from child jazz phenom in Santa Cruz, California, in the 1950s to Grammy-winning music executive during the ’70s and ’80s. Crafting smash hits with Van Halen, The Doobie Brothers, Nicolette Larson, and Van Morrison, legendary music producer Ted Templeman changed the course of rock history This autobiography (as told to Greg Renoff) recounts Templeman’s remarkable life from child jazz phenom in Santa Cruz, California, in the 1950s to Grammy-winning music executive during the ’70s and ’80s. Along the way, Ted details his late ’60s stint as an unlikely star with the sunshine pop outfit Harpers Bizarre and his grind-it-out days as a Warner Bros. tape listener, including the life-altering moment that launched his career as a producer: his discovery of the Doobie Brothers. Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music takes us into the studio sessions of No. 1 hits like “Black Water” by the Doobie Brothers and “Jump” by Van Halen, as Ted recounts memories and the behind-the-scene dramas that engulfed both massively successful acts. Throughout, Ted also reveals the inner workings of his professional and personal relationships with some of the most talented and successful recording artists in history, including Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Eric Clapton, Lowell George, Sammy Hagar, Linda Ronstadt, David Lee Roth, and Carly Simon.

30 review for Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN* (on hiatus)

    A funny anecdote about why I wanted to read this book: It was a case of mistaken identity. I thought Ted Templeman was Motley Crue's producer of their earlier albums, but it was actually Tom Werman! I kept wondering when I was going to get to the part in this book where they covered the antics of the wiley Motley Crue members, but it never came. A quick google search uncovered my mistake, lol. But it turns out that Ted Templeman discovered and signed the iconic hard rock band Van Halen, and he p A funny anecdote about why I wanted to read this book: It was a case of mistaken identity. I thought Ted Templeman was Motley Crue's producer of their earlier albums, but it was actually Tom Werman! I kept wondering when I was going to get to the part in this book where they covered the antics of the wiley Motley Crue members, but it never came. A quick google search uncovered my mistake, lol. But it turns out that Ted Templeman discovered and signed the iconic hard rock band Van Halen, and he produced practically all of their albums. He also discovered, signed and produced The Doobie Brothers. Over the years he worked with musical artists such as Van Morrison, Michael McDonald, Nicolette Larson, Ronnie Montrose, Bette Midler, Carly Simon and many others. As a child Ted was exposed to a wide range of musical styles, particularly black r&b music, while working in the music store his grandfather owned. He learned how to play the trumpet and the drums and found some mild success in a band called The Tikis. When it was discovered that there was already a band with that name, they went under The Other Tikis. The band evolved into another entity called "Harpers Bizarre" which pulled him from his comfort zone behind the drums and pushed him into the forefront as co-lead singer. Working in the recording studio he realized that he was more fascinated with working behind the recording console. He used his musical industry contacts to ask to hang out watching recording sessions. He was very lucky to have witnessed an incredible recording session for Frank Sinatra as well as Elvis Presley. While still in Harpers Bizarre, they were fortunate to be a supporting act to The Beach Boys. They are a great favorite band of mine, so I was thrilled- and hung upon every word- of a backstage practice session conducted by lead Beach Boy Brian Wilson. Ted marvelled in amazement at how perfect their harmonies blended under the tutelage of Brian, even superior to that of "The Four Freshman" whom Brian idolized. Ted also talked about the exquisite Fender branded musical equipment that The Beach Boys used, finding their live performance sound to be superb. Ted eventually transitioned from musical performer to record producer and vice president of Warner Brother Records. Ted covers the evolution of The Doobie Brothers from his signing of the band through the intricate details of recording their albums. After great success, one of the main singers/songwriters in the band had to take leave due to personal issues, which was a major crisis to be navigated. This is where the great talent of Michael MacDonald was infused into the band. While it brought wild success, especially with the song "What a Fool Believes", Michael's inclusion in the Doobie Brothers changed its previous rock flavor to a more soulful and r&b feel. However, the biggest chunk of the book is devoted to Van Halen! They came to fame when I was in high school in the late seventies. I love their first album and songs such as "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" and "Jamie's Cryin". Ted covers everything from soup to nuts with this band. In his mind, Eddie Van Halen is the greatest lead guitarist that ever existed. He didn't feel the same about flamboyant singer David Lee Roth, but admired his intelligence, work ethic and incredible talent to write great lyrics on the spot. Ted also considered it divine providence that all the band members and himself lived about 4 minutes from each other in Pasadena, CA. Ted also loved the large, cement basement rehearsal area in David Lee Roth's house (his father was a physician) where Van Halen would practice and crank out new material. This book really impressed me with how good it was. The narrative was so well-spoken and sounded like Ted Templeman was just talking to you. The writing style flowed easily, and I could put the book down and read something else and come back to it without losing a beat. This book was an absolute joy to read. Thank you to the publisher ECW Press who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    William Lawrence

    Greg Renoff and ECW Press strike gold again with another music title. I always valued the work of a producer and know how much of a difference they make in the final product, but this book really brought the man behind the scenes to life. I've loved his album work through the years, but this book helped me gain an appreciation for Templeman and his accomplishments. He's got quite a life to celebrate. The chapters "Ain't talkin' bout love" and "Back to 5150" were my favorite. Templeman couldn't h Greg Renoff and ECW Press strike gold again with another music title. I always valued the work of a producer and know how much of a difference they make in the final product, but this book really brought the man behind the scenes to life. I've loved his album work through the years, but this book helped me gain an appreciation for Templeman and his accomplishments. He's got quite a life to celebrate. The chapters "Ain't talkin' bout love" and "Back to 5150" were my favorite. Templeman couldn't have picked a better narrator and "translator" as Renoff. You'll never forget the horse scene!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    When I was a kid I remember watching a variety show on TV and a great sunshine pop band called Harpers Bizarre performed, and it was fronted by a man with platinum blonde hair and he sang in a very cool whisper. You couldn’t get this guy out of your mind, he was so chill and different. He was Ted Templeman. Ted Templeman became a promising young producer during Warner Bros. Records’ rise to the top of the music industry in the early Seventies and this is his story. His memoirs are jam packed wit When I was a kid I remember watching a variety show on TV and a great sunshine pop band called Harpers Bizarre performed, and it was fronted by a man with platinum blonde hair and he sang in a very cool whisper. You couldn’t get this guy out of your mind, he was so chill and different. He was Ted Templeman. Ted Templeman became a promising young producer during Warner Bros. Records’ rise to the top of the music industry in the early Seventies and this is his story. His memoirs are jam packed with anecdotal tales of heroes and villains, music business loyalties and double crosses. Needless to say, it never gets boring, except for that long stretch about The Doobie Brothers. I don’t like Van Halen, either, but Templeman’s tales of back stabbing and egomania in the band kept me interested. For all the loyalty he showed them they used him an abused him terribly, but fuck them, they’re the Red Hot Chili Peppers of metal. What you will find interesting is Prince’s short man complex, Van Morrison beating the fuck out of some muggers and what a brutal scumbag Captain Beefheart was. There’s a lot to read here and quite frankly, this is a much better account of the golden age of Warner Bros. Records than the Stan Cornyn nightmare.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Thank you, ECW Press, for the ARC of this excellent history of more than just Ted Templeman’s experience as a record producer. I love listening to music and watching TV shows where the artists discuss making music like Dan Rather’s Big Interview, Where are they Now, and those types of shows. I’ve seen the interview with Carly Simon, the biographies on the Doobie Brothers and I love learning more about how life influenced the songs. I’ve never given the record producer a second thought and had no Thank you, ECW Press, for the ARC of this excellent history of more than just Ted Templeman’s experience as a record producer. I love listening to music and watching TV shows where the artists discuss making music like Dan Rather’s Big Interview, Where are they Now, and those types of shows. I’ve seen the interview with Carly Simon, the biographies on the Doobie Brothers and I love learning more about how life influenced the songs. I’ve never given the record producer a second thought and had no idea what that job was about. I just thought someone wrote a song, someone played the song and then it was put onto a record for me to enjoy. Boom. When I started reading this book I didn’t know how much I’d like it because…what the heck is a record producer anyway? The story starts out literally at the beginning of Ted’s birth and recounts his entire life through to his last record production with the Doobie Brothers in 2010 for the World Gone Crazy album. His career was heavy with collaboration, both with his engineers and with the artists. He cared about the artists and the relationships that developed during the making of the albums. I don’t know if that’s the norm in music production, but it was a large focus for Ted. Which I loved reading about. Van Halen was a big part of this story, and I LOVE Van Halen, especially the DLR era of Van Halen. I loved DLR’s screaming, his pomp, his hairy chest and his concert performance was incredible. Getting another side of the story (I read Greg Renoff’s book about Van Halen, which is also excellent) was so cool. I was completely sucked in and am not gonna lie – I LOVED reading that Templeman preferred the DLR era of Van Halen. I do enjoy any Van Halen music, but the early Van Halen remains my favorite. This ended up being such a great read, and no musical production knowledge was necessary. This book will have me checking production credits now looking for Ted Templeman’s name.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gordon

    As a Van Halen superfan, I of course reveled in getting perspectives from the other side of the glass behind their finest recordings. As a casual Doobie Brothers fan, these tales got me to revisit much of their catalog, and I confess to spending the days since at the piano copping Rhodes licks. And the unusual intersections of these bands and artists during Ted's run with them at Warner Bros fascinates me. Makes the record biz seem like a small town. Being a professional video director who also p As a Van Halen superfan, I of course reveled in getting perspectives from the other side of the glass behind their finest recordings. As a casual Doobie Brothers fan, these tales got me to revisit much of their catalog, and I confess to spending the days since at the piano copping Rhodes licks. And the unusual intersections of these bands and artists during Ted's run with them at Warner Bros fascinates me. Makes the record biz seem like a small town. Being a professional video director who also performs and records music, I really identified with his point of view. The psychology behind eliciting good performances, allowing artists to showcase their talents and individuality within a structure, managing pressures from both sides, but also the wisdom that talent does not always equate with confidence, and experience doesn't solve all problems. Same with not wanting to be a singer or frontman: I can craft and perform all the elements of a song professionally except the vocals, and only do those to convey the melody and lyrics because they're expected. That's what drew me into the stories about his early bubblegum days with Harper's Bizarre that I didn't think would hold much interest. Given appropriate distance, there's a humility and objectivity about his awkward relationship with minor stardom. The one about him enduring Sinatra's grimaces while gigging at his lady's party was a highlight. He's critical of his skill in choosing singles, about which I must agree while also admitting VH's "Dance the Night Away" was my first 45 purchased at age 6. Though the B-side wore out faster. Later, there's a story about the overdue 1984 album tapes that was right out of the third act of Boogie Nights, not to mention a literal hijacking. He details the long-rumored events that nearly had him reaching out to Sammy to front Van Halen before recording their landmark first album. Plus some entertaining celebrity encounters and childhood tales as you'd expect for context, but the book mostly focuses on his career as advertised. The writing style is very direct and factual, which would be my one criticism—that it could use a little more descriptive flair—but in that regard it also keeps things humming along and not bloated with lengthy asides. The same co-author, Greg Renoff, penned the definitive book on Van Halen's formative years, so this makes a natural companion to that, or anyone interested in the music industry of the '70s and '80s. Note: I received a promotional copy of this book from the publisher.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    While Ted Templeman has worked with a lot of famous and legendary musicians over the years he is probably best known for his work with two bands:The Doobie Brothers and Van Halen. His extensive work with those two bands is what built his reputation. After discussing his early biographical information (which is pretty interesting on its own) Templeman focuses mainly on his professional life. Who he worked with, how he tried to help them get the sound they wanted, things like that. It's interesting While Ted Templeman has worked with a lot of famous and legendary musicians over the years he is probably best known for his work with two bands:The Doobie Brothers and Van Halen. His extensive work with those two bands is what built his reputation. After discussing his early biographical information (which is pretty interesting on its own) Templeman focuses mainly on his professional life. Who he worked with, how he tried to help them get the sound they wanted, things like that. It's interesting and gave me a much better understanding of just what it is that a producer contributes to the whole process. There's some insight into how The Doobie Brothers transitioned from the guitar driven rock band that he first discovered into the more R & B flavored band they became with the addition of Michael McDonald. And, of course, there is considerable space devoted to the acrimonious departure of David Lee Roth from Van Halen. That's to be expected considering that over the years both sides have raked Templeman over the coals a good bit. He does an admirable job of relating his side of things while still allowing others the benefit of the doubt when possible. You can easily see how he must have been able to keep the peace during stressful recording sessions. There are plenty of odd and end tidbits about the various musicians he's worked with over the years. Captain Beefheart was insufferable in the studio. Aerosmith's Joey Kramer was so unhappy with Templeman's production that they got into a screaming match (Templeman concedes that Kramer was in the right). Michael McDonald co-wrote a Van Halen song. The producer considers David Lee Roth a much better lyricist than Sammy Hagar. Much, much more. While he doesn't shy away from giving his version of events Templeman also doesn't get too in-depth into his personal life (or theirs). For example:He discusses working on several projects with Lowell George and the band Little Feat. How the songs came together, some of the things they experimented with to get a specific sound, artistic differences, and how George could be difficult at times. It's only when he discusses how devastated he was by the death of Lowell George that we learn that they were very close friends. There's not even a hint of it up to that point. It's not so much a "tell-all" as it is "the way I remember it". I would recommend this book to any fan of classic rock or those who enjoy insight into the mechanics of the creative process. ***Thanks to NetGalley, ECW Press, and Ted Templeman (with Greg Renoff) for providing me with a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review

  7. 5 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    When I came across this book, I was hoping that I would be approved for it by Netgalley. See I already knew that this person was a producer. The producer for one of my favorite bands the Doobie Brothers. I was thirteen when their third album came out and before Christmas, myself and some friends were at one of there concerts, back then people did not care about age as long as you had a ticket. That night was great seeing my first live concert especially them a true rock band. On tour, they had t When I came across this book, I was hoping that I would be approved for it by Netgalley. See I already knew that this person was a producer. The producer for one of my favorite bands the Doobie Brothers. I was thirteen when their third album came out and before Christmas, myself and some friends were at one of there concerts, back then people did not care about age as long as you had a ticket. That night was great seeing my first live concert especially them a true rock band. On tour, they had two drummers and played rock music all night. When a few years go by and Tom Johnston is not singing with the group and Michael MacDonald had taken over the whole feel of the band changed to what ii call pop sound. People were happy that they won a Grammy. I was not there last two albums sucked, and here in this book, he speaks about how though they won the award record sales went down. Here was a man that started this group and he did not notice that the change in their music would have an effect on the people from the beginning of the band. It was finally nice to hear someone speak about that. I did not know that he was a musician or that he played in a band in the ’60s. then after then after the doobie’s he produced some of the better Sammy Hagar solo stuff before he joined Van Halen. He also speaks of the time he was their producer up to when Eddie and his brother changed everything, firing David Lee Roth, then hiring Sammy. Roth’s first solo album was not only a top seller but had great musicians on it as well. He does go into some of the stuff with Van Halen but not much which I thought was good. He also speaks of other artists he has worked with, so overall this is a very good book and everything that I was expecting and more. I received this book from Netgalley.com i gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

  8. 4 out of 5

    James Hartley

    Four and a half, really - not a perfect book, it goes on a bit and has dips and pauses, but a good, solid read and how interesting you find it will depend on how interesting you find reading about the various bands Templeman produced. What I liked was his own story as a musician and the voice of the book, which was well captured and which made the book really feel like you were being spoken to by Templeman himself. All in all, well worth a look at for music fans.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    [note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher] I give Ted Templeman's career 5 stars and this book 3 stars. Templeman is the magician who put together sonic candy like the Doobie Brothers' "Black Water" and "What a Fool Believes," as well as every song on Van Halen's good albums. This has special significance to me personally: 1) for some reason a short playlist of Doobies songs Ted produced powered me through writing my final torturous papers in college, and 2) Van Halen was [note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher] I give Ted Templeman's career 5 stars and this book 3 stars. Templeman is the magician who put together sonic candy like the Doobie Brothers' "Black Water" and "What a Fool Believes," as well as every song on Van Halen's good albums. This has special significance to me personally: 1) for some reason a short playlist of Doobies songs Ted produced powered me through writing my final torturous papers in college, and 2) Van Halen was THE rock band to end all rock bands when I was growing up (a title later ceded to Guns n' Roses). It was immensely rewarding to learn technically how Templeman put enduring rock and pop music like this together. It was fascinating to learn what a deep education Ted had in jazz, whose high standard for musicianship surely influenced his producing work. Templeman is a master record producer; he is not a master storyteller. If this overview of his life is an indication, he doesn't know what stories are interesting and what are not. In a way this is a plus, as it offers an unfiltered (seemingly uncurated) look into the life of an A-list music producer. On the other hand, reading this book at times felt like homework. The blow-by-blow chronological accounts of his career in granular detail wore me out. I wish Ted had zeroed in on the best of his material, while omitting the fat. I wish he had taken a more idiosyncratic approach to telling select stories from his career in great detail, like Bob Dylan did so masterfully in his "Chronicles" autobiography. For this, I fault Templeman's "as told to" collaborator Greg Renoff, who has the storytelling chops to explore Ted's career in a more compelling way. Renoff's Van Halen biography "Van Halen Rising" was a gem that transcended the usual rock biography, so I expected something better here. This deep-dive book will serve as a highly valuable piece of American music history, and I'm glad Templeman undertook this project. It is very insightful, and some of the stories are truly great. From the mindset of a general audience reader, I don't know if this book presents a captivating reading experience.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    I became aware of the author, Greg Renoff after hearing about and reading Van Halen Rising. This book is outstanding as it details the rise of one of my favorite bands, Van Halen. I caught wind through Renoffs Twitter account that a book about longtime Van Halen producer Ted Templeman was in the works. I was instantly intrigued and knew it was a biography I wanted to read. At the outset, I wanted to read this book because I wanted detailed information about the production and thought process tha I became aware of the author, Greg Renoff after hearing about and reading Van Halen Rising. This book is outstanding as it details the rise of one of my favorite bands, Van Halen. I caught wind through Renoffs Twitter account that a book about longtime Van Halen producer Ted Templeman was in the works. I was instantly intrigued and knew it was a biography I wanted to read. At the outset, I wanted to read this book because I wanted detailed information about the production and thought process that went into making those Van Halen albums. After reading the book, it was so much more interesting learning about Templeman's life in music. It is very interesting learning about all of the contributions this man has had on the industry, whether that be with Van Morrison, The Doobie Brothers, Aerosmith, Sammy Hagar, Montrose, and of course Van Halen and David Lee Roth's early solo work. This book is well worth reading for any fan of the artists he has worked with or fans of music in terms of how it is created and recorded. Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for this advanced copy for an honest review. This book will be available for purchase on April 21, 2020.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lance Lumley

    This book, from the producer of bands like Van Morrison, Van Halen, and David Lee Roth's solo work, is filled with great stories. The former band member of Harper's Bizarre walks through his music career, only to find his enjoyed the behind the scenes of records more than being a member of the band. The early parts of the book deals with his band days, where he opened for The Beach Boys, to quite a bit of time working with The Doobie Brothers. Towards the end of the book, he gets to the Van Hale This book, from the producer of bands like Van Morrison, Van Halen, and David Lee Roth's solo work, is filled with great stories. The former band member of Harper's Bizarre walks through his music career, only to find his enjoyed the behind the scenes of records more than being a member of the band. The early parts of the book deals with his band days, where he opened for The Beach Boys, to quite a bit of time working with The Doobie Brothers. Towards the end of the book, he gets to the Van Halen stuff, including then in-house fighting with VH brothers that caused a split in the recording process, to how he wanted Hagar as the singer when he first signed the band. This 400 plus book will keep rock fans happy. For an in depth review, visit my page at : https://lancewrites.wordpress.com/202...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    As a fan ot Ted Templeman's work for the past three decades, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It fills in the blanks on lots of things that I have wondered about over the years. A very entertaining read. I would give it five stars but can't due to the number of copy editing errors in this first run of the book. I'm sure that these will get corrected though. If you like Van Halen and the Doobie Brothers, you will also enjoy this book. As a fan ot Ted Templeman's work for the past three decades, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It fills in the blanks on lots of things that I have wondered about over the years. A very entertaining read. I would give it five stars but can't due to the number of copy editing errors in this first run of the book. I'm sure that these will get corrected though. If you like Van Halen and the Doobie Brothers, you will also enjoy this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sansan Gilbreath

    Templeman produced some of my favorite artists so I was well aware of him since the 1970s. I was anxious to read this book and then I heard him on a podcast and I was really ready to read it but the time I got it as a birthday gift . It took me a long time to read it . It flows very well and the writing is conversational and an easy read … but I chose to stop and go and listen to particular songs when he talked about them . I really think this enhanced my enjoyment of the book . There was a pret Templeman produced some of my favorite artists so I was well aware of him since the 1970s. I was anxious to read this book and then I heard him on a podcast and I was really ready to read it but the time I got it as a birthday gift . It took me a long time to read it . It flows very well and the writing is conversational and an easy read … but I chose to stop and go and listen to particular songs when he talked about them . I really think this enhanced my enjoyment of the book . There was a pretty big gap in his history from when he was fired at Warner bros. Until he hooked back up with the doobie brothers in 2007. I think that is my biggest complaint .. I just wanted more .

  14. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    I'm rounding up from 3.5 on this one. I had no idea of the scope of Templeman's career, having only known him as Van Halen's producer. It was an interesting and enlightening read and lead me to listen to albums by The Doobie Brothers and Little Feat, which I'd never done before. I liked hearing how things were produced and the stories about famous people were entertaining. I'm rounding up from 3.5 on this one. I had no idea of the scope of Templeman's career, having only known him as Van Halen's producer. It was an interesting and enlightening read and lead me to listen to albums by The Doobie Brothers and Little Feat, which I'd never done before. I liked hearing how things were produced and the stories about famous people were entertaining.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Interesting read. Music and the music business has changed a lot through Ted’s life. It is unlikely ever to be as interesting as it was then.

  16. 4 out of 5

    MJPDX

    Interesting stories, but I grew tired of the author's humblebragging. If you're a fan of the Doobies or Van Halen/Hagar, there are some interesting in-the-studio tidbits. Interesting stories, but I grew tired of the author's humblebragging. If you're a fan of the Doobies or Van Halen/Hagar, there are some interesting in-the-studio tidbits.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Hornik

    So this book basically catches fire when he's talking about recording. That's where his passion and excitement are. And the description of his relationships with different musicians were most thorough in the practical problems of how he was going to get the best recording possible out of them... not so much in themselves. The rest is fairly shallow. I'd skip it with a clean conscience. Musicheads and the production-obsessed will enjoy this, as will Van Halen fans. For this review, I was sent a PDF So this book basically catches fire when he's talking about recording. That's where his passion and excitement are. And the description of his relationships with different musicians were most thorough in the practical problems of how he was going to get the best recording possible out of them... not so much in themselves. The rest is fairly shallow. I'd skip it with a clean conscience. Musicheads and the production-obsessed will enjoy this, as will Van Halen fans. For this review, I was sent a PDF copy of the book by ECW Press.

  18. 4 out of 5

    James

    Take your time with this one...... ....and here's why: Ted Templeman tells you in great detail the way many of the songs he produced came to be, then literally invites you to listen to the songs and hear exactly what he means. And THAT is a MUST for maximum enjoyment of this book. So it's best to have YouTube cued up and a decent set of earbuds handy. Ted and I had crossed paths many times before this publication, so I was thrilled when I learned he had written a memoir. 1976 was my first exposur Take your time with this one...... ....and here's why: Ted Templeman tells you in great detail the way many of the songs he produced came to be, then literally invites you to listen to the songs and hear exactly what he means. And THAT is a MUST for maximum enjoyment of this book. So it's best to have YouTube cued up and a decent set of earbuds handy. Ted and I had crossed paths many times before this publication, so I was thrilled when I learned he had written a memoir. 1976 was my first exposure to him with Carly Simon's "Another Passenger." This beautiful album included session work by Little Feat, (soon to become my favorite band), Doobie Brothers, Dr. John, and husband James Taylor. The following year, Ted would turn up in my house once again when I discovered Little Feat themselves, as well "Living on the Fault Line" by the Doobies. Now on to the book. Ted relates his earliest musical interests while listening to 40's jazz records in his grandfather's music shop. He began playing drums and together with his friends formed a band called The Tikis, eventually morphing into the sunshine pop band, Harper's Bazarre, who recorded for Warner Brothers. After disbanding, he began working for Warners as a "tape listener" of demo recordings and before long he would not only be producing but discovering some of the biggest names in music. Two of his longest associations were the Doobies and Van Halen. To be honest, Van Halen was never a band in which I had much interest but after learning the genesis of their songs, I really came to appreciate them for the great musicians they were. Something that I've always felt about Ted is that while his work always has a certain degree of excellence, it never manifests itself in a way that makes one artist sound like another. He brings out the best qualities of each artist without ever compromising their unique identity. That's true whether it's Little Feat, Carly Simon, Van Morrison, Doobies, Nicolette Larson, Van Halen or Aerosmith, and many others. Quite a range of musical styles there! SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT: I'm taking away one star and this may be a little unfair because it is after all a book about his life in music. However, I just felt there was a missing personal component here. He shared next to nothing about his wife and children and the strain that giving 100% to those he produced must have created. He was literally on call to these artists 24/7 and for many years only saw his family on weekends as they lived several hours away for the sake of his children's health and education. I know there must have been problems but we never hear about that. Yet he talk sabout having Nicolette Larson and his kids out to his waterfront home at Arrowhead Lake nothing of his wife in those remembrances. Also he does from time to time, talk about his excessive use of drugs and alcohol. After being fired from WB after 32 years of dedicated service, he descended into a depression exacerbated by drugs and alcohol, while still living in his LA condo. He tells of being on a constant diet of cocaine and alcohol, at times not even getting out of bed for more than a quick swig and a bump, for days on end without eating or showering. It was really sad to read but never did he talk about seeking the support of his family during this dark period. I couldn't understand why he wasn't with them full time by then. He had plenty of money, multiple homes and no real need to stay in LA. Wouldn't the support of his wife and children been beneficial in helping him get back on his emotional feet? These are just some of the questions that lingered after finishing the book. Still a most enjoyable read and highly recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Appleyard

    At first, I hesitated about reading this book, simply because I’m doing research for a rock star romance series that I’m writing, and my inspiration is with Van Halen, specifically, with Eddie. But then I realized that if I restrict myself to one band in conducting my research, that I’m really limiting the scope of my knowledge on the subject. And I’m so glad that I read this engrossing, in-depth biography. From the first page, I was interested. Ted talks about his namesake, his Uncle, who went o At first, I hesitated about reading this book, simply because I’m doing research for a rock star romance series that I’m writing, and my inspiration is with Van Halen, specifically, with Eddie. But then I realized that if I restrict myself to one band in conducting my research, that I’m really limiting the scope of my knowledge on the subject. And I’m so glad that I read this engrossing, in-depth biography. From the first page, I was interested. Ted talks about his namesake, his Uncle, who went off to war and was presumed dead, and his parents decided to name their unborn child after him, as a tribute. Then, some time later, when Uncle Ted returned from the war, he had many stories to share, some that Ted also shares in this book. Ted had a very intriguing upbringing, growing up basically in the woods, subject to hunters, guns, and all sorts of unsafe things, but in a child’s eye, were viewed as adventures. Ted was also exposed to music, with family members that owned a record store, where he later worked. He learned to play just about every instrument imaginable, and he played well enough to start his own band, which lit the flame for his passion in the recording industry. While watching greats like Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and a handful of others record the songs that made history, Ted discovered the way that a recording studio ticks, and he fell in love with making a song sound like its own animal, its own being, and to have its individual personality. As we move on into the politics and how Ted climbed the corporate ladder, starting as a demo tape listener, I found it very interesting to learn the ins and outs of the industry. Soon, Ted found his bearings with artists such as the Doobie Brothers, Van Morrison, Carly Simon, Aerosmith, and of course, Van Halen, to name a few. Ted’s influence on Van Halen was pivotal. For one, he was one of the people who discovered Eddie and the band, and he truly felt that he’d never heard such a high calibre of guitar playing skills. If it weren’t for Ted’s word and passion for the band, they would have never gotten their first recording contract. Also, it’s important to note, that if it hadn’t been for Ted’s ear and serendipitous timing, Eddie’s infamous guitar solo, ‘Eruption’, would never have been discovered or recorded. Ted happened to be walking into the back of the recording studio when Eddie was warming up for a session, and the solo was recorded raw, at that moment, and history was made. After reading Ted’s story, I have a true appreciation for how a song sounds, and the lengths that producers and engineers (whom I never knew existed until I read this book) have to go to, to make a song pop, and to be successful. The nuances of different artists and genres, as well as the industry itself. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an informative, honest, intriguing and unique story about someone’s life and career, or anyone who is interested in what truly happened when the story ended between Van Halen and David Lee Roth and with Ted himself, from Ted’s perspective. A great read. And I learned a lot, too!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    Smart, intricate, and organized memoir from a guy whose record-producing process was much the same. Adventures in recording many of my yacht rock heroes are within these pages. Templeman is a gentleman and a scholar… at least he’d like you to believe that: throughout, he gives credit where it’s due, and reports times when it wasn’t. For example, did you know that Michael McDonald co-wrote Van Halen’s I’ll Wait? It’s true, but you won’t see that written on the album sleeve. I recognize that many Smart, intricate, and organized memoir from a guy whose record-producing process was much the same. Adventures in recording many of my yacht rock heroes are within these pages. Templeman is a gentleman and a scholar… at least he’d like you to believe that: throughout, he gives credit where it’s due, and reports times when it wasn’t. For example, did you know that Michael McDonald co-wrote Van Halen’s I’ll Wait? It’s true, but you won’t see that written on the album sleeve. I recognize that many of these incidents are told from just one side of the story, and there are plenty of other rock memoirs out there telling the other side. Ted staunchly defends his every move here though. Someone had to be the grown up in the room! Templeman mentioned the wonder of Nicolette Larson’s comprehensive career scrapbook that she kept, but it’s clear that he had notebooks and/or assistants and/or lawyers keeping tabs on his activities that were just as detailed. He walks us through session after session of albums which sold millions, and many others that he believed in but weren’t commercial successes, sharing leadership and emotional intelligence lessons along the way. Business students might like this book to see how he merged C-suite professionalism with his own musical knowledge to recognize and develop talent, and then have the chops to play along with the band in the studio. He made things happen. And he’s also pretty fearless in revealing some unseemly instances along the way, including his own addictions; but I thought at this point, he’s got nothing to lose-nor did he ever. These musicians needed him to make them sound better. Only thing I disliked was the peculiar afterword/epilogue from Greg Renoff at the end. It was kind of long and repeated a lot of the stuff Ted himself just told us. 🤷‍♂️ Easy to ignore that though. Pro tip: lol 😂 Keep Spotify or your Apple Music app open while reading to listen along for added fun!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mariah Startzman

    Doobie Brothers, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Eric Clapton, Montrose, and Van Morrison. What do all these musicians have in common? Ted Templeman. At one time or another, Ted Templeman has produced one or more of their albums, many of them being famous and best selling pieces of work. Ted Templeman grew up in a heavily musical environment with his parents being musicians and his maternal grandfather owning a music store. During his adolescence, he was influenced by jazz and R&B leading him to pick up t Doobie Brothers, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Eric Clapton, Montrose, and Van Morrison. What do all these musicians have in common? Ted Templeman. At one time or another, Ted Templeman has produced one or more of their albums, many of them being famous and best selling pieces of work. Ted Templeman grew up in a heavily musical environment with his parents being musicians and his maternal grandfather owning a music store. During his adolescence, he was influenced by jazz and R&B leading him to pick up the trumpet and eventually the drums. Templeman ended up in a couple bands as a young man, most notably Harpers Bizarre who are best known for their cover of “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)”. But Templeman found that he didn’t quite enjoy being a musician in the public eye even though he still felt a calling towards music, so he started to learn how to work on music behind the scenes. He worked his way up from a lowly tape listener to an executive vice president of Warner Bros. Records, during which he produced tons of albums from some amazing musicians. Templeman’s entire journey is documented in his book “Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music”. This man’s work is absolutely fascinating, making his book a very enjoyable read. I enjoyed reading about the creation of albums from a producer’s standpoint since I typically read books from a musician’s side. My only complaint about the book is that I feel like it could have done with a bit more editing. Ted Templeman has many great stories, but there are stories included that don’t add to the book in any way. These were mostly short paragraphs that wouldn’t detract from the book if removed. But I do appreciate Templeman’s willingness to include so many stories in the first place. If you’ve ever been interested in the goings on behind the scenes of album making, this one's for you.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Charles Heath

    P gud book fam. Decent biography and oral history so to speak of 70s rock. His recording career in Sixties p interesting (one hit wonder HarpersBizarre) if forgettable contribution, but he produced dozens of gold and platinum rekkids. Doobie Brothers, Van Halen, Van Morrison (Tupelo Honey, which is p gud) Sammy Hagar etc. Seems pretty touchy about breaking up Van Halen. I mean who cares? Fucking Van Halen LOL. He also calls Eddie Van Halen "Ed." Which is weird. Who calls "Eddie Van Halen" Ed? IDK P gud book fam. Decent biography and oral history so to speak of 70s rock. His recording career in Sixties p interesting (one hit wonder HarpersBizarre) if forgettable contribution, but he produced dozens of gold and platinum rekkids. Doobie Brothers, Van Halen, Van Morrison (Tupelo Honey, which is p gud) Sammy Hagar etc. Seems pretty touchy about breaking up Van Halen. I mean who cares? Fucking Van Halen LOL. He also calls Eddie Van Halen "Ed." Which is weird. Who calls "Eddie Van Halen" Ed? IDK was he in love have an affair with Nicolette Larson. He got really rich. Houses in Malibu, Ferraris etc. Anyhoo. All of a sudden about page 450 he says, "Oh BTW I was a raging alcoholic cokehaead suicidal maniac for the past 400 pages or twenty years whichever comes first." I don't wanna judge anybody, but LOL. Page 450. Like you're reading four hundred pages about 70s and 80s rock and no one is doing drugs ? WTF. P gud book fam.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sean Kerns

    I found this pretty thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end. Ted is one of rock music's most prolific producers, and yet, as any good producer does, unless you're looking for it, you might not know a lot about what he does, or for whom he does it. I knew about his work with The Doobie Brothers before I read this, and of course, I know him as the producer of the first six Van Halen records, as well as the person responsible for getting them signed to Warner Bros. But there's a lot of inform I found this pretty thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end. Ted is one of rock music's most prolific producers, and yet, as any good producer does, unless you're looking for it, you might not know a lot about what he does, or for whom he does it. I knew about his work with The Doobie Brothers before I read this, and of course, I know him as the producer of the first six Van Halen records, as well as the person responsible for getting them signed to Warner Bros. But there's a lot of information in between those that I didn't know, including his time as a recording and touring musician. And he also does a great job in laying out a lot of the politics that can help make, or break, artists, in spite of the material they put out. Greg Renoff, as usual, did a great job organizing all of that into a cohesive, and engaging narrative.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kevin L.

    One interesting and fun read! After reading Greg Renoff's first book "Van Halen Rising", I just followed up with this book, and I couldn't stop. It was a lot of fun and interesting to read about Ted Templeman's great career, and even more fun to learn about little stories on various artists like the Doobie Brothers and Van Halen. Obviously, how Ted put up with imperfections from DLR's vocal because he was the genius of DLR that would combine with Eddie's musical genius to make Van Halen arguably One interesting and fun read! After reading Greg Renoff's first book "Van Halen Rising", I just followed up with this book, and I couldn't stop. It was a lot of fun and interesting to read about Ted Templeman's great career, and even more fun to learn about little stories on various artists like the Doobie Brothers and Van Halen. Obviously, how Ted put up with imperfections from DLR's vocal because he was the genius of DLR that would combine with Eddie's musical genius to make Van Halen arguably the greatest rock band in the world. He's right to say that VH is not VH without DLR. Thank you Ted for discovering VH and helped making all of those great albums! And thank you Greg for another excellent reaading!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susan B

    I really enjoyed this book, an inside look at the music industry in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s etc. It was really interesting to learn about what went into the making of some really famous songs/albums. I found myself listening to songs as I read, some I haven’t heard in years, if ever, and looking up the lyrics and listening for specific things the author had described. Really fun and educational. Ted Templeman had an incredible career that many would never have even known about if he hadn’t written I really enjoyed this book, an inside look at the music industry in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s etc. It was really interesting to learn about what went into the making of some really famous songs/albums. I found myself listening to songs as I read, some I haven’t heard in years, if ever, and looking up the lyrics and listening for specific things the author had described. Really fun and educational. Ted Templeman had an incredible career that many would never have even known about if he hadn’t written this. If you’re a fan of classic rock or just music in general, you’ll enjoy this. A great read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jamocha

    I'd heard about this on Eddie Trunk's show. I'd read Van Halen Rising and though I prefer Sammy, I've read everything now except for David Lee Roth's book—and I'm going to have to now. Most of the artists Ted produced is not music I own but I like learning about the process and I honestly didn't know a producer from an engineer etc. I mostly enjoyed getting insight into Roth's departure from Van Halen and felt that albums like Fair Warning could have been covered more. I wonder why someone with I'd heard about this on Eddie Trunk's show. I'd read Van Halen Rising and though I prefer Sammy, I've read everything now except for David Lee Roth's book—and I'm going to have to now. Most of the artists Ted produced is not music I own but I like learning about the process and I honestly didn't know a producer from an engineer etc. I mostly enjoyed getting insight into Roth's departure from Van Halen and felt that albums like Fair Warning could have been covered more. I wonder why someone with Ted's connections and talent didn't revisit playing music instead of producing after his dismissal from Warner Brothers.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Klmondragon

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Templeman’s behind the scenes account of the making of many famous albums. He was notably behind the success of The Doobie Brothers and Van Halen but also produced for Van Morrison, Little Feat, Carly Simon, Montrose and Eric Clapton. I was impressed in how Templeman developed close personal relationships with his artists and engineers. I recommend this book for any music aficionado interested in the music period between the late ‘70’s and early ‘90’s.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tim Casebeer

    Templeman produced some big records by the likes of Van Morrison, the Doobie Brothers (both line-ups) and Van Halen and, even though he is a musician, himself, don't expect much in the way of insight into the mysticism of "Tupelo Honey," the "Brown sound" of VH, or working with mid-period Slowhand. Amateurish at times, Templeman is a true music junkie who was in the right place at the right time and provides a music industry insider's view of the now defunct major label system of the 70s. Templeman produced some big records by the likes of Van Morrison, the Doobie Brothers (both line-ups) and Van Halen and, even though he is a musician, himself, don't expect much in the way of insight into the mysticism of "Tupelo Honey," the "Brown sound" of VH, or working with mid-period Slowhand. Amateurish at times, Templeman is a true music junkie who was in the right place at the right time and provides a music industry insider's view of the now defunct major label system of the 70s.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pam Koenig

    I really wanted to like this book, but quit about a third of the way in. I think if I were more interested in the nitty gritty of the music industry, I would have read more. Reading about the producing and recording of records was interesting up to a point. The problem for me, is I was more interested in the results rather than the making of music by some if my favorites. If someone is interested in the making of the music, then this is the book for you, otherwise like me you may get bored and n I really wanted to like this book, but quit about a third of the way in. I think if I were more interested in the nitty gritty of the music industry, I would have read more. Reading about the producing and recording of records was interesting up to a point. The problem for me, is I was more interested in the results rather than the making of music by some if my favorites. If someone is interested in the making of the music, then this is the book for you, otherwise like me you may get bored and not finish the book. I was given the book by NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jim Hickey Music

    Pretty good These were short stories told to the author and put in chronological order. It was entertaining and a good read for a music fan. Some dirt and insight on some bands and artists if you like that kind of thing. Also a very interesting take on what a music producer actually does.

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