Doris Day's beloved son Terry Melcher dies at 62...
by Stephen M
(Last updated: 25 November 2004)
American musician and pop producer Terry Melcher
tragically looses his long battle against
broke on 19 November 2004 that Doris's son Terry Melcher passed away.
'60s, Terry was a force to be reckoned with, having
established quite a name for himself as being a
successful record producer and songwriter.
renowned for aiding the careers of Ry Cooder, the
Beach Boys and the Byrds for which he produced hits
including Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn, Turn,
touch also extended to his mother's singing career
when he penned her suggestive single
which became a hit across Europe. Terry
later supported Doris through the "shock"
discovery that her fortunes had been mismanaged,
following the death of her manager and third husband,
Marty Melcher. He then took on the pivotal role as the
Executive Producer in her CBS sitcom, The Doris Day
Show (1968-1972) for which she had been contracted
by Marty without prior knowledge.
found time during the '70s to refocus his sights
on advancing his own solo singing career when signing
to Reprise. A collaboration with his mother then
notably followed on his 1974 eponymous album which
featured Doris harmonising with Terry on his sad song
celebration of his legacy of music Collectors
Choice have reissued his debut solo album,
A further compilation The Best of Bruce and Terry
is also available showcasing his early work.
mother and son bond that Doris had so strived to
protect during her early years as a big-band vocalist
continued to present day with Terry helping his
mother's charitable activities including the Doris
Day Animal Foundation. Terry
died, aged 62, at his Beverley Hills home, after a
long battle with Melanoma.
Doris extends its heartfelt wishes to the family.
TERRY MELCHER (1942 - 2004)
Terry Melcher helped to shape the sound of
American West Coast rock music. As the son of Doris
Day, he was born into a showbusiness family and went
on to produce many of his mother's television shows.
He made his greatest contribution to popular culture
by producing the Byrds' groundbreaking hits "Mr
Tambourine Man" and "Turn! Turn! Turn!" and working
with a string of other popular acts.
He also became an unwitting footnote in criminal
history when a house in Hollywood in which he had
lived until six months earlier was the site of the
savage murder of the actress Sharon Tate and others
by followers of the cult leader, Charles Manson.
According to one theory, Melcher, who had known
Manson, was the intended victim of the slaughter.
The son of the 17-year-old Day and her first
husband Al Jorden, he was born Terry Jorden in New
York in 1942. He adopted the name by which he was
best known from Day's third husband, Martin Melcher.
His own father committed suicide, but he remained
close to his mother throughout his life and
capitalised on her name in his early attempts at a
recording career by briefly calling himself Terry
Teaming up with the future Beach Boy Bruce
Johnston, he made a series of records exploiting the
early 1960s surfing craze as Bruce and Terry and
then with the Rip Chords, who recorded the hit "Hey,
Little Cobra". He also wrote songs with Bobby Darin
and Randy Newman.
At the age of 22 he was hired as the youngest
staff producer at Columbia Records. His appointment
was no doubt assisted by the fact that his mother
had been recording for the label since the 1940s and
he produced her 1964 hit album "Love Him" and the
British Top Ten single "Move Over Darling". They
proved to be her last hits.
Melcher's next assignment for Columbia was to
make rock music history. Asked to produce an unknown
West Coast band called the Byrds, he helped them to
invent the groundbreaking fusion that was to become
known as folk-rock. To get the sound he wanted, he
controversially used top Los Angeles session men for
backing on their 1965 No 1 hit "Mr Tambourine Man".
This may have contributed to the friction between
Melcher and the group; after he produced the Byrds'
first two albums, they were commercially powerful
enough to tell Columbia that they wanted him ousted.
He next worked with a rough-and-ready garage band
called Paul Revere and the Raiders, whom he turned
into a commercial pop outfit with a succession of
hit singles in 1965-67 that included "Just Like Me",
"Kicks", "Hungry", "Good Things" and "Him Or Me -
What's It Gonna Be". Meanwhile, his former singing
partner Bruce Johnston had replaced the ailing Brian
Wilson in the touring version of the Beach Boys, and
Melcher found himself singing backing vocals on the
Beach Boys' landmark 1966 album, "Pet Sounds". The
connection was to have sinister repercussions when
in the spring of 1968, he was introduced by the
Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson to the cult leader,
convicted rapist and would-be singer-songwriter
Wilson had got involved with Manson after picking
up a couple of his followers who were hitchhiking
and even invited Manson's "family" to move into his
house on Sunset Boulevard for several months. He
also persuaded Melcher to listen to Manson's songs
and to audition him. Manson apparently believed that
the producer had offered to help him to get a
recording contract. According to one theory, when no
deal was forthcoming, he dispatched his murderous
followers to the house on Cielo Drive, Hollywood,
where he had once visited Melcher and his girlfriend
In fact, Melcher had by then moved to Malibu and
the house was being rented by Roman Polanski and his
pregnant girlfriend, Sharon Tate, who was gruesomely
butchered at the address with four others in August
1969. The LA police discounted the theory that
Melcher had been Manson's intended victim, on the
grounds that he knew that the producer no longer
lived there. An alternative theory holds that Manson
ordered the killing of whoever was unfortunate
enough to be in the house in order to send him a
If so, it worked. After the murders, Melcher
hired bodyguards for himself and his mother, for
whom he was working by then as executive producer of
The Doris Day Show on CBS television.
Unsurprisingly, he suffered a breakdown. To add to
his problems, Day's third husband, Marty Melcher,
had died in 1968, and his stepfather's poor
financial investments had lost the family enormous
sums. As executor Melcher had to spend months
dealing with lawyers and accounts to sort out the
More happily, before the Tate murders, he had
resumed his partnership with the Byrds and over the
next three years he produced three albums with them
- "The Ballad of Easy Rider", "Untitled" and
"Byrdmaniax". The group returned the favour and
joined him, with Ry Cooder and others, on his
eponymous 1973 debut solo album. Although a
commercial failure. it enjoys a cult following among
record collectors to this day. A second and final
solo album, "Royal Flush" sank without trace, and
Melcher's biggest commercial success of the 1970s
came producing the teen pop idol David Cassidy.
By the 1980s his excursions into the music
industry were growing increasingly irregular. He
co-produced his mother's 1985 TV series, Doris Day's
Best Friends, and in 1988 he co-wrote the song
"Kokomo", which the Beach Boys sang on the
soundtrack of the Tom Cruise film Cocktail. It gave
them an American No 1 and earned a Golden Globe
nomination, encouraging Melcher to co-write further
material for their 1989 album "Still Cruisin'" and
1992's "Summer In Paradise".
Yet for much of the last 20 years of his life he
preferred to live quietly, raising his family in
Monterey and helping to run his mother's charitable
activities, including the Doris Day Animal
Foundation. He had been ill for some time with
melanoma. He is survived by his mother, his wife,
Terese, and son, Ryan.
(From The Times)
Terry Melcher, producer, songwriter and singer:
born February 8th, 1942 - died November 19th, 2004.
Terry Melcher (February 8, 1942 – November 19,
2004) was an American musician and record producer.
Melcher was born Terry Jorden in New York City to
trombonist Al Jorden and his wife, singer/actress
Doris Day. Day was only 17 years old when she gave
birth to Terry. Before Terry's birth, Day was
planning to leave the abusive and violent Al Jorden.
Jorden was outraged when after he found out about
her pregnancy, and demanded Day get an abortion.
Doris refused and in turn, Jorden physically abused
Day throughout her entire pregnancy. Shortly after
Terry's birth, Day filed for divorce, left Terry
with her mother in Ohio and went back to touring
with big band leader Les Brown. After the divorce,
Terry's father failed to visit his son on a regular
basis and had little presence in his life. Al Jorden
would ultimately commit suicide years later. 
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