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Famous Like Me > Composer > G > Mort Garson

Profile of Mort Garson on Famous Like Me

Name: Mort Garson  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 20th July 1924
Place of Birth: St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Mort Garson was born on 20 July 1924 in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. Garson studied music at Juilliard and worked as a pianist and arranger before getting pulled into the Army near the end of World War Two. He could carry out any or all of the musical chores on any given session: composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, and even pianist if that was required. He conducted the "Love Strings" on Liberty Records, arranged for the Lettermen on Capitol Records, provided background to Laurence Harvey reading poetry on Atlantic Records, accompanied Doris Day on Columbia and experimented with the moog on A&M Records, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. With lyricist Bob Hilliard, he wrote one of the great lounge hits of the 1960s, "Our Day Will Come," a hit for Ruby and the Romantics and more recently covered by k.d. lang and Take 6 for the soundtrack of the movie Shag.

Garson spent the mid-1960s on a rapid sucession of accompaniment jobs: two Doris Day albums (Sentimental Journey and Songs for Latin Lovers), Mel Torme's great Right Now! album of contemporary covers like "Secret Agent Man," Glenn Yarborough's highly successful cover of Rod McKuen songs, The Lonely Things, and Glen Campbell's even more successful "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." He also appears to have been a favorite of producers when the job involved soft pop vocal groups and string ensembles, since his handiwork appears on albums and singles by the Lettermen, the Sandpipers, the Sugar Shoppe, the Hollyrdige Strings, the Sunset Strings, and the Love Strings.

The most highly prized Garson albums among collectors and exotica fans are his electronic albums of the late 1960s. The most famous is The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds - Celestia Counterpoint with Words and Music, a suite of Garson originals released on Elektra Records covering the 12 signs of the zodiac, and featuring Paul Beaver on a variety of electronic instruments with voice-overs by Cyrus Farrar. This was the first album recorded on the West Coast to make use of Robert Moog's new Moog synthesizer. Garson returned to the moog for his album Electronic Hair Pieces, a classic artifact of the late 1960s, which is mainly cover songs from the hippie-influenced musical, Hair. The album cover features a mod model with a wired-up skull and liner notes by Tom Smothers of the Smothers Brothers. Another favorite (although extremely hard to find) is The Wozard of Iz, a psychedelic satire based on The Wizard of Oz with Bernie Krause providing a rich array of environmental sound effects and Nancy Sinatra (credited as "Suzy Jane Hokum") voicing Dorothy.

With the success of the original Zodiac LP, he then went on to compose and arrange a 12 album series of zodiac albums for A&M Records, one album for each sign. Like Zodiac, each album contained original tunes with heavy use of electronics. He released an album in 1976 called Plantasia that you were supposed to play to make your indoor plants grow better. Garson also released a record of music-and-moans to capitalize on the best-seller at the time, The Sensuous Woman by "Z". He wrote an electronic "Black Mass" album under the pseudonym Lucifer that again featured the way-out sounds of the moog and was probably a big hit at many an acid party. He followed that with one called Ataraxia designed to accompany meditations to the mantra of your choice.

Garson also worked in television and film, scoring a wide variety of music for many different movies and TV shows, from The Son of the Blob to "Kentucky Fried Movie" to National Geographic specials. He is most famous for composing the National Geographic theme.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Mort Garson