I ain't but barely scrapin the surface here. These are just a few of his songwriting, production and arrangement credits: "Needles and Pins" for Jackie DeShannon, orchestrated and arranged many songs with Phil Spector, notably Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High", works with L.A.'s Wrecking Crew, keyboards on "Paint It Black","Let's Spend The Night Together", "Ruby Tuesday" and the choral arrangement on "You Can't Always Get What You Want", Production credits along with David Briggs on Neil Young's self titled debut, arranging the London Symphony Orchestra on Harvest's "A Man Needs A Maid" and keyboard work for Crazy Horse, with and without Neil.
Notable film score composition credits: Performance, The Exorcist, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Heroes, Blue Collar, Hardcore, When You Comin Back Red Ryder?, Personal Best, Cannery Row, An Officer And A Gentleman, Breathless, The Razor's Edge, Star Man, Stripper, 9 1/2 Weeks, Stand By Me, Revenge, Mermaids, Indian Runner and The Crossing Guard.
Whoa, my writing hand just cramped up. Why anybody hasn't made a film on the late Jack Nitzche is unforgiveable. It would have to be done in installments much like The Godfather. And much like The Godfather, it would be dark. This excerpt is nicked from Crawdaddy Magazine, November '74. It pretty well captures Nitzche's contempt for the major record labels.
"Record executives really don't care about the music-they care about 'numbers' " aserts Nitzche. "They refer to the music as 'product' and the only thing that matters with product is numbers-big sales. Record companies are acounting firms" So who does this surly studio musician think he is - biting the hand that feeds him! Scoffing at Hollywood's tinsel culture just when camp afficionados and Peter Bogdanovich have proclaimed it art. A kvetch like this the business can do without. Stylish Warner Brothers execs sporting aviator shades and cuffed baggies may assert their uniqueness by proudly displaying Thoreau posters on their office walls, but this Nitzche isn't just marching to a different drummer - he's out of tune with the whole band. Why not pull the plug on him? The trouble is, Jack Nitzche knows too much. He arranged everything from "He's A Rebel" to "River Deep" for the legendary Phil Spector. He started banging back-up piano for the Rolling Stones when they were a bad boy, British blues band. He's played with everybody from Elvis to Neil Young. After a point, rock-n-roll held no mystery for him so he ventured into film. Performance, a curious cult film Nitzche scored in 1969 was proclaimed the best integration of music and moving images ever, by golden boy Bill Friedkin. Nitzche is familiar with all the nuts and bolts in the Hollywood Dream Factory. He's kept around because he knows how it all works - not because of his enthusiasm for management."
I wonder if Jack Nitzche ever knew Merle Haggard. Seems like they could've been good friends - or compatriots, even allies.
Did I mention Jack Nitzche grew up in Newaygo, Michigan? Unfortunatley, that association hasn't rubbed off either.
April 22, 1937 - August 25, 2000
CREDITS: rogerbourland.com themusicsover.wordpress.com thehoundblog.blogspot.com - a great site (also were I found the Crawdaddy piece)