Born in Hollywood, California, Alan Earle O’Day was the only child of Earle and Jeannette O'Day, who both worked at the Pasadena Star-News. He stated that he remembered creating melodies on a xylophone at the age of six. By the fifth grade, his favourite artist was Spike Jones, and he was serenading his class on the ukulele. At Coachella Valley Union High School, after participating in one band called "The Imperials," he started his own rock'n'roll band, "The Shoves," with heavy influences from Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, and Fats Domino. A third band, "The Renés" played Latin and Mexican standards mixed with rock and roll tunes and gave him the opportunity to write his own songs.
In 1961, he found work via a friend from high school, Arch Hall, Jr., whose father, Arch Hall, Sr., was an independent movie producer. The senior Hall wrote and produced films that starred the junior Hall, and O'Day helped out with the sound, in 1962, acting as music editor on the film Eegah and musical director on Wild Guitar, sound recorder on 1963's The Sadist, and sound mixer on the 1964 What's Up Front! The work led to Arch Jr. and O'Day putting together a four-piece band (called "The Archers") and playing in clubs on the Sunset Strip such as Whiskey A Go Go and Pandora's Box.
Around 1965, O'Day was in the band "Alan & Bob & Denny," a show group that did pop songs and some comedy. They played nightclubs in the Pasadena & Hollywood area, and were on The Ed Sullivan Show on November 14, 1965, as the backup band for singer/actress/comedian Virginia O'Brien.
In 1969, he signed with E. H. Morris Music, followed by Warner Brothers Music in 1971, showing off his song-writing skills starting with "The Drum," which was a hit single for Bobby Sherman. In 1974, three more of his songs did well: "Train of Thought," recorded by Cher, "Rock And Roll Heaven," recorded by The Righteous Brothers, and "Angie Baby," recorded by Helen Reddy.
O'Day would then pursue his solo career and release his first solo album, Caress Me Pretty Music in 1973. The album was not a major commercial success and he temporarily put his recording career on hiatus.
Then, in 1977, Warner Bros. Records formed a label for their composers who also performed. O'Day was the first artist signed, and the first release was "Undercover Angel". The song, which he described as a "nocturnal novelette," was in February 1977. Within a few months it had become #1 in the country, and has sold approximately two million copies. It was also a hit in Australia, reaching #9 on the Australian Singles Chart. "Undercover Angel" also landed O'Day in an exclusive club as one of only a handful of writers/performers to pen a #1 hit for themselves and a #1 for another artist. A follow-up single, "Started Out Dancing, Ended Up Making Love" stalled at #73, marking O'Day's second and last appearance on the US charts. Both songs appear on his 1977 album Appetizers, available on CD and iTunes.
Three years later, in March 1980, a song called "Skinny Girls" reached #11 on the Australian Singles Chart, spawning from the Oh Johnny! album, here for you to download (Pacific PC 4301). Thanks to Garry for finding me this – he claimed it took him a long time to get the LP from eBay and he’d only ever seen it once. Only time I found it made CD reissue was in 2010, again, only for Japan.
Sadly, O'Day died on May 17, 2013 (4 years ago on this day), after battling brain cancer for six months. FLAC