David Carroll's Biography
and I (Tom) asked David to provide a bio and very reluctantly he did but he
said little about his own achievements since David has never been
comfortable talking about himself. Nevertheless, his style and humor are
revealing so we decided to excerpt what he wrote, adding our own editorial
comments, so that you could gain a glimpse of the man who has played such an
important role in our lives.
Here are his own words: “I first heard the highly unlikely name, Smothers
Brothers, at a business meeting at Mercury Records in Chicago in 1960. I had
been in the employ of Mercury for some 15 years as an Artists and Repertoire
Director (these days they are known as Record Producers for much more
money). A report had come in that two brothers were creating much excitement
(comedically, that is) at a small folk club in San Francisco called the
Purple Onion. A sample dub of their performance was played and for some
reason that I did not fully understand at the time, I volunteered to produce
David’s knowledge of music, expertise in the studio and steadying influence
became invaluable to us. From that point on, we relied on him to produce all
of our albums, four of which went gold. He was swamped with arranging and
producing some singers and vocal groups who were pretty hot at that time, in
addition to doing a series of instrumental albums of his own. The Diamonds,
the Platters, Vic Damone, Sarah Vaughan and Patti Page were just a few of
the acts he produced, as well as many of their hits such as “Lil’ Darlin’”
by the Diamonds, “Shiboom” by the Crewcuts and all of the Platters’ hits. In
addition, he produced and conducted over 25 instrumental albums of the David
Carroll Orchestra, which could be regularly heard on the radio. Among the
most popular of these recordings were “Fascination” and “Melody of Love.”
Moreover, David was a pioneer in stereo music with his album “Let’s Dance.”
Prior to that, most stereo recordings were only of sound effects such as
trains moving from one speaker to another. As a result of such innovation,
David’s album is still considered by connoisseurs to be a hallmark in the
industry and they refer to it today as an example of the best early stereo.
As David said, “I don’t pretend to know about the psychology of comedy as an
art form (a serious subject). I had grown up thinking music was the only
thing around (any kind of music). I had spent a few years as a musician in a
show band in Chicago that backed all the big name comedians. Hearing them
repeatedly, I became interested in what made their lines “work” or “not
work” on a given night. I believe it was this experience that made me
realize that even in the early stages of the Smothers Brothers’ career, it
was their innate sense of timing that made the difference (it’s not easy
being Dick when you don’t know when or what Tom will say next).
“Anyway, it’s many years later and it’s been an awesome learning experience
that includes about everything in the book: Producer, Arranger, Conductor,
Roadie, Personal Manager, Music Publisher and Curator. I’m grateful to them
Aside from his other titles, David Carroll has been our mentor. Without him,
Dickie and I firmly believe our success would not have been possible.
David and his wife, Helen, are retired and live in Los Angeles, CA.
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