Van Dyke Parks is a singer and songwriter whose career in the music industry started in the 1960s. He also does film scoring and musical themes for shows and performances. He plays the clarinet, organ, and keyboards. He also immersed himself in acting on stage and in the movies.
Van Dyke Parks initially signed with MGM Records where he released his first record entitled “Come to the Sunshine.” He later on collaborated with Brian Wilson for the Smile album. He finally landed a contract with Warner Bros. where he released another single entitled “Donovan’s Colours.” This song received acclaim from the music industry as it redefined rock and roll. He then released his first solo album entitled “Parks’ Song Cycle” which won Record of the Year Award from prestigious award giving bodies. This was followed by 11 other albums spanning his career: Discover America, The Clang of the Yankee Reaper, Popeye Soundtrack, Jump!, Tokyo Rose, Fisherman and His Wife, Orange Crate Art, Moonlighting: Live at the Ash Grove, An Invitation, Super Chief: Music for the Silver Screen, and Songs Cycled. The moods of his songs and music are those of nostalgic, carefree, quirky, sentimental, whimsical, witty, intimate, playful, theatrical, humorous, sophisticated, and literate. His lyrics talk about love, freedom, hope, creativity, and having fun.
Van Dyke Parks’ music is categorized under pop rock although he also ventures in baroque pop, experimental pop, alternative indie rock, and experimental rock. He was an all-around performer and eclectic artist. He also enjoyed performing with other artists and writing songs for them. Among his notable collaborations were with Beatles sensation Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Michael Hazlewood, Lowell George, Johann Pachelbel, Trevor Lawrence, and Martin Kibbee.
He was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on January 3, 1941. Until this day, he remains active in the music scene and is considered one of the most respected seasoned singers and songwriters in the industry.