Born: March 24, 1935 Primary Instrument: Bass, electric
Throughout the 1950s Kaye played bebop jazz guitar in dozens of nightclubs around Los Angeles with many noted bands including Bob Neal's jazz group, Jack Sheldon backing Lenny Bruce, Teddy Edwards and Billy Higgins.
By her own account Kaye got into lucrative studio work accidentally in late 1957 with Sam Cooke. A few years later, when a bass player failed to show for a session at Capitol Records in Hollywood, she was asked to fill in on what was then often called the Fender bass.
Throughout the 1960s, she played bass on a significant percentage of records appearing on the Billboard Hot 100, although she was almost wholly unknown to the general public at the time.
Kaye played bass on many of the Beach Boys hit recordings, including Good Vibrations, Help Me, Rhonda, Sloop John B and California Girls. She worked on Brian Wilson's ill-fated but legendary Smile project (and was present at the Fire session in late November 1966 when Wilson reportedly asked the studio musicians to wear toy fire hats). Kaye's work also appears extensively on well-known television and film soundtracks from the 1960s and early 1970s.
She worked under most of the leading producers and musical directors in Los Angeles during that era, including Brian Wilson, Michel Legrand, Phil Spector, Elmer Bernstein, Lalo Schifrin, David Rose, Dave Grusin, Ernie Freeman, Hugo Montenegro, Leonard Rosenman, John Williams, Alfred, David Axelrod and Lionel Newman.
Kaye played the bass tracks on several of the Monkees hits, did soundtrack work (including sound effects on bass guitar) for a young Steven Spielberg and tracks for Quincy Jones.
women like ...Fender bass player Carol Kaye ...could do anything and leave men in the dust.
Kaye performed on several American television themes including the Quinn Martin produced Cannon, The Streets of San Francisco, Mission: Impossible, M*A*S*H, Kojak, Get Smart, Hogan's Heroes, The Love Boat, McCloud, Mannix, It Takes a Thief, Peyton Place and the Cosby Show. She is credited with performing on the soundtracks of Hawaii Five-0, The Addams Family and The Brady Bunch along with Ironside, Room 222, Bonanza, Wonder Woman, Alias Smith & Jones, Run for Your Life and Barnaby Jones.
Beginning in 1969, she wrote How To Play The Electric Bass, the first of many bass tutoring books and DVD Courses. She gave lessons to thousands of students, including John Clayton, Mike Porcaro, Alf Clausen, Tony Sales, Karl E. H. Seigfried, Roy Vogt and David Hungate.
Kaye retired from studio work during the 1970s because of arthritis. She later became active again as a session musician, live jazz performer and teacher of both bass and guitar, giving seminars and interviews.
Kaye played 12-string guitar on Frank Zappa's groundbreaking album Freak Out!. She also played on a few songs for his following album but declined to continue, saying she found some of the lyrics offensive. Kaye later said Zappa was good-natured and understanding about her qualms and they remained on friendly terms.
Carol Kaye was highly honored in the industry, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pittsburg Jazz Society, Outstanding Dedication to Bass Performance & Pedagogy and Lifetime Achievement Award from Bass Player Magazine in 2008. Kaye received the Esteemed Hollywood Composers-Arrangers Award, as well as the Touchstone Pioneer Women in Music Integrity & Professional Award.
"Good Vibrations" (The Beach Boys)
"Soul Reggae" (Charles Kynard)
"Homeward Bound" (Simon and Garfunkel)
"California Girls, Sloop John B, Help Me, Rhonda,
Heroes and Villains" (The Beach Boys)
"Natural Man" (Lou Rawls)
"Come Together" (Count Basie)
"Feelin' Alright" (Joe Cocker)
"I Think He's Hiding" (Randy Newman)
"Games People Play" (Mel Tormé)
"Cantaro" (Gene Ammons)
"Wait 'Til My Bobby Gets Home" (Darlene Love)
"Goin' Out Of My Head/Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (The Lettermen)
"Go Little Honda" (The Hondels)
"Hikky Burr" (Quincy Jones & Bill Cosby & TV theme)
"I'm a Believer" (The Monkees)
"Indian Reservation" (Paul Revere & the Raiders)
"In the Heat of the Night, I Don't Need No Doctor, America The Beautiful" (Ray Charles)
"It Must Be Him" (Vikki Carr)
"Little Green Apples" (O.C. Smith)
"Midnight Confessions" (The Grass Roots)
"Mission: Impossible Theme" (Lalo Schifrin)
"Out of This World" (Nancy Wilson)
"Wichita Lineman" and "Rhinestone Cowboy" (Glen Campbell)
"River Deep - Mountain High" (Ike & Tina Turner)
"Scarborough Fair/Canticle" (Simon and Garfunkel)
"Sixteen Tons" (Tennessee Ernie Ford)
"Someday We'll Be Together" (The Supremes)
"Something Stupid" (Frank and Nancy Sinatra)
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (Nancy Sinatra)
"This Diamond Ring" (Gary Lewis & the Playboys)
"The Twelfth of Never" (Johnny Mathis)
"The Way We Were" (Barbra Streisand)
"Understanding" (Ray Charles)
"Soul & Inspiration" bass, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" guitar (The Righteous Brothers)
"Suspicious Minds" (Elvis Presley) - some sources & Musicians Union contract
Pet Sounds (The Beach Boys)
Songs Of Innocence (David Axelrod)
Songs Of Experience (David Axelrod)
Release Of An Oath (The Electric Prunes)
Northern Windows (Hampton Hawes)
Big Man (Cannonball Adderley)
Reelin' With The Feelin' (Charles Kynard)
Cameo (Dusty Springfield)
Hugo In Wonder-land (Hugo Montenegro)
Your Good Thing (Lou Rawls)
You've Made Me So Very Happy (Lou Rawls)
The Funky Organ-ization of Henry Cain (Henry Cain)
Cosmic Sounds (The Zodiac)
Pride (Pride) (1970)
Thumbs up (Ray Pizzi, Carol Kaye, Mitch Holder)(1999)
Picking Up On The E-String (Carol Kaye) (1995)
Freak Out! (Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention)1965
Absolutely Free (Frank Zappa & The MOthers of Invention) 1966
"Then He Kissed Me" (The Crystals)
"Danke Schoen" (Wayne Newton)
"Johnny Angel" (Shelley Fabares)
"La Bamba" (Ritchie Valens)
"Let's Dance" (Chris Montez)
"The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" (Jan and Dean)
"Needles and Pins" (Jackie DeShannon)
"Surf City" (Jan and Dean)
"The Beat Goes On" (Sonny & Cher)
"You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" (The Righteous Brothers)
"The Birds and the Bees" (Jewel Akens), with a Leslie speaker effect
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