Music legend Kim Fowley died Thursday at the age of 75 after a long battle with bladder cancer. Although perhaps best remembered as manager of the all-female rock band the Runaways, his influence extended far beyond. The brilliant yet eccentric artist was equal parts writer, producer and impresario, working with a genre-spanning list of talent over his half-century in the business. Whether proto-metal dynamite with Blue Cheer and The Lancasters (featuring a young Richie Blackmore), quieter acoustic fare with Cat Stevens, ’60s pop perfection with Paul Revere & The Raiders and the Byrds or harder ’70s rock with KISS and Alice Cooper, Fowley put his unique stamp on the musical world. As we mourn his loss, we take a look back at our 15 favorite tracks that he left behind.
1. “Charge” by the Renegades (1959)
Fowley came out swinging with this fierce cut, his first record as producer.
2. “Alley Oop” by the Hollywood Argyles (1960)
Although meant as a novelty song, this track by the fictitious “Hollywood Argyles” ended up reaching the number 1 spot back in ’60. It proved to be his first major success as a producer.
3. “Nut Rocker” by B. Bumble and the Stingers (1962)
Like The Nutcracker on speed, this rockin’ instrumental became a number 2 hit in Great Britain. It has gone on to have a long legacy of commercial and theme song use.
4. “Popsicles And Icicles” by the Murmaids (1963)
A change of a pace from his raw rock roots, this gentle number released during the height of Phil Spector’s girl-group era is a pop precedent for his more famous work with the Runaways a decade later.
5. “The Trip” by Kim Fowley (1965)
In the midst of working with counterculture mainstay Frank Zappa, Fowley used his own name to release this offbeat number chronicling the psychedelic experience.
6. “Satan’s Holiday” by The Lancasters (1965)
Kim produced these UK kids, featuring a young Richie Blackmore, on a particularly nasty take of Edvard Grieg’s “In The Hall Of The Mountain King.”
7. “Evil Witchman” by the N’Betweens (1966)
The band only had one session with Kim, producing the single “You Better Run” and this, the song’s flip-side. Although nothing much ever came of the N’Betweens, they later received worldwide acclaim after evolving into Slade.
8. “Portobello Road” by Cat Stevens (1967)
Fowley once again showed off his sensitive side when he penned the lyrics for this folky Cat Steven’s ballad— the B-side to his ’67 single, “I Love My Dog.”
9. “Feelin’, Reelin’, Squeelin'” by The Soft Machine (1967)
The B-side to the better known “Love Makes Sweet Music,” the disc represents the first offerings of truly great British Psychedelic music (beating Pink Floyd by over a month). The disorienting swirls of flute and growled vocals are incredible affecting —albeit scary— and illustrate Fowley’s masterful skill as a producer.
10. “Fallin’ Off The Edge (Of My Mind) by The Seeds (1968)
Fowley produced the one of the last singles from these proto-punk garage stompers before they called it quits and their lead singer joined the Yahowha religious movement.
11. “Walk Up The Street” by the Modern Lovers (1972)
Recorded before the band’s major debut produced by John Cale, these rough and ready raw recordings saw release in 1981 after the group disbanded.
12. “Fighting Star” by Blue Cheer (unreleased, 1974)
Perhaps most famous for their bone-crushing version of the early rock anthem “Summertime Blues,” the band reunited in 1974 after a 2-year split. The partnership was not to last, and tracks produced by Fowley (including this one) went unreleased.
13. “Escape” by Alice Cooper (1975)
From the epic Welcome To My Nightmare, this aptly named album closer had some writing help from Fowley.
14. “King Of The Night Time World” by KISS (1976)
Originally by The Hollywood Stars, a band that Fowley created as a west coast equivalent to the New York Dolls, the song wallowed in obscurity. Then KISS came along and launched it into the stratosphere.
15. “Cherry Bomb” by the Runaways (1976)
Arguably his greatest biggest legacy to the popular music cannon, . C’mon, you know the words…
[Photo: Getty Images]