Perry Botkin

About Perry Botkin

Perry Botkin was a guitarist and banjo player who became heavily involved in television and film background music in the mid-'40s. His son, Perry Botkin, Jr., followed in his footsteps right into the same recording studios, becoming involved for the most part with a who's-who of easy listening talent. His sessions date back to the early '60s when, under the name of Bunny Botkin, he created vocal arrangements for the Cheers' recording of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's "Bazoom, I Need your Lovin'," a song with a timeless message. Soon there would be a truly classic Botkin moment in this type of vocal music on the Cascades' hit "Rhythm of the Rain," where he played an unforgettably charming, chiming celeste part. He worked with groups such as the Lettermen, Harper's Bizarre, Bobbie Gentry, and even Rod McKuen. Yet there were always interesting edges to Botkin's career, including his arrangements on albums by the Electric Prunes and softie psychedelic band the Mojo Men. He also collaborated with songwriter and performer Harry Nilsson. One song that resulted from their co-writing sessions, "Paradise," has been covered by artists diverse as Bette Midler and Shonen Knife. The man's obvious creativity came fully to the fore in 1990 when he retired from commercial music completely and began experimenting with electronic music. This change in direction resulted in several CDs, including the combined collection Combines, Combines 2, and Combines 3. None have created quite the uproar of some of his pre-'90s efforts. He won a Grammy for "Nadias Theme" and an Oscar nomination for the Carpenters' performance of his song "Bless the Beasts and Children," and he wrote the theme to one of the longest-running shows on television, The Young and the Restless. In all, he scored more than 50 different television shows before retiring from that end of the business, in addition to more than a dozen films and many recording sessions. Perry Botkin, Jr. died on January 18, 2021 in a hospital in Burbank, California; he was 87 years old. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

New York, NY, United States
April 16, 1933
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