Van Dyke Parks

Essential Albums

About Van Dyke Parks

Van Dyke Parks is regarded as one of the most talented and admired behind-the-scenes figures in rock and pop from the mid-'60s onward. His work often shows a deep refinement and sophistication, revealing an encyclopedic understanding of American musical vernacular and sounds from around the world. While he's best known for writing the lyrics for many of the songs on the long-lost Beach Boys album SMiLE, he's worked with a variety of other artists as a producer, songwriter, arranger, and session musician. Although he's fared better working for others than recording on his own, Song Cycle (1968) is regarded as an orchestral pop masterpiece, while the Caribbean experiments of Discover America (1972), the film music anthology Super Chief: Music for the Silver Screen (2013), and his exploration of Latin sounds in ¡Spangled! (2019) are fine examples of what he can do when given full rein.

Hattiesburg, MS, United States
January 3, 1943
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