Über Ron Elliott
Van Dyke Parks believes his old friend Ron Elliott is one of pop's great composers -- now how's that for a reference? With a love for both country and Tin Pan Alley, Elliott's prolific songwriting and jangly guitar helped make San Francisco's Beau Brummels a band of folk-rock, psych-pop, and country-rock pioneers. The group scored two hits in 1964 and '65: "Laugh, Laugh" and "Just a Little." But the Brummels' greatest artistic achievements, 1967's Triangle and Bradley's Barn in '68, flopped with mainstream audiences, as well as the hippie underground, despite sharing key aesthetic sensibilities with Parks' Song Cycle and the Beach Boys' Smile. Just before the Brummels fell apart, Elliott began playing, writing, producing and arranging for other artists, including Parks (he appears on Song Cycle), Randy Newman, Levitt & McClure, the Everly Brothers, Pan, Van Morrison and Little Feat. Suffering from severe diabetes since childhood, Elliott released but a single solo LP, 1970's The Candlestickmaker, yet another overlooked gem. He has also overseen a handful of Brummels reunions. These days, Elliott still calls San Francisco home, where he devotes most of his time to the visual arts.