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Obit: Dory Previn (1925-2012)

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GUEST 15 Feb 12 - 03:26 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 15 Feb 12 - 03:45 AM
Joe Offer 15 Feb 12 - 03:46 AM
evansakes 15 Feb 12 - 04:01 AM
Sandra in Sydney 15 Feb 12 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,Larry Saidman 15 Feb 12 - 05:04 AM
EBarnacle 15 Feb 12 - 12:20 PM
Speedwell 15 Feb 12 - 12:34 PM
Acme 15 Feb 12 - 12:38 PM
katlaughing 15 Feb 12 - 12:41 PM
Irene M 15 Feb 12 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,C. Ham 15 Feb 12 - 03:24 PM
Irene M 15 Feb 12 - 03:53 PM
Georgiansilver 15 Feb 12 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 15 Feb 12 - 05:10 PM
Jean(eanjay) 15 Feb 12 - 05:22 PM
Beer 15 Feb 12 - 05:34 PM
John MacKenzie 15 Feb 12 - 06:12 PM
ChanteyLass 15 Feb 12 - 07:25 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 15 Feb 12 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,Woodsie 16 Feb 12 - 05:15 AM
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Subject: Obit: Dory Previn (Feb 2012)
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 03:26 AM

A brilliant songwriter.

Obit from The New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/arts/music/dory-previn-songwriter-is-dead-at-86.html


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (Feb 2012)
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 03:45 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/arts/music/dory-previn-songwriter-is-dead-at-8

So sorry to hear this. Still, she made it to 86 - not a bad innings. Her music will live on after her.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (Feb 2012)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 03:46 AM

I think it's worth posting the New York Time Obituary:

Dory Previn, Songwriter, Is Dead at 86

Dory Previn, the lyricist for three Oscar-nominated songs who as a composer and performer mined her difficult childhood, bouts of mental illness and a very public divorce to create a potent and influential personal songbook, died on Tuesday at her home in Southfield, Mass. She was 86.

Her death was confirmed by her husband, Joby Baker.

Ms. Previn rose to prominence as a singer-songwriter with a substantial cult following in the early 1970s and she enriched a period in pop music history that also saw the emergence of Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Laura Nyro.

She never became as widely known as they were (though she did record a live double album at Carnegie Hall), partly because her voice was never as big as theirs, but also because her lyrics — frank and dark, even when tinged with humor, and often wincingly confessional — were not the stuff of pop radio. They were, however, clear antecedents of the work of later balladeers like Sinead O’Connor and Suzanne Vega.

In “With My Daddy in the Attic,” Ms. Previn wrote of her complicated relationship with her disturbed father. In “Esther’s First Communion,” she wrote about a girl’s indoctrination into religious ritual and her revulsion at it. In “Yada Yada La Scala,” she wrote about women in a mental hospital. In “Lemon Haired Ladies,” she wrote about an older woman pining for a younger man:

Whatever you give me

I’ll take as it comes

Discarding self-pity

I’ll manage with crumbs.

Unusually for a pop singer of the day, Ms. Previn’s background was in neither folk nor rock. Her early success came in Hollywood, writing songs for the movies, generally as a lyricist working with her husband, André Previn, who later earned fame as a classical composer and conductor.

Together they were nominated for two Academy Awards: in 1960 for “Faraway Part of Town,” from “Pepe,” and in 1962 for “Second Chance,” from “Two for the Seesaw.” But their best-known collaboration was the theme from the 1967 film version of Jacqueline Susann’s drug-soaked show-business novel “Valley of the Dolls” (later recorded by Dionne Warwick), which begins:

Gotta get off, gonna get

Have to get off from this ride

Gotta get hold, gonna get

Need to get hold of my pride.

The halting, almost stammering progression of laments, Ms. Previn later said, came from her own experience of relying on pills.

In 1969, working with the composer Fred Karlin, Ms. Previn earned a third Oscar nomination, for “Come Saturday Morning” from “The Sterile Cuckoo,” which became a hit for the Sandpipers.

By then, however, the Previn marriage was in a shambles. Mr. Previn had begun an affair with the actress Mia Farrow, then in her early 20s, whom he later married, and Ms. Previn, who had a history of emotional fragility and mental illness, fell apart. Fearful of traveling in general and of flying in particular, she had a breakdown on an airplane that was waiting to take off, shouted unintelligibly and tore at her clothes, and spent several months in a psychiatric hospital.

The episode, as awful as it was, proved to be a turning point in her life and career.

Her first album afterward, “On My Way to Where” (1970) — the title was a reference to the airplane debacle — included perhaps her most famous song, “Beware of Young Girls,” about Ms. Farrow, and received polarized reviews. On her second, “Mythical Kings and Iguanas” (1971), many critics noticed a growing vocal confidence. Her third, “Reflections in a Mud Puddle/Taps Tremors and Time Steps” (1971), included a pained report of and reflection on her father’s death, and drew praise from the New York Times music critic Don Heckman.

“Ms. Previn is no great singer, her guitar playing is only adequate, and her melodies sometimes have an uncomfortable tendency to move in too-familiar directions,” he wrote. “But her message is stated so brilliantly in her lyrics, and the tales she has to tell are so important, that they make occasional musical inadequacies fade away.”

Dorothy Veronica Langan was born in New Jersey — sources differ on the town, Rahway or Woodbridge — on Oct. 22, 1925, and she grew up in Woodbridge. Her father, Michael, was a laborer and a frustrated musician who pushed her toward music and dance. He had also been deranged, Ms. Previn wrote in a 1976 memoir, by his service in World War I. He had been gassed, she wrote, and he was convinced the gassing had made him sterile; therefore she could not be his daughter. For a while he locked himself in the attic.

Ms. Previn left home as a teenager and worked in summer stock and in commercials and sang in small clubs, writing new verses to popular songs. Her work came to the attention of Arthur Freed, the producer of MGM movie musicals like “An American in Paris” and “Singin’ in the Rain,” who hired her for MGM, where she met Mr. Previn. They married in 1959. She had been married and divorced previously.

In addition to her husband, Mr. Baker, a painter whom she met in the 1970s and married in 1986, she is survived by three stepchildren, Michele Wayland, Fredricka Baker and Scott Zimmerman, and six step-grandchildren.

In the 1980s, Ms. Previn and Mr. Previn reconciled as friends, and she came to loathe the fact that she was best known for their breakup. But the pain and grief were the foundation of her art. In the hospital after her breakdown, she was encouraged to write down her feelings, and they emerged as poems.

“I was always afraid to write music,” she said in 1970. “I wouldn’t have presumed to with a musician like André around the house. But I play a little guitar. So I started working them out on the guitar, thinking I could interest some singer in recording them and that’s how all these songs were born.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: February 14, 2012

An earlier version of this article referred to “On the Way to Where” (1970) as Ms. Previn’s first album, but in the 1950s she recorded the album “The Leprechauns Are Upon Me” under the name Dory Langdon. That version of the article also referred incorrectly to the 1970 album’s title; it is “On My Way to Where.”


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: evansakes
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 04:01 AM

'Coldwater Canyon' on the Old Grey Whistle Test


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 04:21 AM

one of my heroes

RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: GUEST,Larry Saidman
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 05:04 AM

One of the greats! Listen to her song "20 Mile Zone"; it will blow you away. And "King Kong", sung from the ape's point of view, is one of the great political songs of all time.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: EBarnacle
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 12:20 PM

Another one goes screaming through the night.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: Speedwell
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 12:34 PM

I was a big fan of hers in the early seventies - inspired lyrics. Little know perhaps but a quality songsmith. Rest peacefully Dory.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: Acme
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 12:38 PM

Another songwriter who made such an impact - looking at the obit I'm amazed I didn't realize everything she wrote.

RIP

SRS


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 12:41 PM

Well at least she survived her troubles for a good long spell and turned them into wonderful songs. She had some very interesting phrasing and I enjoyed her singing.

RIP

kat


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: Irene M
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 03:10 PM

Oh, what a shame.
Oddly, I was only wondering about her at the weekend, knowing she was getting on a bit in years.

I have; and still enjoy, Mythical Kings and Iguanas. My charming ex-boyfriend had made a point of playing me Lady With The Braid.

Oh well Dory. Going home is such a ride.................


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: GUEST,C. Ham
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 03:24 PM

I have a couple of her LP's from back in the day, and always admired her songs and the way she sang them.

I must admit that I'm very surprised at how old she was. I would have guessed about 15-20 years younger before reading the obit.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: Irene M
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 03:53 PM

Correction.
The track my ex played was Her Mother's Daughter.
About being left on the shelf.
I was 20 at the time.
The little dear!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 05:01 PM

Mythical Kings and Iguanas. Loads of memories.. especially of being on a University Course!........ RIP Dory


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 05:10 PM

Mention of her name immediately reminded me of Barnsley boy, Dave Burland singing Mythical Kings and Iguanas....
Derek


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 05:22 PM

So sorry to hear this sad news; she was a wonderful singer/songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: Beer
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 05:34 PM

Sad loss indeed.
Condolences to all her love ones.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 06:12 PM

Her voice and her lyrics, just got through my cynical old shell. I love her stuff.
RIP, and thanks.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 07:25 PM

Aww. Sad. She did well in spite of at least two painful rejections, from her dad and at least one husband.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 11:32 PM

I'm also surprised by her 86 years.
My mum's only just coming up to 80.

"Coldwater Canyon" was one of the first songs with 'difficult' chord changes
that I was keen work out when I was about 15.

Can't remember if I bought a 7" single or the LP ?
and tonight's the first time I've heard that song in well over 30 years.

She must have been about 50 in that Whistle Test clip.
Goes to show how varied my musical interests were when I was a teenager.

We were so lucky back then to come of age with Shows like Whistle Test on the BBC.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dory Previn (1925-Feb 14 2012)
From: GUEST,Woodsie
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 05:15 AM

I first heard Dory in 1973. Her "Mythical Kings and Iguanas is a classic album - "Lady With The Braid" is a beautiful song. R.I.P.


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