Carol Kaye

One of the most prolific bass guitarists of all time, Carol Kaye worked with many of the greatest artists and producers over the course of a staggering 10,000 recordings. As one of the few female members of the ... Read more »
Born: 03/24/1935 in Everett, Washington, USA

Filmography

Actor (5)

The Wrecking Crew 2015 (Movie)

(Himself)

When KISS Ruled The World 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

Glen Campbell: Still on the Line 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor
Music (2)

The Wrecking Crew 2015 (Movie)

Bass (Soloist)

The Hot Rock 1971 (Movie)

Sound Track Musician(Fender Bass) (Performer)

Biography

One of the most prolific bass guitarists of all time, Carol Kaye worked with many of the greatest artists and producers over the course of a staggering 10,000 recordings. As one of the few female members of the legendary Los Angeles studio musician team The Wrecking Crew, she also helped to break down barriers in the male-dominated world of session musicians. Born in Everett, WA in 1935 to a trombonist father and pianist mother, Kaye picked up the guitar at a young age and began to teach the instrument at just 14 before she started to play professionally with various bands in Los Angeles nightclubs. In 1957, she was invited to play guitar on Sam Cooke's cover of "Summertime" and subsequently contributed to Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba." In the early 1960s, she began working as part of producer Phil Spector's regular stable of Los Angeles studio musicians, which eventually grew into the group that was retroactively dubbed The Wrecking Crew by one of its key members, drummer Hal Blaine. After she was asked to fill in for a missing bassist during a 1963 Capitol Records session, Kaye switched her instrument of choice from guitar to bass and established herself as one of the era's key session musicians with her signature solid rhythmic technique. Alongside her notable contributions to The Beach Boys' classic run of singles and albums, Ike & Tina Turner's cult favorite "River Deep, Mountain High," and several of The Monkees' early hits, Kaye's exhaustive discography during the next decade also includes the iconic TV themes for "Mission: Impossible" (CBS 1966-1973), "Hawaii Five-0" (CBS 1968-1980) and "The Addams Family" (ABC 1964-66), as well as appearances on the scores for "Bullitt" (1968), "M*A*S*H" (1970), and "Escape From The Planet Of The Apes" (1971). In 1969, she released <i>How To Play The Electric Bass</i>, the first of many bass tutoring books she would pen in order to pass on her wisdom over the next several decades. After years of being on-call 24 hours a day/seven days a week, Kaye was forced to cut back her recording workload in the mid-1970s due to injuries suffered in a car accident. She continued to conduct bass seminars all over America, where she counted the likes of Toto's David Hungate and TV composer Alf Clausen as students. Following corrective surgery in 1994, Kaye slowly returned to the studio fold, reuniting with Brian Wilson on the family affair <i>The Wilsons</i> in 1997, and working on Matthew Sweet's <i>In Reverse</i> two years later. In 2006, she found herself in the studio with another '60s session veteran, Jim Keltner, when she was asked to play on Frank Black's <i>Fast Man Raider Man</i> and Money Mark's <i>Brand New By Tomorrow</i>. Kaye also became a familiar figure in documentaries about the Los Angeles pop scene, including one feature about her own career, "Carol Kaye: Pioneer and Session Legend" (2011).

Milestones

1968

Releases <i>How To Play The Electric Bass</i>

1963

Changes instrument to bass after filling in on Capitol Records session

1957

Invited to play guitar on Sam Cooke's "Summertime"

Bonus Trivia

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Kaye claims to have played guitar on the Beach Boys' 1963 number one "Surf City." However, although a session list compiled by Craig Slowinski for The Smile Sessions box-set liner notes reveals that she unquestionably played on several sessions for the song, none of those recordings made the final edit as released on the single.

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Kaye quit her session work on Frank Zappa's second album, Absolutely Free, after objecting to some of its lyrics.

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