R.I. P. Legendary Producer/Record Executive David Anderle!

To the average person, the name David Anderle means nothing and that's sad because if you've been listening to music long enough, then there's at least one iconic album in your collection that he played a part in making happen.  Maybe that album is a soundtrack to a John Hughes film, like "Pretty In Pink" or "The Breakfast Club", or maybe it's Blues Traveler's Straight On Til Morning or Kris Kristofferson's Shake Hands With The Devil or maybe even the lone A&M Records release by the Swimming Pool Q's.

David Anderle lived and breathed music.  After all, this was a man who produced albums by seminal L.A. punk band the Circle Jerks and English singer Chris DeBurgh (most famous for "Lady In Red"), but was best-known as an A&R executive for A&M Records, where he signed and championed an artist by the name of Josh Clayton-Felt.

Felt, of course, had been a member of School Of Fish ("Three Strange Days"), but had signed to A&M as a solo artist.  It was Anderle who not only believed in Josh's vision, but allowed him to make the album that he wanted to make, free of outside interference.  See, major labels have a habit of signing artists and then immediately setting about trying to mold that artist into what they want instead of what they signed.

Seems kinda counter-intuitive, doesn't it?

Anderle, of course, signed Josh for the same reason that David Geffen had signed Jackson Browne to his newly-formed Asylum Records back in the early '70s.  In Josh, he saw a songwriter and performer whose gentle way with a melody and positive outlook was undeniably infectious. If given the right promotion, Anderle believed that he and the label would have a career artist on their hands.

Sadly, it was not to be.  Josh's album stiffed and he would be dropped from the label after A&M merged with Interscope, leaving an unfinished second album languishing in the vaults.  It was during a conversation I had with Anderle concerning another artist that Anderle himself mentioned Josh Clayton-Felt as an artist whose greatness could simply not be appreciated within the confines of today's music industry.

David Anderle's portrait of Brian Wilson
That there was no place for such visionaries as Josh, whom he compared to Brian Wilson, clearly pained him to no end and when he left the music business to pursue his love for painting, it came as no surprise to me that among his subjects at a recent gallery showing were Brian Wilson and two portraits of Josh Clayton-Felt.

That, more than anything, made me respect the man even more than I had for his legendary contributions to the music world.

Rest in peace, David, and thank you.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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