Incredibly special, was the presentation on the evening of March 7, 2023 at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill, Jazz, etc, in Bel Air, CA, with featured vocalist, Sally Stevens.
I was fortunate to score a coveted ticket to the sold-out event through music producer, composer and film director, Christopher M. Allport. Allport created the multimedia reflection on Ms. Steven’s career, presented that evening. Also featured were Bill Cantos on piano, special guest pianist Jean-Michel Bernard, and USC Thornton School Screen Scoring adjunct professor, Jon Burlingame.
Have you heard of Sally before? Perhaps the casual listener hasn’t yet. The name Sally Stevens is synonymous with the smoothest vocals that have sweetened many hit records — all the way back to her early start with Herb Alpert and Lou Adler.
In 1959, Alpert and Adler discovered Sally as a vocalist while she was still a student at UCLA — and thought she would be perfect to cut one of their songs. They asked her to write a B-side for their single. But they were impressed enough to scrap their song and have her write the A side too! The single was released in “Ultra High Fidelity” on Dot Records — which at that time was a division of Paramount Pictures.
I SANG THAT – A MEMOIR FROM HOLLYWOOD, written by Sally Stevens, and published by Atmosphere Press, is the multi-hyphenate musician’s memoir. It spans the multiple decades of her career, which ranges from singing to penning lyrics for some of the most notable musicians of the twentieth century. Some of the composers that Sally has collaborated with include Burt Bacharach, Dave Grusin and Dominic Frontiere. Her lyrics have also been recorded by vocalists like Jerry Fuller and James Taylor.
One of the last things Mr. Bacharach ever penned before his passing, was the beautiful testimonial that graces the rear cover of I SANG THAT. “My journey with Sally Stevens — I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Hats off to you, Sally — you’ve done it all!”
I highly recommended this book. I SANG THAT is a wonderful, educational journey — from inside the clock-work-like intricacies of the Hollywood machine.
As Ms. Stevens career progressed from her early singing jobs with the Ray Conniff Singers, Nat King Cole, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, the Elvis Presley ’68 Comeback Special and The Danny Kaye Show, she expanded to soundtrack vocals on The Sound of Music, Dirty Harry, Klute, The Secret of Nimh and The Simpsons.
Herb Alpert even asked Sally to contract the background singers for his first vocal hit, This Guy’s In Love With You.
Since the 1980s, Sally Stevens has been well known throughout the Los Angeles music community for being able to assemble the best ensemble singers for the composers of major motion picture and TV soundtracks — directed by the likes of Tim Burton, Robert Zemeckis, James Cameron, John G. Alivdsen, Peter Jackson, M. Night Shaymalan and Steven Spielberg.
Sally's work is a top call for composers like John Williams, Danny Elfman, Alf Clausen, Jerry Goldsmith, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, James Newton Howard, Randy Newman, Terrence Blanchard and Thomas Newman. As a contractor and conductor, Sally has also contributed to the vocal sound and success of the Oscars broadcasts.
Harvey Kubernik is the author of 20 books, most notably, 2009’s Canyon Of Dreams: The Magic And The Music Of Laurel Canyon and 2014’s Turn Up The Radio! Rock, Pop and Roll In Los Angeles 1956-1972. Sterling/Barnes and Noble in 2018 published Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik’s The Story Of The Band: From Big Pink To The Last Waltz. In2021 they wrote Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child for Sterling/Barnes and Noble. Otherworld Cottage Industries in 2020 published Harvey’s Docs That Rock, Music That Matters.
Kubernik’s writings are in several book anthologies, including The Rolling Stone Book Of The Beats and Drinking With Bukowski. Harvey wrote the liner notes to the CD re-releases of Carole King’s Tapestry, The Essential Carole King, Allen Ginsberg’s Kaddish, Elvis Presley The ’68 Comeback Special, The Ramones’ End of the Century and Big Brother & the Holding Company Captured Live at The Monterey International Pop Festival.