Roy Halee is one of the great architects of modern music

By | November 13, 2022

On occasion, my column focuses on a neighborhood resident. At this time I pay tribute to Roy Halee, a music trade big who lived quietly and virtually unknown in Boulder for a few years.

Halee is finest recognized for producing the recordings of Paul Simon and Artwork Garfunkel, each as a band and their solo tasks. There are additionally his 9 Grammy nominations, received 4 occasions. He has labored with most of the most well-known in his subject.

For many years he was one of the influential folks within the recording trade, working as a producer and sound engineer. His music has helped form many facets of American tradition.

Jim Martin for the camera
Jim Martin for the digicam

Halee had a stroke of genius bringing Simon and Garfunkel collectively on one microphone. The magic combine produced nice leads to the recording studio.

A go to to his residence in Boulder leaves little doubt of his dedication to his craft. He has over 1,000,000 {dollars} price of recording tools in addition to a $100,000 turntable in his basement.

His Grammy awards share the identical basement shelf, received alongside Simon and Garfunkel. Amongst these winners are “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Mrs. Robinson. The latter was written for the acclaimed 1968 movie, “The Graduate.”

Different hits embody ‘Sounds of Silence’, ‘Homeward Certain’, ‘I Am a Rock’, ‘At The Zoo’, ‘Cecelia’, ‘Scarbrough Honest’, ‘Previous Pals’, ‘Dangling Dialog’ and extra Once more.

Many golden albums are framed and cling on the partitions of his home. There may be additionally a current private notice from Edie Brickell, Simon’s spouse, on a close-by desk.

Simon mentioned there would have been no “Graceland” album with out Halee. Simon credited the chemistry between them for a lot of of his hits. They each ventured to South Africa to document the album with native musicians – at a harmful time because the United Nations Anti-Apartheid Committee had launched a world boycott towards the nation.

Halee is especially proud that Graceland surpassed 5 million copies bought upon its launch, incomes platinum standing. At this time, that determine exceeds 16 million.

Simon and Halee received Album of the Yr for Graceland in 1987.

At this time, Halee nonetheless receives royalty checks for albums.

Boulder got here into his household’s life when his daughter Laura was attending the College of Colorado and his spouse Katherine visited. She was so taken with Boulder that she purchased a home right here. (In addition they raised two sons, Walter and Roy Jr.) Halee later joined her and made Boulder his residence, though he additionally spent a lot of his time in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville. .

Halee grew up in New York. He was born right into a present enterprise household. Her father was the unique voice of Mighty Mouse, and Heckle and Jeckle. He additionally voiced many cartoon characters and was a widely known singer.

Roy’s mom, Rebekah Cauble, was a former stage actress with a number of Broadway credit. She as soon as carried out with Al Jolson on the well-known Whither Theatre.

Halee was learning to be a classical trumpeter; he nonetheless performs it right now. He finally gave up that quest and started his profession with Columbia Tv, later becoming a member of Columbia Information. His tv credit included being a sound engineer for reveals reminiscent of “The Value is Proper”, “The Gary Moore Present”, “What’s My Line”, “To Inform the Reality”, “The Jackie Gleason Present” , “The 64,000”. Query” and the “Playhouse 90” collection.

When Columbia TV had an enormous layoff, Halee went to work at Columbia Information, the place he grew to become a pioneer. He began out as a sound engineer, then grew to become one of many first producers/sound engineers within the trade.

One in every of his breakout moments was working with Bob Dylan on “Like a Rolling Stone.” Dylan carried Columbia Information for a few years, accounting for a lot of hits.

Clive Davis is among the recording trade’s best pioneers and the previous president of Columbia Information. He employed a lot of the expertise, permitting Halee to work with such giants as Bruce Springsteen, Lovin’ Spoonful, Bee Gees, Barbara Streisand, Blood Sweat and Tears, Glen Campbell, Neil Diamond, Dave Clark 5, Yardbirds, Laura Nyro and others.

Davis satisfied Halee to assist begin Columbia Information in Los Angeles as a result of Davis wished to get away from New York’s unions.

In 2001, Halee acquired the TEC (Technical Excellence Creativity) award. He was inducted into the TEC Award Corridor of Fame.

After Halee found Simon and Garfunkel’s uniqueness, he spent most of his time producing their data.

After their cut up, Halee grew to become Simon’s sole producer.

Halee helped produce the well-known free Simon and Garfunkel profit live performance on the Nice Garden in New York’s Central Park on September 19, 1981. The gang was estimated at over 500,000. An album and a movie of this live performance have been launched a 12 months later.

This live performance had a profound impact on Halee, who was on stage. He mentioned: “I’ll always remember then-New York Mayor Ed Koch introducing Paul and Artie to the gang and the roar of the gang. It was an enormous and surreal eruption, to not be believed.

Music is each her previous and her pastime, when Halee, 88, would not spoil her brown and white pointers.

I requested Roy what he would change within the trade, and his response was surprisingly vehement.

“It is bitter grapes. The music not exists. It is simply noise. If it is not noisy, it is no good. We’re dinosaurs. Individuals do not bear in mind us. The digital age has been our destruction.

Roy Halee is claimed to be one of many nice architects of recent music, though nobody is aware of it.

You by no means know who you may meet in Boulder.

Jim Martin could be reached at [email protected]