He was born on 10th October 1934 in Brooklyn, New York. However, shortly afterwards he moved to the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles where he grew-up. His musical education started at the age of 11 when he began to study at the L.A. Music and Art School in east Los Angeles. He would later go on to study at L.A. City College. During his career he worked with a huge range of artists, including: Dionne Warwick, Jefferson Airplane, Christopher Cross, Chicago, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Johnny Mathis, and Frank Sinatra, to name merely a handful.
Chaikin died of heart failure on 23rd November 2012 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at the age of 78.