|Real Name:||Ronald Frangipane|
Ron Frangipane was an Emmy award-winning U.S. multi-instrumentalist (best known for keyboards), composer, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, musical director, Grammy-nominated producer, Clio award winning jingle writer, and tenured professor of Music at Monmouth University and was involved with many Gold and Platinum certified records. Born July 26, 1944 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Died April 25, 2020 in Tinton Falls, N.J. Ron began playing accordion as a child and quickly started to study piano, followed by saxophone and clarinet in order to join his high school band. As a teenager, he would regularly place top 5 in regional and national accordion competitions. By 15 years old he formed his own band and played all over New York and New Jersey. Ron attended The Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, and received his Master's degree in Fine Arts from Goddard College. While at Eastman, he would be the youngest (to that date) summer replacement pianist during Zero Mostel's tenure as Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof on Broadway. He worked in the record industry for 15 years; from 1967 to 1982 while at the same time working in film, theater, and jingle writing. In 1983 he left the industry and became the Senior Creative Director of Frank Gari Productions; one of the most respected TV and radio agencies in the world. In the early 1990's he left FGP and the East Coast to become the Vice-President of Creative Services at a new Startup called ETM in Southern California. It was ETM that Pearl Jam teamed up with to battle Ticketmaster. ETM was to be a division of CBS, but they were never able to work out the deal, and when Pearl Jam abandoned their boycott, the company folded soon after, during the dot-com bubble burst. In 1997, Ron returned East to New Jersey to begin the chapter of his career that he always said was the most satisfying; becoming a tenured professor of Music at Monmouth University. His first professional record release was as the composer of Al Caiola's Evening Tide in 1960, when Ron was 15 years old. After graduating with his degree from Eastman, he was hired as an on and off-stage keyboard player on the ill-fated Broadway show The Freaking Out of Stephanie Blake and met the great Jeff Barry who had written the music for the show. Jeff Barry took instantly to Ron's playing and hired him as his go-to keyboard player as Artie Butler (Barry's keyboard player to that point) had gone west to California. Ron told his good friend Ron Dante that Barry was looking for a singer for his new band, The Archies, and urged him to try out. Rons Frangipane and Dante went on to make a great deal of music together in the Archies, Dante's first solo album Ron Dante Brings You Up (1970), on other projects such as The California Gold Rush and C.G. Rose, in theatre, and in their jingle company, Tintinnabulation. Frangipane played keyboards for nearly all of Jeff Barry's productions in the late 1960's into the early 1970's. Five of Barry's productions; The Globetrotters/The Globetrotters (1970), The Klowns/Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey (1970), Dusty Springfield/Faithful (recorded 1971, released 2016), She Na Na/The Night Is Still Young (1971) and Robin McNamara/Lay A Little Loving On Me (1970) featured uncredited performances with Frangipane on keyboards as well as other members of Barry's 'Archies' side men. Frangipane also supplied keyboards on the Barry-produced final Monkee's album Changes. Jeff Barry began hiring Frangipane to arrange more material including Andy Kim's Rainbow Ride (1969) and Baby I Love You (1969)(uncredited). Ron was given a record deal to front his own outfit called Ron Frangipane and His Orchestra on Mainstream Records. He worked on a total of 4 records for Mainstream; Ron Frangipane and His Orchestra/Rated X For Excitement (1970), Ron Frangipane and His Orchestra/The Music Of Laura Nyro (1971), Dean Christopher/Images (1970), and Bobby Shad and the Bad Men/A 65-piece Rock Experiment (1973). Frangipane also worked at Mercury as a staff arranger. In the late 1960's Frangipane played keyboards on the soundtracks to both Barbarella and Midnight Cowboy. By 1970 he was arranging more than playing. He played keyboards and arranged material for Melanie, and in fact was the first musician she played with live, and for a time he was the only pianist she used on stage, including Carnegie Hall, Summer Stage in Central Park, The Met, and Drury Lane, as Melanie stated in a Facebook post after Ron's death. While recording The Chesapeake Jukebox Band, Frangipane met John Lennon who hired him to orchestrate the strings on Happy XMAS (War Is Over) (1971) (uncredited). A few months later, Lennon brought him back to orchestrate the strings on Some Time In New York City and Yoko Ono hired him to orchestrate strings on her double album Approximately Infinite Universe. In 1973 he composed the score to Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain with Don Cherry and Jodorowsky. He began to get hired more and more as an arranger and then as a producer. He went on to Arrange and/or produce Grace Slick, Janis Ian, Gene Simmons, Engelbert Humperdinck, Dianna Ross, Perry Como, Dionne Warwick, and many, many others. Grace Slick's Dreams, which Ron produced and arranged, was nominated for a Grammy, and his work with Gene Simmons, Dianna Ross and Janis Ian earned him Gold and Platinum records. In 1981 he won an Emmy for his score for a television show called This Was America, presented by William Shatner. In 1975, Ron was the Musical Director and orchestrator for the American Bicentennial celebration Sing America, Sing with Oscar Brand at the Kennedy Center. In 2012, Ron was injured during hurricane Sandy and was no longer able to teach at the University. His family cared for him at home until his passing in 2020.
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|In Groups:||Ron Frangipane And His Orchestra, The Archies|
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