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Kim Fowley

Six and a half feet tall and uglier than he could be, Kim Fowley was born – in the Philippines – on the day Hitler invaded Poland. He grew up in the last Babylonian days of tarnished Hollywood.

His dad played Doc Holliday in the TV series Wyatt Earp and sent young Kim to finishing school – where he shared an inkwell with Nancy Sinatra.


Fuelled on ElvisFrankie Lymon and the whole American Graffiti drive-in fumble, Fowley befriended fellow freak Phil Spector before embarking on his quest to justify girlfriend Candice Bergen’s assertion that he would make “dog crap rock and roll records”.

Flitting between LA, Swinging London (he stood in the audience at the Richmond Athletic Club with Eric Clapton watching The Rolling Stones and worked with Cat Stevens and P J Proby‘s hairdresser, Spider) and the black country rock of pre-Slade incarnation The N’ Betweens, Fowley was always there.

His million-sellers like Alley-Oop and B Bumble and The Stingers‘ Nut Rocker were the jukebox gems on a depraved string of pearls.

During the 70s, Fowley turned his attention to Britain, where he produced records for The Rockin’ Berries and Cat Stevens among others.

Never keen to cast his shadow too long in any one place, Kim also rubbed alongside ThemThe Soft Machine and The Rivingtons.

He then went on to create The Runaways, an all-girl outfit, from which Joan Jett embarked upon a successful career with The Blackhearts.

Fowley married longtime girlfriend and music executive Kara Wright in Los Angeles on 24 September 2014.

He died of bladder cancer in Hollywood, California on 15 January 2015 at the age of 75.