VAN DYKE PARKS, an obsession with music
The musical prodigy Van Dyke Parks is only interested in music. Although he does not consider himself a great composer – ‘I’m just a hard worker’ – he enjoys great fame among colleagues and connoisseurs as a musician, arranger, lyricist, record producer, talent scout and film score composer. Born deep in the black south of the United States in 1943, he moves to California in the early sixties. There, Van Dyke writes songs that immediately appeal to people like Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. Together, they make the groundbreaking album Smile. In 1968, Van Dyke Parks releases his first solo album Songcycle: an ageless musical and verbal experiment, highly valued by a relatively small group of aficionados. The record is not a commercial success. Since that time, he composes, produces and arranges for artists like Randy Newman and Ry Cooder. The film shows Van Dyke Parks in his natural habitat: the sound studios in L.A., friends’ kitchens and the sun-drenched beach. Surrounded by friends like Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder and Timothy White.