Jack NitzscheWorking with Jack Nitzsche HEAR

Jack Nitzsche, a prolific arranger, producer (often working with Phil Spector) and composer himself, did only two albums as a performer. The first one, "The Lonely Surfer," released on Sinatra's fledgling Reprise label in 1963, included Al's composition "Beyond the Surf".

"'Beyond the Surf' is really quite good, if I may say so. In fact, when Phil Spector heard it, he called Nitzsche from New York and asked who wrote it. Naturally, I was flattered. I had a chance, later, to write with Spector but we never did get together.

"I actually thought 'Beyond the Surf' would have been great for Herb Alpert, who was a good friend of mine at the time. I went to Herb's office and played it for him; he was excited, and wanted to record it. As I left his office, I mentioned - without thinking - that Jack Nitzsche had done it on an album, but nobody had ever heard it. Herb immediately told me he didn't want to record "Beyond the Surf" if there was already a record out on it. If he covered a song, he wanted to cover a hit song.

"That little mistake probably cost me $50,000 - the Tijuana Brass album I missed being on became a giant hit."

In 1964, Nitzsche went on to work with the Rolling Stones, playing piano on "Paint it Black" and writing the choir arrangement for "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and went on to working with Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young, Graham Parker and Jackie DeShannon. Before his passing in August 2000, Jack had composed 30 film soundtracks, receiving a 1975 Oscar nomination for his score to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and a 1982 Best Song Oscar for his own song (co-written with wife Buffy Saint-Marie) "Up Where We Belong" from "Officer and a Gentleman".