Al Hazan - Looking Back
"I never cared about gaining personal glory in the music business. I just wanted to write songs and make records. That's one reasion why I always made up other names when I recorded as a performer; names such as Ali Hassan, Al Anthony, Dudley Duncan or Crazy Luke. However, I learned to enjoy performing on stage while stationed overseas in the Army and continued to do so after my discharge in 1960.
Although my first song was recorded in 1953 and the last one in 2001, I only worked full-time at my career from 1955 to 1965.
During that decade, I managed to have over 80 of my songs recorded, producing 48 myself and singing or playing lead piano on 18 of them. When I quit the music business in 1965, I felt satisfied I had given it my best effort and was ready to move on to other challenges."
In 1965, Al began transitioning into a career that had been his hobby from childhood. He bought a camera, some floodlights and a roll of white background paper for around $250.00, and began doing professional photography in the living room of his Hollywood apartment.
"Some of the best times of my life were during that transition period, when I was still spending time in the recording studios and was also shooting pictures."
Eventually, Al's photography business became so successful, he gave up his recording career. By April of 1966, he bought his own house in the West Hollywood Hills and set up his photo studio in the garage. During the late 1960s, he specialized in fashion photography and worked with some of the most beautiful models in Southern California.
Four years later, however, Al began taking care of his father, Aaron, and business took a back seat. His father began deteriorating from Parkinson's disease and other age-related ailments until his death in late 1973. Six months later, Al's mother, Stella, was diagnosed with cancer. He devoted the following years to caring for his mother until she too passed on.
"Taking care of my parents during their dying years was a privilege. I was thankful I was healthy and financially independent and could afford to spend those difficult days doing my best for them."
By this time, Al's photography days were behind him and he decided to do something he could not do in his youth - go to college.
"I started small by enrolling at Los Angeles City College and taking the fundamental classes such as English, Chemistry, Philosophy, Sociology and Physics."
At first, Al wondered if he could compete with the 18 year-olds just out of high school; he felt intimidated. However, it wasn't long before he discovered he could hold his own and graduated from L.A.C.C. with a 4.0 GPA. This turned out lucky for him, since it allowed him to be accepted to the University of California at Los Angeles to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies.
"When I decided to go to UCLA, it was for no other reason than to experience my childhood fantasy of becoming a university student. I had no intention of becoming a doctor of psychology or anything else, I just felt like it would be a worthwhile adventure. I was taking care of my mother during her dying years and had little time for a business career so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to pursue that goal.
I was fortunate to have Communication Studies as my major since it offered such classes as History of American Broadcasting and American Pulp Fiction. I was also able to take elective classes of other subjects I wanted to learn, such as The Music of Ludwig Von Beethoven and The History of Jazz.
On the other hand, there were also difficult subjects to master and exams to study for, which caused me to burn out during my final semester. Between the stress of carrying a full load of classes and the eventual death of my mother, I had to quit school for a few months. When I returned to finish my remaining requirements, I was given the opportunity to attend my classes and write papers instead of taking exams to complete my units for graduation."
Al graduated from UCLA, Magna Cum Laude, in 1984 and continued his academic career, earning his Ph.D. in Psychology in 1990.
"In order to take my psychotherapy licensing exams and begin private practice, I had to perform 3,000 hours of voluntary internship. I performed these hours at a facility that featured a program for the temporarily homeless. My job was to counsel these people through a difficult period in their life and back on their feet. We offered three months of food and lodging as long as the residents would spend their days looking for work.
I was proud of the job we did at the homeless program and was privileged to meet and help some terrific people who had either encountered some unfortunate life situation or had just relocated to Southern California from a foreign country or another state. All they needed was a little help and a chance to get settled in their life. After my internship, I went on to study and take my written and oral exams for licensing."
Al became a licensed psychotherapist and began his private practice in Los Angeles, specializing in treating victims of violent crime. On May 23, 1990, he was honored by President Ronald Reagan with a special commendation for his work with crime victims thanks mainly to a letter the President received from the mother of a murdered daughter. Since then, Al has expanded his practice to include individual and couples counseling.
In sum, in addition to his music career, Al has been a licensed real estate broker since 1954, worked as a professional photographer, is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army, and now specializes in treating crime victims as a Doctor of Psychology.
Al is also owner of Chemistry Music, which handles publishing and licensing for 80 original compositions. And he has begun writing a memoir about his life in the music business in addition to writing articles about the music business for Spectropop, a website dedicated to the pop and rock music of the late 1950s and 1960s.
Links to Al's current web articles posted at the Spectropop website are listed on his "Current Web Articles" page.