Session musician, lyricist, and producer-arranger born January 3, 1943
in Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Van Dyke Parks is probably best known for his work with the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson on that band's never-released Smile, a 1966 effort whose complex song structures and layered sounds supposedly rivaled the Beatles' upcoming Sgt. Pepper. Unfortunately, the cryptic poeticism of Parks' work alienated group member Mike Love, whose cars-n-girls lyrics had been a staple of the band's prior work. This ended Parks' collaboration with the Beach Boys (though not with Brian Wilson). Some of Smile's fabled tracks, such as "Surf's Up" and "Heroes and Villains", survived to be released on later albums.
Apart from his work with the Beach Boys, Van Dyke Parks produced albums for Ry Cooder, Randy Newman, and Phil Ochs.
Van Dyke Parks' own albums include:
Song Cycle, 1968
Discover America, 1972
Clang of the Yankee Reaper, 1976
Tokyo Rose, 1989
The Fisherman and his Wife, 1989
Orange Crate Art, 1995
Idiosyncratic Path, 1996
Moonlighting! - Live at the Ash Grove, 1997
In addition, Van Dyke Parks has scored numerous films, such as The Two Jakes, Private Parts and Club Paradise (really).
Trivia: Van Dyke Parks named Buffalo Springfield, and also had a minor role in David Lynch's Twin Peaks ("Jack Racine").