Happy Birthday to Douglas Farthing Hatlelid aka Chip Douglas – born August 27, 1942!
Douglas Farthing Hatlelid, better known as Chip Douglas, is a songwriter, musician (bass, guitar and keyboards), and record producer, whose most famous work was during the 1960s. He was the producer of some of the Monkees biggest hits, including “Daydream Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday”.
Douglas was raised in Hawaii and began his musical career with a folk group he formed in high school, “The Wilcox Three”, modeled after The Kingston Trio. During a trip to California, they were discovered by a well-known booking agency and signed by RCA/Camden to record an album at their studios in Hollywood.
The group dissolved and Douglas, along with Cyrus Faryar and noted rock photographer Henry Diltz, formed the Modern Folk Quartet (along with musician Jerry Yester) in Los Angeles. They were signed by Warner Bros. and recorded two albums: Modern Folk Quartet and Changes. They also appeared as themselves in a nightclub scene for the Warner Bros. movie Palm Springs Weekend, starring Connie Stevens and Troy Donahue (1963). MFQ spent the next several years touring the U.S. playing college concerts.
The Modern Folk Quartet was signed by producer Phil Spector in 1966, and recorded a song, “This Could Be the Night”, co-written by Spector and up-and-coming singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson. The record was not released at that time, but Douglas and Nilsson became friends. In the latter half of 1966, Douglas was a member of the short-lived Gene Clark Group, a band featuring the ex-Byrds Gene Clark, ex-Grass Roots Joel Larson, and Bill Rinehart, formerly of The Leaves. Clark disbanded the group at the end of that year without having recorded or released any records.
When The Turtles’ bassist Chuck Portz was fired from the band, Douglas was asked to take his place. His first record with them was “Happy Together”, which they’d decided to record after hearing a well-worn demo that had been passed on by numerous other artists. Douglas played bass and did the arrangement that was recorded, and it became a huge hit for The Turtles, ousting The Beatles’ “Penny Lane” from the #1 single position on the American pop charts.