Synopses & Reviews
From having three top-forty hits before he was twenty, to being an in-demand studio musician recording with hit artists, Jimmy Ryan tells about his early years with The Critters, sharing the playbill with pioneers of rock 'n roll like The Rascals, The Ronettes, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Jay and the Americans; and, later, collaborating and recording with megastars such as Carly Simon, Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Elton John, The Doors, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart and many others. Behind is an adventure told in a series of revealing, entertaining, sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic tales that take the reader into the minds of pop stars, the shadier side of the music business, the struggle with setbacks, and the joys of success. From partying at the Playboy Mansion to panicking in a local prison with his bandmates, Ryan shares the experience of over six decades in the upper echelons of the music business. Behind is an insider's look into the people and business of the music industry. It examines how superstars and their musicians handle stress, their humanity, frailty, insecurities, and neuroses. It chronicles one musician's lifetime in the profession, sometimes in the spotlight, more often behind it, and most often in the recording studio as a composer, arranger, musician, producer, and engineer. Though by no means a tell-all hit piece, it instead employs humor, humility, occasional touches of gentle sarcasm, and masterful storytelling to craft a portrait of those who achieved stardom, their rewards, and their excesses, the alcohol and drugs, the emotional breaks, and self-destruction that befell so many, as well as those who failed in its pursuit. Ultimately, Behind is a lighthearted and joyful narrative that documents important moments in rock history. At the same time, its colorful stories and collection of personal photographs evoke memories of youth, concerts with friends, turbulent times of social change, and the delight of hits that made up the soundtrack of our lives. I invite you to take a first-hand look into the wonderful, often insane world of music through the eyes of a lifer, a musician who has found success and fulfillment by shapeshifting his way through a lifetime Behind the stars.
Jimmy Ryan is an American artist, composer, producer, and author with a career that has spanned six decades. Beginning at seventeen, he and his college band, The Critters had their first top forty hit, "Younger Girl" and in the next few years landed three charting albums and two more top forty hits, "Mr. Dieingly Sad" and "Don't Let The Rain Fall Down on Me."
In spring, 1968 Jimmy signed on as bassist for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, touring on Arthur's #1 hit "Fire." Jimmy was twenty-two at the time. In 1970, Jimmy's friend, Carly Simon called him to put a band together for her. She was breaking fast on the US and British top 40 with "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be," as well as her first album "Carly Simon," on which Jimmy played guitar. Jimmy went on to perform with Carly on most of her future albums and continues to work off and on with her to this day. Jimmy is featured in the 2018, BBC Special "Classic Albums - Carly Simon: No Secrets." He was the guitar soloist on many of Carly's hits, the most memorable being "You're So Vain," and the Academy Award winning song of the year from the movie, Working Girl, "Let The River Run." Jimmy also appeared in the video of the song. He performed in two HBO specials with Carly, Live From Martha's Vineyard, and My Romance, as well as playing on the studio recording of the My Romance CD with the legendary conductor and arranger, Marty Paich (father of David Paich of Toto fame).
Also of note is that along with the above, Jimmy found time to perform in the original Broadway production of Hair. He shared the spotlight with two other guitarists from 1968 to 1972. He was also a principal actor and musician in the Broadway production of "Pump Boys and Dinettes."
During his time working with Carly, he moved to London and recorded with numerous artists including Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, John Entwistle of the Who, Elton John & Kiki Dee, Tommy James, Jimmy Webb, The Doors, Andy Williams, Martha Reeves, and Rod Stewart. Jimmy played guitar on Andy Williams' #1 Neil Sedaka penned hit, "Solitaire." As a studio musician Jimmy has recorded along side legendary session players, including Jim Gordon, Jim Keltner, Claus Voorman, Nicky Hopkins, Bobby Keys, Richard Tee, Will Lee, Steve Gadd, Lowell George, Robbie Robertson, Paul Shaffer, Rick Marotta, Tony Levin, Roger Hawkins, Michael Brecker and David Sanborn. On Carly Simon sessions, he has recorded/collaborated with major artists including Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Luther Vandross, James Taylor and many more, earning him six gold and one platinum record/CD.
In 1980, Jimmy signed a two-year deal as staff writer for Atlantic Records' publishing company, Walden Music. During that time, his songs were covered by rock/pop artists, The Association, Irene Kara and Mickey Thomas (lead singer for Jefferson Starship/Elvin Bishop), as well as for pop/country artist, Michael Johnson.