One album wonders: Diane Hildebrand’s Early Morning Blues and Greens

DIANE HILDEBRAND – EARLY MORNING BLUES AND GREENS (1967) 

Diane Hildebrand - Early Morning Blues and Greens

It’s surprisingly hard to find much information online about singer-songwriter Diane Hildebrand, who was a professional songwriter who penned numbers for none other than The Monkees and released a single, wonderful solo album in the 1960s.

Hildebrand was apparently about eighteen when one of her compositions, “I’m On My Way,” was sung by singer Barbara Dane on an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour titled “The Captive Hour.” Her first credit was 1964’s “He Walks Like a Man” for singer Jody Miller — a song which though only a modest hit in the US was nevertheless released in FrenchGerman, and Italian cover versions.

 

A story about Hildebrand from a 1968 edition of Monkees Monthly

Whilst working as a staff writer at Screen Gems Music Publishing (and Colgems), Hildebrand and Jack Keller co-wrote several songs for the ABC series and band, The Monkees, including “Early Morning Blues and Greens,” “Your Auntie Grizelda,”and “Goin’ Down.” Hildebrand also wrote (with Dominic Frontiere“Felicidad” and “Paint Me a Picture” which, along with “I’m On My Way,” were all featured on another ABC series, The Flying Nun.

Hildebrand recorded just one solo album, Early Morning Blues and Greens, in 1967. It was recorded at Ami Hadani and Tom Hidley‘s T.T.G. Studios in Hollywood, then-new and previously used by only The Animals and The Mothers of Invention. Hildebrand’s album was released by Elektra and seems to have relied on a lot of in-house talend including engineer Bruce Botnick, famed for his work with Love and The Doors, co-producers David Anderle and Russ Miller, and “presenter” Jac Holzman. Musicians who participated in the album’s recording include David Dawson, Fred Myrow, James Decker, Malcolm Elsensohn, Russell White, Sheridon Stokes, Tony McCashen, and Hildebrand’s boyfriend, Colin Cameron, who then-lived with her in the Beachwood Canyon neighborhood.

After the release of Early Morning Blues and Greens, a promo single, “Early Morning Blues And Greens” b/w “Come Looking For Me,” was released the in 1968 but doesn’t seem to have actually been much promoted. It was followed by “Jan’s Blues” b/w Early Morning Blues and Greens” which though excellent, seems to have somehow gotten lost in the shuffle. Someone at Elektra must’ve believed in it in Hildebrand as the album was re-released in 1968 and ’69. It was finally released on compact disc in 2006 by Collectors’ Choice Music.

After her single solo release Hildebrand returned to writing for others, providingsongs for country-rockers The Lewis And Clarke Expedition and Stone Country (both of them also one-album-wonders), Texas’s The Fountain of Youth, and hot-rodders The Hondells. Hildebrand’s continued collaboration with Kelly produced “Easy Come, Easy Go,” which was a hit for Bobby Sherman in 1970, and “Apple Bend” for Johnny Tillotson, which was not. In the mid-1970s, she was still composing, writing songs for “When We’re Singin'” for The Partridge Family in 1974 and (with Jackie Mills) the theme for The Ghost Busters in 1975. After that trail goes cold and Hildebrand, who seems to have always shied away from the limelight, seems to have left her Hollywood life behind.

*****

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