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Donny Pike
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age 60 2009

Donny Pike
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Kipahulu 2009

            At the age 12 I was strumming on my guitar writing songs and more than willing to sing them for any audience I could round up. My oldest brother Jim helped me get promotional photos made and we chose two songs for me to record (“Too Young” and ”Four Girls”) Both of which I still remember the words to. The year was 1961 and Capital records had just released The Lettermen’s first Capital single “That’s My Desire”. A local top rated music station. KFWB had started playing the flip side of the record “The Way You Look Tonight”. Another singing group had just released a version of “The Way You Look Tonight” so KFWB decided to have a battle of the bands on air to determine which version they would continue playing. I was recruited to run around the neighborhood to all of my friend’s houses and get them to call in their votes. The Lettermen won. Needless to say, my recording career was put on hold as Jim was far to busy with his own carrier to continue on mine.

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Donny Pike Promo 1961

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Donny Pike age 12

        I tagged along with Jim to rehearsals and found myself loving the sound of harmony ringing in my ears. I continued singing and writing through school and in 1967 went to work as a  manager of a store for diving in Ventura California.

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Donny Pike and Larry Pearson 1967
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Greater Los Angles Council of Divers spearfish meet
                                                           In 1968 I was drafted into the Army. From March of 1969 to March of 1970 I served in the 8th battalion 4th artillery in Dong Ha Viet Nam. While I was there I wrote a protest song called “Courtesy Of Uncle Sam”. My Capitan heard me singing it one day and asked me to sing it at the Officers club at Battalion Headquarters. I spent the rest of my year singing that song every night for the officers. I lost 90% of the high frequency in my right ear from the artillery. I learned to use the constant ringing in my ear as a relative pitch and I developed perfect pitch. I also received the army commendation medal for capturing three Viet Cong who were setting booby traps on our patrol trails.

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waiting out a rocket attack 1969

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Viet Nam 1969 "Courtesy Of Uncle Sam"

      It was March of 1970 when I returned home to the good old USA I was discharged from the army and joined The Lettermen on the road as their sound technician. Once in a while I would add in the fourth vocal part of a song from the sound console until one night my older brother caught me and put and end to it, chewing me out with a smile on his face. I also started singing on all Lettermen recordings as Jim was still having vocal problems. I met my wife to be, Andrea, while touring through Wisconsin. She told her parents she was going to stay with a girlfriend in California for the summer.  We were very happy together. In 1972 I left the road to pursue my own career. I recorded the falsetto part to a song called "Werewolf" with “The Five Man Electrical Band”. It was done at Bobbie Engemann's  studio in California. After that I got together with Patrick Valentino (a former Lettermen conductor and former member of the Sandpipers).We auditioned local musicians from the Los Angles area to form our group we called “Odyssey”. After rehearsing for months and playing a few local gigs we ran our credit cards to their limits and had to throw in the towel. In 1973 Andrea and I were married and The Lettermen started auditioning singers for Jim’s replacement in the group. Jim gave me a call and asked me to come over to his house. It didn’t take long, I new all of the parts and lyrics to all of the songs. It was official; I was now one of the Lettermen. My first concert was February 4, 1974 in Hong Kong. As the only song writer in the group I wrote Two songs that were released as singles by The lettermen, “Thank You Girl”(included on the “The Time Is Right” lp) and “I’ll Be Back”(included on the “Love Is”lp). . While on tour in Japan we were presented with a song one afternoon at our hotel in Tokyo and told we were to record it the next morning. They said that there was one problem, the song had no lyrics. I went to work writing the lyrics that night, and the next morning we recorded the song. It was to be used for a Japanese TV show called “007”. The title was”Just Say I love You In The Morning”(included on the” The Lettermen Live With The New Japan Philharmonic”lp). “007” was the Japanese equivalent to “Good Morning America”. The song was to be played while the weather information was scrolled on the screen. Japanese radio began getting requests to play the song, and they did. That’s the closest I’ve come to having a hit single of my own writing. That’s alright though, there is nothing like the feeling you get when you are driving down the freeway with your radio on and on comes a song that you wrote. It makes you want to roll down the window and yell at the top of your lungs, Hey that’s my song there playing.                                                  

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Released in Japan Lyrics written by Donny Pike

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"Just Say I Love You in the Morning"

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Jim Tony and Gary on cover

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"Thank You Girl" solo written by Donny Pike

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"I'll Be Back"
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"I'll Be Back" Solo writen by Donny Pike
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"I'm Comin Home" solo release in the Phillapines

Donny Pike
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1977

Here are some of the record albums I have recored with
"The Lettermen"
Some of the covers have my broiher Jim's picture but I am singing on them
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"Reflections" 1970
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"Everything's Good About You" 1971
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"Feelings"
1971
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"Love Book"
1971
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"Best 20"
1973
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"Now And Forever" 1974
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"The American Song Festaval" 1974
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"Best 20"
1974
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"There Is No Greater Love" 1975
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"Live In Japan" 1975
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"Make A Time For Lovin" 1975
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"The Time Is Right" 1975
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"Best 20"
1975
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"Kind Of Country" 1976
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"To A Friend" 1977
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"Golden Double 32" 1977
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"Standard Best 20" 1978
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"Love Is"
1979
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"Live With New Japan Philharmonic" 1979
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A Bicentennial Christmas 1976
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"Best Now" 1990
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"Best Collection" 1993
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"Super Now" 1997
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96 Phillapines, WEA records solo
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Album release in Japan
"Best Now" 1990
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single release in Japan
   

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Thanks to Patrick Fullerton for this compilation

        In the late 70’s I wrote an opener for the second half of our show. It was called “Peace Love and Harmony”. We didn’t record it but some of the fans may remember it. From time to time while performing the late show at a club engagement, I would play some of my original music. Just me, my guitar and a quietly listening audience.  It don’t get much better than that. I was never one to hold back or not give it everything I had for a small group of listeners. As long as there was one person in the audience that came to see the show, I would give it my best. It was 1981 and my wife and I had waited 8 years to start a family. My voice was starting to show the strain of touring 11 months a year and it was time to look at my priorities. Road life is not the way to raise a family. My last concert with the Lettermen was in December 1981. My son Devon was born February 4, 1982. I spent the next 9 months at home helping my wife take care of our son. In September of 1982 I got a job with Bell+Howell as a field service technician. I quit music cold turkey in order to be there for my family. It was the best decision I have ever made. In 1990 I purchased a Small avocado ranch 50 miles north of San Diego in a small community called Rainbow. There my son could chase lizards and snakes and ride his Honda through the groves rather than hanging out on a city street corner with a gang. At Seventeen Devon graduated early form high school and started working with the Fallbrook Sheriff’s department in their Explorer program. In 2000, my wife and I separated. In 2001 I was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame with the Lettermen. What a wonderful experience it was, to see old friends after so many years.

San Diego County Sheriff's Department
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Devon - upper left

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Three Pike brothers together at the Vocal Group Hall of Fame

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Vocal Group Hall of Fame concert 2001

      Once again it was time to let the music inside me out. It was 2002, I left Bell+Howell after 20 years of service and my son and I moved to Puget Sound Washington. My son accepted a job and moved back east. He can’t tell me where he is or what he is doing, but he is doing well and was married to his lovely wife Gloria in November of 2003. Gloria is a wonderful artist and has a web cartoon series that you can check out here.

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Devon + Gloria Annaversary 2004

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Devon Pike 22 working

     It is now 2005 and I have returned to California. I will continue writing my music and updating my site files as needed so drop back and see me from time to time and listen to the new uploads.

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California Gold 2005

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