Donna Loren (born March 7, 1947) is an American singer and actress. A very prolific performer in the 1960s, starting while still attending Venice High School in western Los Angeles, she was the Dr Pepper spokesperson from 1963 to 1968, frequent vocalist on ABC-TV's Shindig, and a cast member of the American International Pictures Beach Party movie franchise. Loren regularly performed live, and appeared on numerous variety and musical shows. She guest starred on episodic television series including Dr. Kildare, Batman, and The Monkees. In 1968 she retired to marry and raise a family. She recorded again in the 1980s and ran her own fashion business ADASA Hawaii throughout the 1990-2000s. In 2009 Loren returned to performing, and her most recent releases include the album Love It Away (2010), the EP Donna Does Elvis in Hawaii (2010), and the critically acclaimed compilation These Are the Good Times: The Complete Capitol Recordings (2014). Her first book, Donna Loren: Mover and Shaker in the Center of a Mid-Sixties Pop Maelstrom, will be released in 2017.
Loren was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Her mother Ruth and her adopted father Morey Zukor (Morris Zukovsky) are deceased. Her adopted father, Morey, and uncle Louis Zukor were both animators. Her brothers are Alan Zukovsky and Rick Zukovsky. Loren performed in amateur talent shows from the early age of six and, in 1955, sang on a radio commercial for Meadow Gold Ice Cream appearing with Dick Beals, who was famous for playing the character of Speedy Alka Seltzer. In the same year, she was a frequent performer on the music radio series Sqeakin' Deacon with James Burton (whom she would work with many times throughout her career). By 1956, she was performing with The Moppets Group and also recorded a single "I Think It's Almost Christmas Time" (Fable). On her tenth birthday, Loren appeared on The Mickey Mouse Club on the Friday "Talent Round-Up Day", performing the songs "I Didn't Know the Gun was Loaded" and "Pennies from Heaven". Loren continued to perform and record through the late 1950s and early 1960s, with her songs released on Skylark and Ramada, as well as the American Publishing Company's new label Crest. Her first two efforts for that label, "Hands Off", written by Billy Page, arranged by his brother Gene Page, and Glen Campbell's "I'm So Lonely" were produced by Jimmy Bowen – another person who would play a significant role throughout Loren's career – and were recorded at Gold Star Studios. It was also at Crest that she began to use the professional name Donna Loren, having previously recorded under the names of Donna Zukor (Morey's pen-name and Donna's legal name), Donna Dee, and Barbie Ames. On television, Loren appeared on Playhouse 90 episode "In the Presence of Mine Enemies" (1960), featuring Robert Redford.
In 1963, Loren signed a contract with Dr Pepper as the "Dr Pepper Girl" to promote the drink to a younger demographic. National exposure via radio, print, television and personal singing appearances followed.
One of her first appearances for the company was co-hosting with Dick Clark an ABC television one-hour special, the Dr Pepper-sponsored Celebrity Party, which included performances and/or appearances by (Beach Party alumni) Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, John Ashley, Deborah Walley, and Dick Dale, as well as Nick Adams, The Beach Boys, Bobby Pickett, Johnny Crawford, James Darren, The Challengers (with whom Loren performed "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey"), Dick and Dee Dee, Duane Eddy, Shelley Fabares, Connie Francis, Jill Gibson, George Hamilton, Bobby Hatfield, Jan & Dean, Jack Jones, Trini Lopez, Johnny Mathis, Bill Medley, Wayne Newton, Nino Tempo & April Stevens, Paul Petersen, Tommy Sands, Nancy Sinatra, James Stacy, Connie Stevens, Bobby Vinton, and Miss Teenage America (which was also hosted by Dr Pepper), Judy Doll.
Loren made hundreds of public and performing appearances for the company; these appearances, along with many more performances in her capacity as a singer and actress proved she was the consummate entertainer. Loren appeared at the 1964 New York World's Fair, with Dick Clark and Loren as "host and hostess" for winners of a large Dr Pepper promotion. The first prize was three days at the Fair, including a picnic for the winner and up to 50 friends, accommodation, spending money, and a 1964 Comet Caliente. In the same year, Loren was part of Clark's Caravan of Stars 22-city Summer tour, whose line-up during the tour included Lou Christie, Mike Clifford, The Crystals, Dean & Jean, The Dixie Cups, The Drifters, Fabian, Bobby Freeman, The Hondells, Brian Hyland, The Jelly Beans, The Kasuals, Major Lance, George McCannon III, Gene Pitney, The Premieres, The Reflections, The Rip Chords, Round Robin, The Searchers, Dee Dee Sharp, The Shirelles, The Supremes, Johnny Tillotson, and The Velvelettes. Among her other appearances were the Teen Fair of Texas, which was held at the Joe Freeman Coliseum in June, 1964 both appearing at the Dr Pepper Booth and in a series of day and evening stage shows; the opening day party for Academy of Electro Systems on July 12, 1964 in Houston, Texas,; and the opening of the Ruston Bottling Plant in October, 1964.
In July, 1966 Loren's filming of Dr Pepper print and television ads in Galveston made the front page of The Galveston News. She was joined by Dick Clark, who was there to also film for Where the Action Is. One of her last appearances for Dr Pepper was on September 14, 1968, at an open house for the new Mid-Continent Bottlers, Inc. plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she performed and appeared at an autograph party. A full page advertisement/congratulations to Mid-Continent Bottlers from Dr Pepper featured Loren with the note "Petite and lovely Donna Loren, nationally famous radio television and recording star, will entertain you with an exciting show".
Away from Dr Pepper, Loren was a regular performer at concerts and shows during much of the decade throughout the country. These included at the teenage nightclub The Million Cellars (with Glen Campbell also on the bill) and performances at the Pasadena Teen Dances, and concerts and shows with other performers such as Bobby Sherman at Rock 'N Roll City. Other performances were at Indiana University's 'Little 500' race weekend in May, 1965; the line-up also included Bob Hope and The Kingsmen. On April 7, 1967 Loren performed at the Greater Los Angeles Press Club's "Headliner of the Year" awards, where Ronald Reagan was recognized as "the state's outstanding newsmaker for 1966", and on May 13, 1967 Loren crowned "Teen Safety Queen" at the Municipal Auditorium in Dodge City.
In the same year that she began with Dr Pepper, Loren signed with Challenge. She released six records there – regarded as some of her best early showcases and of the then fifteen-year-old's already well-developed and mature vocal depth – including "I'm in Love with the Ticket Taker at the Bijou Movie" (B Side: "I'm Gonna Be All Right", subsequently re-released in 1963 as an A Side, with "Johnny's Got Something") (1962), "On the Good Ship Lollipop" (B Side: "If You Love Me (Really Love Me)"), and "(Remember Me) I'm the One Who Loves You" (B side: "Dream World") (1963). Loren said of her early recording, "Somehow I had a knowledge in me that came through my voice and therefore more mature songs were chosen and adapted for recording".
Beach Party Movies and Capitol Records
In 1964 Loren began appearing in the American International Pictures' Beach Party series. Loren's first appearance in Muscle Beach Party was supposed to be a promotion for Dr Pepper (a sponsor of AIP), but her role in this picture was expanded and she sang "Muscle Bustle" with Dick Dale. In an article reporting the singer's debut 'Dr Pepper's Donna Gets a Movie Part' appearing in the Galveston Daily News, the author wrote "It didn't take long for Donna, Dr Pepper's new singing star to make her mark. She has a feature singing part in the movie that also stars Jody McCrea, Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Morey Amsterdam, Don Rickles, John Ashley, Buddy Hackett and several newcomers to the screen". The debut was heavily promoted by the company. In the same newspaper, for example, advertisements for a "Muscle Beach Party" organized by Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Galveston and held at the State Theatre appeared, where patrons would screen the film and receive Dr Pepper, "a gesture on the part of the firm to have the public see Donna Loren, Dr Pepper's new singing star". The release of the single "Muscle Bustle", written by Brian Wilson, Gary Usher, and Roger Christian would be Loren's final recording for Challenge (B Side: "How Can I Face the World").
Loren would then appear in Bikini Beach (singing "Love's a Secret Weapon"), and Pajama Party ("Among the Young"). An article regarding the release of Pajama Party described "the amazingly-voiced Donna Loren, seventeen-year-old songstress who made her debut in Muscle Beach Party and who makes a bigger impression each time she sings. She will be seen and heard next in Beach Blanket Bingo". She appeared in the series in the fifth film Beach Blanket Bingo in 1965, performing "It Only Hurts When I Cry", which some regard as her "signature tune". The film resulted in Loren's first album, Beach Blanket Bingo. Loren told Adam Gerace of the recording of the album: "I worked for 14 hours straight. The album was completed in that session". The album was released on Capitol Records (which Loren had signed with in 1964), produced by David Axelrod, and arranged and conducted by H. B. Barnum.
|Beach Blanket Bingo (Capitol, 1965)|
|Cycle Set (Gary Usher, Roger Christian)|
|I Think, You Think (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)|
|It Only Hurts When I Cry (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)|
|These Are the Good Times (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)|
|I'll Never Change Him (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)|
|Fly Boy (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)|
|New Love (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)|
|I Am My Ideal (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)|
|Beach Blanket Bingo (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)|
|Freeway (Mike Curb) [instrumental]|
Loren also appeared in another AIP Beach Party film, Sergeant Deadhead, where she sang "Two Timin' Angel". The film starred other regular Beach Party actors, including Frankie Avalon, Deborah Walley, Harvey Lembeck, John Ashley, Bobbi Shaw, and Buster Keaton.
At Capitol, Loren released many of her well-known songs including "Blowing Out the Candles" and (B Side) "Just a Little Girl" (1964), which were produced by Axelrod and arranged and conducted by Barnum, "So, Do The Zonk" (B Side: "New Love" from her LP) (1965), "Call Me" (B Side: "Smokey Joe's"), (1965), and "I Believe" (1965; regularly performed in her Dr Pepper appearances).
In late 1964, the Hollywood Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild named Loren one of its Deb Stars, an annual award given to up-and-coming performers, who were "the likeliest candidates for motion picture and television stardom in the coming years". Other "most likely star candidates of 1965" were Janet Landgard, Margaret Mason, Tracy McHale, Mary Ann Mobley, Barbara Parkins, Laurie Sibbald, Wendy Stuart, Beverly Washburn, and Raquel Welch. Loren was also nominated for a 1965 Photoplay Gold Medal Award for "Most Promising New Star (Female)".
Loren was the featured female vocalist on Shindig, which premiered on September 16, 1964. The series has been described as "different from previous U.S. rock 'n' roll programs. It featured non-stop music that, in most cases, was only interrupted by the commercial breaks", and "most of the top American and British rock/pop acts of the mid-1960s appeared on Shindig!". These included The Beatles (from England) in October 1964. Loren appeared on the first show, along with host Jimmy O'Neil, and appearances by Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers, The Righteous Brothers, The Wellingtons, Jackie and Gayle, Bobby Sherman, The Blossoms, Alan Sues, and the Shindig dancers. Other performers included Glen Campbell, Tina Turner, and James Burton. Loren has referred to her enjoyment of the series, telling Adam Gerace "The microphone that I used was the greatest. I loved the sounds that came out". She said during a radio interview with "Bulldog" Bill Feingold on KNews Radio (Palm Springs, CA) on November 11, 2009 of her professional work on Shindig, "It was fantastic. It was really the highlight of my life". Loren was able to perform a wide range of material both in solos and work with other performers. These included "Wishin' and Hopin'" (her first song on the series), "Shakin' All Over", "Goldfinger", "Ain't That Loving, You, Baby", "Too Many Fish in the Sea", "Boys", "I am Ready", "Rock Me in the Cradle", "Cycle Set", "African Waltz", "It's Alright", "The Boy from New York City", "The Way of Love", "Down the Line", "That's What Love", "Where Have All the Flowers Gone", "With the Wind & the Rain in Your Hair", and "Personality". Loren sang on 26 shows, and was a well-known member of the cast. She also appeared in the live theatre show "Shindig '65".
Other television and acting
In 1966, Loren became a co-star with Bobby Rydell on The Milton Berle Show, a variety series hosted by Berle and co-starring Irving Benson. The signing of Loren and Rydell was widely reported at the time. The series was subsequently aired for a short 13 weeks.
Loren guest starred on a seven-part Dr. Kildare in 1965 as Anna Perrona, a young woman in need of dialysis treatment. In 1966, she played Susie in two episodes (15 and 16) of Batman ("The Joker Goes to School", "He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul"). In a guide to the week's television, her character was described as "Aiding The Joker is Donna Loren, a frisky cheerleader". Loren's kiss with Batman co-star Burt Ward (Robin) was reportedly accompanied by "a flood of mail". Loren also guest starred on The Monkees (episode: "Everywhere a Sheik, Sheik", 1967) as Princess Colette, who Davy is set to marry; and on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (episode: "Love and Goulash", 1968) as Anna Kovach, who hides a romance from her family. She also appeared on The Mothers-In-Law in 1968.
Loren made hundreds of appearances on numerous variety, music, and game shows. Many of these were multiple appearances and included American Bandstand, The Lloyd Thaxton Show, The Regis Philbin Show, What's This Song, The Red Skelton Show (singing "Johnny One Note" and "The Way of Love"), Hollywood A Go-Go, Top 40!, 9th Street West, Groovy, Boss City, Where the Action Is, Nightlife, Celebrity Game, The Dating Game, The Joey Bishop Show, The Steve Allen Show, The Pat Boone Show (including an episode co-hosted by Milton Berle), The Woody Woodbury Show, and week-long stints on Hollywood Squares. She also appeared on New Talent in Young America in January 1965, a special where "Youthful artists making great strides in the field of music are showcased in this hour-long Special".
On March 11, 1968, "Two for Penny" aired on The Danny Thomas Hour. The series was "an all-purpose hour hosted by Danny Thomas. Presentations included musical programs, comedy and variety hours, and filmed dramas". Loren starred as Greek-American Penny Kanopolis, whose brothers (Michael Constantine and Lou Antonio) try to organize a courtship and marriage to Yani (Gregory Razaki), even though she is already dating another boy, the non-Greek David (Bill Bixby). Danny Thomas played the family priest. This was a pilot for Loren's own series, produced by Thomas and Aaron Spelling and was aired on NBC as a one-hour special.
From 1967 to 1968, Loren recorded with Reprise, releasing "Let's Pretend" (B Side: "Once Before I Die") again produced by Jimmy Bowen, and arranged by Don Peake, and "As Long as I'm Holding You" (B Side: "It's Such a Shame"), produced by Mike Post. The recordings have been called "exceptional" showcases for Loren.
Retirement in 1968
By the end of 1968, Loren left show business to marry and raise a family. Loren married music producer Lenny Waronker, president of Warner Bros. Records, and had three children: Joey, Anna, and Katherine. Loren and Waronker divorced in the mid 1980s.
Modelling, Writing, Other Work
In addition to her work for Dr Pepper, Loren was often featured in modelling and fashion spots geared toward teenagers, including for hats, exercise workouts, makeup, and dental care. In 1963 she was chosen by Simplicity Pattern Company to appear in a national advertisement campaign "If I Can Sew, You Can Sew", appearing in print and commercials. Loren was contractually signed because she made much of the wardrobe she appeared in during television and live performances. Francesco Scavullo took her portrait for Simplicity.
Loren also wrote two separate regular columns for Movie Life Magazine ("Donna Loren's Young Hollywood" in 1966 and "Let's Talk it Over" in 1967). She was also regularly featured in teen, television, and movie magazines of the 1960s as their cover girl.
Loren began recording again during the 1980s. In 1982 she released "Sedona", (B Side: "Simply Loving You"). She wrote and produced the songs for her own label Royalty Records. James Burton produced "Sedona" with Loren, played guitar and assembled other members of the Elvis Presley TCB Band, Ronnie Tutt (drums), Jerry Scheff (bass), and Glen D. Hardin (piano). Chris Hillman played mandolin. In the same year, Loren recorded "Wishin' and Hopin'" in Nashville with her longtime producer Jimmy Bowen with David Hungate from Toto (B Side: "Somewhere Down the Road"; Warner Bros). Loren also recorded a number of other songs (see section: Magic: The 80's Collection).
Loren appeared on The Merv Griffin Show in 1984 performing "Somewhere Down the Road". Other guests were Ed Asner, Sybil Danning, and Larry Miller. In introducing Loren to much applause, Griffin acknowledged Loren's return with the new single "after a long hiatus". In the same year, Loren produced a live concert in Sedona, Arizona she called "Star Series" based on the American Composer of the Year. She hired Henry Mancini, 1983 Composer of the Year, and the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, and in her introduction she sang "Always" by Irving Berlin. In 1985 Loren was invited to appear in Tokyo, Japan at an International Ballroom Dancing event, and also performed in a show in Beverly Hills, CA (Jerry Lee Lewis was also on the bill).
In 1995 Loren married Jered Cargman. Loren and Cargman knew each other in the 1960s and Cargman was her prom date. Cargman was a member of the surf band The Fantastic Baggys. Moving to Hawaii, Loren decided to turn her design and fashion interest into a business (Loren had designed and made clothes since her teenage years and continued to do so after she retired). After premiering a couture collection in 1998 and being chosen by Honolulu Magazine as one of Hawaii's best new designers, she and Cargman launched ADASA Hawaii, which included a boutique in Waimea and three boutiques on Oahu. Loren was guest stylist on an episode of A Makeover Story (16 February 2004), with one of her boutiques featured on the show.
Return to Performing 2009-present
Swinging Sixties Productions and "It Only Hurts When I Cry"
Loren turned again to writing music. In 2009, Loren and husband Cargman started their label Swinging Sixties Productions which, in conjunction with Swinging Sixties Music, publish and release Loren's music. Loren's first release in August, 2009 was a remake of "It Only Hurts When I Cry", which she produced and arranged, releasing it both as a music video on YouTube and as a single to download. Drew Saber played guitar on the track and appears in the music video. Maurice Gainen engineered the song, and would also engineer Loren's album Love It Away.
In the same month as the release of the single, Loren's Magic: The 80's Collection was released, both as a download and later as an enhanced CD. This was a collection of songs Loren recorded at Amigo Studios during the early 1980s, with musicians such as John Thomas and James Burton. Seven of the songs on the album had not previously been released.
In a review for the album, Magic was described as containing "Great production and a flawlessly effortless vocal montage".
Magic: The 80's Collection (2009; Swinging Sixties Productions)
|Could This Be Magic (Donna Loren)||Donna Loren, James Burton, M. Delevie|
|Thinkn' of You (Donna Loren)||Donna Loren|
|Wishin' and Hopin' (Bacharach, David)||Jimmy Bowen, Donna Loren||Arranged by Nick DeCaro. Guitar: David Hugante, Piano: John Thomas. Additional vocals: Ry Cooder's back-up singers.|
|Hard to Believe (B. Hyde, J. Abelson)||Randy Stern||Also included on CD: Video Live Performance at Imperial Hotel, Tokyo (1985).|
|Sedona (Donna Loren)||Donna Loren, James Burton||Drums: Ronnie Tutt, Bass: Jerry Scheff, Piano: Glen D. Hardin, Guitar: James Burton, Mandolin: Chris Hillman.|
|Simply Loving You (Donna Loren)||Donna Loren, M. Delevie||Piano: John Thomas. Violin: Talia, Drums: Alan Zukovsky (Loren's brother)|
|Somewhere Down the Road (C. Weil, T. Snow)||Donna Loren, Nick DeCaro||Arranged by Nick DeCaro. Engineered by Lee Herschberg. Cello: Eleanor Slatkin|
|Eulogy of a Marriage (Donna Loren)||Donna Loren||Piano: John Thomas|
|U Speak 2 Me (Donna Loren)||Donna Loren||Piano: John Thomas|
|Real Morning Kisses (Donna Loren)||Donna Loren||Piano: John Thomas|
|Could This Be Magic (unplugged) (Donna Loren)||Donna Loren||Piano: John Thomas|
Love It Away
In January 2010 Love It Away was released, first as a download and then as an album. This was Loren's first album of completely new material since 1965. Loren produced the album, and it was recorded both in Hawaii at Lava Tracks Studio and Los Angeles. "Love It Away" was recorded at Lava Tracks. Maurice Gainen engineered the album, with Gainen and Charles Michael Brotman mixing and mastering. Mark Arbeit photographed Loren for the album, which includes her wearing one of her couture designs for the cover. Loren also wrote a paragraph for the insert booklet setting the tone of the album. Love It Away contains eight original songs by Loren. Among the covers Loren performed were "Last Night I Had a Dream" by Randy Newman, "Live Nude Cabaret" by Jackson Browne, "Old Man" by Neil Young, "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" by Bob Dylan, as well "Shakin' All Over", a rockabilly classic she once performed on Shindig. Musicians who worked on the album include Jamieson Trotter, Bob Glaub, Maelan Abran, and Loren's former collaborator Carol Kaye. Loren also played piano and synthesizer on many tracks.
Love It Away (2010, Swinging Sixties Productions)
|Last Night I Had A Dream (Randy Newman)||Keyboards: Jamieson Trotter, Synthesizer: Charles Michael Brotman|
|Shakin' All Over (Johnny Kidd)||Keyboards: Trotter, Clapping: Trotter and Loren|
|Love It Away (Donna Loren)||Keyboards, Synthesizer: Trotter, Bass: Bob Glaub|
|Only Love (Donna Loren)||Keyboards, Synthesizer: Trotter, Bass: Glaub, Solo Piano Ending: Loren.|
|OK (Donna Loren)||Keyboards: Trotter, Bass: Glaub|
|Be Your Best Friend (Donna Loren)||Keyboards: Trotter, Background Vocals: Maelan Abran, Loren|
|We are Woman (Donna Loren)||Keyboards, Synthesizer: Trotter, Bass: Glaub, Background Vocals: Abran, Loren|
|UR (Donna Loren)||Keyboards, Synthesizer, Accordion: Trotter, Bass: Glaub, Background Vocals: Abran, Loren|
|Live Nude Cabaret (Jackson Browne)||Keyboards: Trotter, Bass: Glaub|
|Don't Bring Me Down (Jeff Lynne)||Keyboards: Trotter, Bass: Carol Kaye|
|Old Man (Neil Young)||Keyboards: Trotter, Synthesizer: Loren|
|Still Love You (Donna Loren)||Keyboards: Trotter, Synthesizer, Background Vocals: Loren|
|I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob Dylan)||Guitar: Andrew Saber, Violin: Tony Selvage, Bass: Carol Kaye|
|Satisfied Mind (Jack Rhodes, Red Hayes)||Keyboards: Loren|
|Bonus Track: Love It Away (Remix) (Donna Loren)||Arranged, Engineered by Charles Michael Brotman. Guitar, synthesizer: Brotman, Percussion, Background vocals: Loren|
Album produced by Donna Loren.
Love It Away was "Pick of the Week" (review posted June 8, 2010) on MuzikReviews.com. The album received four-stars. Loren's original pieces and her interpretation of songs such as "Old Man" were particularly praised, and the review drew attention to Loren's vocal ("The main instrument is her voice") and the production:
"I think one of the reasons for the success of this recording besides Donna's flat out stunning vocal performance, is the production being kept to a minimum and the instrumentation generally focuses on the keyboards highlighting the sweet sensual vocals of Ms. Loren."
The autobiographical nature of the material was also discussed, "The importance of this release can be found beyond the music, it is a personal statement from the artist and her heartfelt interpretation of her feelings relating to her own life".
"Love It Away (Remix)"
The first single from the album was a remix of "Love It Away", which is also included on the CD as the final track and was released as a single to download. As of June, 2010 the single was charting on a Top 40 Adult Contemporary radio play chart.
Loren released several music videos in conjunction with Love It Away on YouTube. "Shakin' All Over" was released as two videos in March and May, 2010 and both include footage from her original performance of the song on Shindig. "Love It Away" was released in March, 2010 and "Last Night I Had a Dream" and "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" in July, 2010.
Beach Party Movie Medley
In May, 2010, Loren released a medley of her Beach Party songs "Beach Blanket Bingo", "Muscle Bustle", "Love's a Secret Weapon", "It Only Hurts When I Cry", and "Among the Young". A video of the recording session at Lava Tracks Studios was also released on YouTube. Loren recorded new versions of "Beach Blanket Bingo" and "Muscle Bustle", as singles to download. Loren again worked with Charles Michael Brotman on this project.
In July, 2010, Loren released the dance-electronic "Eloquent" as a single to download. She wrote and produced the song.
"Merry Christmas Baby" and Donna Does Elvis in Hawaii
On November 1, 2010 the single "Merry Christmas Baby" was officially released for download (having been pre-released in the Donna Loren Store on her website a few days before the official release). Written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore and first recorded by Johnny Moore's Three Blazers in 1947, the R&B standard had been covered by Chuck Berry, Charles Brown, Etta James, Otis Redding and, more recently, Bruce Springsteen, Christina Aguilera, and Sheryl Crow. The song was recorded by Elvis Presley for his album Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas (1971). The release is Loren's second Christmas song. She also performed "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" on Shindig in 1964.
The song was followed by the release of Donna Does Elvis in Hawaii on November 15, 2010, an EP of her renditions of four Presley songs. In addition to "Merry Christmas Baby", Loren recorded "Loving You", "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear", and "One Night". "Loving You" and "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" were both recorded in 2010, with a sample of "Loving You" appearing on Loren's blog two months prior to the release. "One Night" was recorded in the 1980s at Amigo Studios and, like many of the songs on her 2009 album Magic from these recording sessions, had not been previously released. The EP was produced by Loren, and she again worked with Maurice Gainen and Charles Michael Brotman and musician Jamieson Trotter, as well as new collaborators Sonny Lim and Wailau Ryder.
The EP makes use of a number of themes related to Loren, Elvis Presley, Hawaii, and Hollywood. Loren explained on radio show The Sheena Metal Experience (LA Talk Radio) on November 4, 2010 the evolving of the concept:
"When I was looking for just the right [Christmas] song to do, I thought of Elvis. And so when I started doing research to do a Christmas song of Elvis', I started seeing songs that really resonated with me, especially a song called "Loving You" which, when the time drew nearer when we were departing Hawaii, was so healing for me."
The song "Loving You" was recorded at Lava Tracks Studio and represented Loren's moving from "my beloved Hawaii" to California. The selection of other Presley songs further fits the concept nature of the EP for, as Loren acknowledged, "Elvis and Hawaii go hand-in-hand". The artwork for the single and the EP, both designed by Katie Waronker's company Riot Structure, blended Hawaiian-inspired imagery including Presley's 1961 LP Blue Hawaii as inspiration for the "Merry Christmas Baby" cover art, and a depiction of Kalakaua Blvd in Waikiki (with Los Angeles-inspired billboards featuring Loren, photographed by Mark Arbeit) for the cover of the EP. The back of the EP includes a picture of Loren from the 1960s.
Further links between Presley and Loren include Presley's recording "I Believe" for his EP Peace in the Valley in 1957, a song Loren also recorded at Capitol, and which she regularly performed. Loren also recorded with the Elvis Presley TCB Band for her 1980's single "Sedona" during the Amigo Studios recording sessions which also produced "One Night" from the EP.
She performed "One Night" at the 26th Annual Elvis Birthday Bash at the Echo in Los Angeles on January 8, 2012, and again performed at the 28th Annual Elvis Birthday Bash at the Echo on January 5, 2014.
Donna Does Elvis in Hawaii (2010, Swinging Sixties Productions)
|Merry Christmas Baby (Lou Baxter, Johnny Moore)||Engineer: Maurice Gainen, Keyboards: Jamieson Trotter, Saxophone: Gainen, Drums: Clarence Harris, Background Vocals: Loren|
|Loving You (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller)||Engineer: Charles Michael Brotman, Bass, Ukulele: Sonny Lim, Slack Key Guitar: Wailau Ryder, Background Vocals: Loren|
|(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear (Kal Mann, Bernie Lowe)||Engineer: Charles Michael Brotman, Ukulele: Charles Michael Brotman, Background Vocals: Loren|
|One Night (Dave Bartholomew, Anita Steiman, Pearl King)||Engineer: Chet Hines, Piano: John Thomas, Guitar: Joey Newman, Drums: Michael Delevie|
EP produced by Donna Loren.
"Moonlight Kisses" (Single)
On February 25, 2012, "Moonlight Kisses" was released as a single to download. The song was written and produced by Loren, and she again worked with guitarist Charles Michael Brotman.
Appearances in conjunction with Loren's new work
Loren accompanied the release of her new material with numerous appearances on radio shows, interviews, and public appearances. An article in Beverly Hills Courier in March, 2010 profiled her new work, beginning with "Donna Loren was the "It Girl" long before Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian hit the streets of Beverly Hills".
She hosted a "Beach Party Movie Marathon" (Muscle Beach Party and Beach Blanket Bingo were shown) presented by American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood on February 11, 2010, debuting the medley of her Beach Party songs. She would sing the medley and "Love It Away" for a Thrillville's "Valentine's Beach Party" at The Balboa Theatre, San Francisco on February 14, 2010, which screened Beach Blanket Bingo, and performed again at "Movie Night at the Blue Dragon" at the Blue Dragon Coastal Cuisine and Musiquarium in Kawaihae, Hawaii on April 28, 2010.
Liz Smith included a feature on Loren in her column on March 17, 2010. On June 25, 2010, Loren was interviewed on the nationally syndicated radio show Little Steven's Underground Garage, hosted by Steven Van Zandt.
Since returning to performing in 2009, Loren regularly attends autograph shows and conventions, where she meets fans and performs. Loren performed and met fans at the three-day Rock Con Festival, held July 30-August 1, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Among the over 100 other artists and guests appearing were Billy Hinsche, Al Jardine, Paul Petersen, Hilton Valentine, Mary Wilson, and members of the girl-groups The Angels and The Delicates. She appeared and performed at the Monkees Convention in both 2013 (with Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork attending) and 2014 (with Dolenz, Tork, and Michael Nesmith).
In 2013, Loren was part of the choir for the song “If I Had the Time (I Could Change the World),” which was written and produced by Dick Wagner to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
She has regularly performed online concerts on Stageit.com under the name Donna Loren's Shindig!
On May 9, 2011, Loren performed in The Vagina Monologues, as part of V-Day Valley 2011, produced and directed by Sheena Metal at CAP (Complete Actors Place) Theater. There were three performances (May 8, 9, and 10) with rotating celebrity casts. The other performers on May 9 were Sharron Alexis, Shay Astar, Jill Bennett, Jillian Boyd, Simona Brhlikova, Carlease Burke, Cathy DeBuono, Danielle Egnew, Thea Gill, Mary E. Kennedy, Geri Jewell, Deirdre Lovejoy, Sandy Martin, Sheena Metal, Ann Noble, Linda Purl, Kim Rhodes, Sandra Valls, and Suzanne Westenhoefer.
Loren is currently working on new songwriting and recording projects, and a full memoir. Throughout 2015, Loren released YouTube videos as she relearnt 100 songs that she recorded and/or performed in the 1960s; a project that she has continued in 2016. In 2017, Donna Loren: Mover and Shaker in the Center of a Mid-Sixties Pop Maelstrom, a photographic retrospective of Loren's career with narrative by Loren and Domenic Priore, and photos largely by her adopted father Morey Zukor, will be released by Rare Bird Books.
- Muscle Beach Party (1964)
- Bikini Beach (1964)
- Pajama Party (1964)
- Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
- Sergeant Deadhead (1965)
Other releases and media
These Are the Good Times: The Complete Capitol Recordings
On March 7, 2014, 1960s-focused reissue label Now Sounds (distributed by Cherry Red Records) officially announced the compilation These Are the Good Times: The Complete Capitol Recordings. The CD was released from the UK-based label April 14, with the US release following on April 22, 2014.
The compilation consists of the Beach Blanket Bingo LP, all of Loren's other Capitol-released material, songs not released until the 2000s, and eight previously unreleased songs. The unreleased material includes work with producers, arrangers and writers with whom Loren worked on her released Capitol material, such as Steve Douglas and Jack Nitzsche and the song writing team of Gerry Goffin-Carole King. Other songs were written by Al Kooper, Randy Newman, and Jackie DeShannon. The new tracks also include The Wrecking Crew, who were the musicians for many of Loren's Capitol (including Beach Blanket Bingo) and earlier recordings. The CD booklet features previously unpublished photos, and liner notes from Sheryl Farber. Steve Stanley and Farber produced the compilation.
These Are the Good Times: The Complete Capitol Recordings (2014; Now Sounds)
|Song (Writer)||Producer||Arranged and Conducted by||Notes|
|Just A Little Girl (Goffin-King)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|Woman In Love (With You) (Mann-Weil-Phil Spector)||Steve Douglas||Jack Nitzsche|
|It’s Gotta Be (Ron Elliott)||Steve Douglas||Previously unreleased. Featuring The Beau Brummels.|
|Call Me (Tony Hatch)||Steve Douglas||Jack Nitzsche|
|So, Do The Zonk (L. Carr-A. Fisher)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|You Can’t Lose Something You Never Had (Al Kooper-Robert Brass-Irwin Levine)||Steve Douglas||Billy Strange||Previously unreleased.|
|They’re Jealous of Me (Goffin-King)||Steve Douglas||Jack Nitzsche||Previously unreleased.|
|That’s the Boy (Mann-Weil)||Steve Douglas||Jack Nitzsche|
|My Way||Steve Douglas||Billy Strange||Previously unreleased.|
|Hold Your Head High (Randy Newman-Jackie DeShannon)||Steve Douglas||Jack Nitzsche||Previously unreleased.|
|Good Things (D. Irvin-P. Kaufman)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum||Previously unreleased.|
|Smokey Joe’s (Valerie Simpson-Nickolas Ashford-Josephine Armstead)||Steve Douglas||Billy Strange|
|Play Little Music Box, Play (Billy Page)||Al De Lory||Gene Page|
|Leave Him to Me (Bob Montgomery)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum||Previously unreleased.|
|Ten Good Reasons (Buddy Kaye-Phil Springer)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|Ninety Day Guarantee (Lester Carr)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|I Believe (Ervin Drake-Irvin Graham-Jimmy Shirl-Al Stillman)||Al De Lory||Gene Page|
|Blowing Out the Candles (Ben Raleigh-Bob Halley)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|Drop the Drip (C. Manning-R. Manspiel)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum||Previously unreleased.|
|Cycle Set (Gary Usher, Roger Christian)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|I Think, You Think (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|It Only Hurts When I Cry (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|These Are the Good Times (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|I'll Never Change Him (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|Fly Boy (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|New Love (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|I Am My Ideal (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|Beach Blanket Bingo (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner)||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
|Freeway (Mike Curb) [instrumental]||David Axelrod||H. B. Barnum|
These Are the Good Times was heavily praised on its release. AllMusic gave the compilation four-and-a-half stars out of five. In his review, Mark Deming wrote that "the best stuff here is delicious, beautifully crafted '60s West Coast pop, with a gifted and savvy vocalist front and center." Deming considered the previously unreleased songs to be "some of the strongest material" on the album, and he felt that "there's a strength and maturity in her performances on tunes like 'A Woman in Love (With You)', 'Hold Your Head High', and 'Leave Him to Me' that outstrips a significant majority of her peers – all the more impressive considering she was just 18 when most of this was recorded."
In The Second Disc review of the album, the compilation was described as "a must for aficionados of both the girl-group and SoCal pop sound of the sixties", with writer Joe Marchese noting that "fans of the Los Angeles sound will recognize every name here, all at the top of their game: producers David Axelrod, the outré pop guru, and Steve Douglas, Wrecking Crew saxophonist; arrangers Jack Nitzsche, H. B. Barnum, Gene Page and Billy Strange; musicians Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, Lyle Ritz, Ray Pohlman, Tommy Tedesco, Larry Knechtel, Don Randi, Plas Johnson, Julius Wechter, and future headliners Glen Campbell and Leon Russell."
Marchese singled out a number of tracks, including the Axelrod-produced, Barnum-arranged songs "Just a Little Girl", which he thought was "one of the strongest of her tenure with the label", and "Leave Him to Me", which "shows Donna cutting loose with a convincing growl in her voice"; and the Douglas-produced, Nitzsche-arranged songs "Call Me", finding it "inexplicable that she didn’t chart with it", "Donna’s sublime rendition" of "Woman in Love (With You)", and "Hold Your Head High" which was considered "another stunningly mature, previously unreleased track from the Loren/Nitzsche/Douglas/Wrecking Crew cadre." Marchese also highlighted Now Sounds "customarily impressive packaging, design and notes", and described the tracks as having been "splendidly remastered".
Joseph Kyle wrote that the album "document[s] a young talent’s creative fruits, and is a delight of a listen", while Vic Templar, in UK-based Shindig! magazine, said that Loren "comes across as a US equivalent of Kathy Kirby, Billie Davis or early Dusty", telling readers "Yes, she’s that good." As with other reviews, Now's "as-standard loving care, exhaustive sleeve notes by Sheryl Farber and stunning photographs" were praised.
These Are the Good Times was a 2014 Gold Bonus Disc Award winner, with the compilation described as "an ingenious album that never was" and "an invigorating discovery".
Loren has been featured on a number of other compilations, including one of all her 1960s-released songs from Capitol, The Very Best of Donna Loren Featuring Beach Blanket Bingo (2000), a product of EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets and distributed by Collectables Records.
|The Very Best of Donna Loren Featuring Beach Blanket Bingo (Collectables Records, 2000)||All songs from Beach Blanket Bingo LP, and all of Loren's 1960's-released Capitol songs.|
|The Best of Donna Loren (Missing Records, 1998)||Unofficial European release, includes early songs.|
|Playin' Hard to Get: West Coast Girls (Ace, 1995)||"Dream World", "Muscle Bustle"|
|Surf Bunnies & Hot Rod Honeys (Phantom, 1996)||"Cycle Set"|
|Girl Group Gems - Soul to Surf (Red Bird Entertainment, 2002)||"Dream World", "Muscle Bustle"|
|Girls Go Zonk – US Dream Babes (RPM, 2004)||"So, Do The Zonk"|
|The Girls of Hideaway Heaven (Rare Rockin' Records, 2004)||"Hands Off"|
|Sex and the '60s (Varèse Sarabande, 2006)||"Love's a Secret Weapon"|
|Hard Workin' Man – The Jack Nitzsche Story Volume 2 (Ace, 2006)||"Woman in Love (With You)"|
|Summer Beach Party: Songs from the Classic Beach Movies of the '60s (Varèse Sarabande, 2006)||"Love's a Secret Weapon", "Muscle Bustle", "It Only Hurts When I Cry" [movie version]|
|Goffin & King: A Gerry Goffin and Carole King Song Collection 1961–1967 (Ace, 2007)||"Just a Little Girl"|
|Glitter and Gold: Words and Music By Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (Ace, 2009)||"That's the Boy"|
|Hey, Beach Girls! Female Surf 'n' Drag 1961–1966 (Ace, 2010)||"Cycle Set", "Beach Blanket Bingo"|
|Hurricane Healing Vol. 100 - Christmas Time (Hurricane Healing, 2011)||"Merry Christmas Baby"|
|Looking Good: 75 Femme Mod Soul Nuggets (RPM Records, 2013)||"Dream World"|
|Soda Pop Babies Vol. 3 (Classics Records, 2013)||"Hands Off"|
Table does not include all releases.
Loren has also been interviewed and profiled in a number of books, including It's Party Time by Stephen J. McParland (John Blair, 1992), Swingin' Chicks of the Sixties by Chris Strodder (Cedco, 2000), Drive-In Dream Girls by Tom Lisanti (McFarland & Company, 2003), The Encyclopedia of Sixties Cool, also by Strodder (Santa Monica Press, 2007), and Whatever Became of...? by Richard Lamparski. Loren was interviewed for the television documentary Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The Early Years (1955–1970) (2000), and was also profiled and interviewed for a segment on the television series Hawaiian Moving Company (2002).