Jay Graydon

Jay Graydon (born October 8, 1949, Burbank, California) is an American songwriter, recording artist, guitarist, singer, producer, arranger, and recording engineer. He is the winner of two Grammy Awards (in the R&B category) with twelve Grammy nominations, among them the title "Producer of the Year" and "Best Engineered Recording". He has mastered many different music styles and genres, and his recordings have been featured on record, film, television and the stage.


Graydon made his singing debut on his second birthday on the "Joe Graydon Show," the first music/talk television show in Los Angeles, hosted by his father, Joe Graydon.

During and for a brief time after his college days, Graydon played in the Don Ellis Band, whose style can be described as experimental post-bop jazz. He can be heard on the live double album Don Ellis at Fillmore and the studio albums The New Don Ellis Band Goes Underground, Connection and Soaring.

L. A. session musician

From the late 1960s to late 1970s Graydon was a session musician in Los Angeles, working with such artists as Gino Vannelli, Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, The Jackson Five, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Al Jarreau, Christopher Cross, Ray Charles, Cher, Joe Cocker, Marvin Gaye, Hall & Oates, Wayne Shorter, Olivia Newton-John, and Albert King. He is perhaps best known for his guitar solo on Steely Dan's 1977 hit single "Peg".

In 1977 he appeared as a character in a number of Doonesbury strips as Jay "Wah-Wah" Graydon.[1] Graydon played on the Jimmy Thudpucker album "Greatest Hits" along with Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn. He was the subject of the track "Fretman Sam" and played its guitar solo. He also programmed the synthesizers for the album.


Jay Graydon's production credits include work with Airplay, Air Supply, George Benson, Al Jarreau, DeBarge, El DeBarge, Sheena Easton, Art Garfunkel, The Manhattan Transfer, Johnny Mathis, Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, Dionne Warwick, Alan Sorrenti and the album They Don't Make Them Like They Used To by Kenny Rogers.

He started his own record label, Sonic Thrust Records, in 2001 to give himself creative and artistic freedom in his songwriting and producing profession. The label features straight-ahead jazz, adult contemporary pop, AAA, AOR, classic R&B, smooth jazz, and genuine retro surf from the 1960s

As a musician and recording engineer, he has often been a consultant and beta tester for new musical equipment and recording gear.


Graydon has written over 200 songs. His catalog includes the Grammy winners "Turn Your Love Around" with Steve Lukather (George Benson) and "After the Love Has Gone" (Earth, Wind & Fire), as well as "Who's Holding Donna Now" (DeBarge), "Friends in Love" (Dionne Warwick and Johnny Mathis), many songs written with and for Al Jarreau (including "Mornin'", "Breakin' Away", "High Crime", "After All", and "Roof Garden"), and several hits with Manhattan Transfer including "Twilight Zone", "On The Boulevard", "Smile Again" and "Spies in the Night". Many of his songs were co-written with David Foster.

Writer and educator

Graydon has written numerous articles in music magazines, and has conducted seminars at Musician's Institute in Hollywood with guitarist Tommy Tedesco for over 15 years. He has been working on a series of books on recording techniques with Craig Anderton, a widely published and bestselling authority on recording technology. The books will discuss the subtleties of recording various instruments, as well as mixing.

Film scores

Graydon has participated as a musician and/or songwriter in over 50 film scores including The French Connection, Grease, Ghostbusters, St. Elmo's Fire, The Secret of My Success, Navy Seals, Lady Sings the Blues, The Greatest, Ghost Dad and Mahogany.


Graydon has played on or written songs for The Andy Williams Show, The Jackson 5 Show, The Alan Thicke Show, The David Steinberg Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Soupy Sales Show, The Smothers Brothers Show, The Midnight Special, The First Rock and Roll Awards Show, Miami Vice, Thank God It's Friday, and Starsky and Hutch.

With Richard Page, he also wrote the second theme song for Gimme a Break!, which was used from its third through sixth seasons.


With Boz Scaggs

With Paul Anka

  • The Painter (United Artists Records, 1976)
  • The Music Man (United Artists Records, 1977)
  • Listen to Your Heart (RCA Victor, 1978)
  • Headlines (RCA Victor, 1979)
  • Walk a Fine Line (CBS, 1983)

With Yvonne Elliman

  • Yvonne (RSO Records, 1979)

With Stephen Bishop

With Kenny Rogers

With Barry Manilow

With Dalbello

With Shaun Cassidy

With Barbra Streisand

  • Songbird (Columbia Records, 1978)
  • Wet (Columbia Records, 1979)

With Bernie Taupin

With Joe Cocker

With Dusty Springfield

With Marlena Shaw

  • Sweet Beginnings (Columbia Records, 1977)

With Jackie DeShannon

With Aretha Franklin

  • You (Atlantic Records, 1975)

With Rita Coolidge

With Marvin Gaye

With Ben E. King

With Cher

With Valerie Carter

  • Wild Child (ARC, 1978)

With Brian Cadd

With Art Garfunkel

  • Lefty (Columbia Records, 1988)

With Randy Crawford

With Christopher Cross

With Donna Summer

With Leo Sayer

With Albert King

  • Albert (Utopia, 1976)

With Sheena Easton

With Carole Bayer Sager

  • Carole Bayer Sager (Elektra Records, 1977)
  • ...Too (Elektra Records, 1978)
  • Sometimes Late at Night (The Broadwark Entertainment, 1981)

With Syreeta Wright

With Al Jarreau

With Dionne Warwick

  • Love at First Sight (Warner Bros. Records, 1977)
  • Friends in Love (Arista Records, 1982)

With Jennifer Warnes

With Peter Allen

With Dolly Parton

With George Benson

With Olivia Newton-John

Grammy Awards

Year AwardedNominee/workCategoryResultRef.
1980 "After the Love Has Gone" (Earth, Wind & Fire) Song of the Year (shared with Bill Champlin & David Foster) Nominated [2][3][4]
Best Rhythm & Blues Song (shared with Bill Champlin & David Foster) Won
1981 "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone" (The Manhattan Transfer) Best Arrangement for Voices (shared with Alan Paul) Nominated [5]
1982 Breakin' Away (Al Jarreau) Album of the Year (shared with Al Jarreau) Nominated [6]
"Kafka" (The Manhattan Transfer) Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices (shared with Bernard Kafka) Nominated
1983 "Turn Your Love Around" (George Benson) Best Rhythm & Blues Song (shared with Bill Champlin & Steve Lukather) Won [7]
1984 Jarreau (Al Jarreau) Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) Nominated [8]
Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical (shared with Ian Eales & Eric Prestis) Nominated
"Mornin'" (Al Jarreau) Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s) (shared with David Foster & Jeremy Lubbock) Nominated
"Step by Step" (Al Jarreau) Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s) (shared with Tom Canning, Jerry Hey & Al Jarreau) Nominated
1985 Ghostbusters Soundtrack (various artists) Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special (shared with various artists & producers) Nominated [9]
1986 St. Elmo's Fire Soundtrack (various artists) Nominated [10]


  1. Graydon, Jay (February 29, 2000). "MusicPlayer Forums: Jay Graydon here". musicplayer.com. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
  2. "Jay Graydon - Artist". Grammy Award. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  3. "Grammy Awards & Nominations". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  4. "Grammy Awards 1980". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  5. "Grammy Awards 1981". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  6. "Grammy Awards 1982". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  7. "Grammy Awards 1983". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  8. "Grammy Awards 1984". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  9. "Grammy Awards 1985". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  10. "Grammy Awards 1986". Awards & shows. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
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