ELLIOTT RANDALL BIO, February 1977
Elliott Randall has always been considered a musician’s musician–and with good reason. His comfortable, good-natured personality complements an eager, New York City vitality that finds expression naturally in his single-minded love of the guitar. Taken together, this makes Elliott an attention-getter whose widely varied experience and affection for all types of music has rendered his contributions to the genre unique. After all, it takes some sort of special sensibility to be able to play on a Steely Dan session, solo with the Rochester Philharmonic, help cut Vikki Sue Robinson’s disco hit “Turn the Beat Around” and record his own album,Elliott Randall’s New York; all in the same year.
Elliott began by taking piano lessons when he was five years old. At nine, be switched to guitar, and credits his teachers like Roy Smeck with keeping his interest alive. His public debut came at thirteen, through performances at school hops, and the like. By fifteen, he had his own quartet.
In 1963, at sixteen, Elliott ventured into the fertile musical world of Greenwich Village. There, he met Richie Havens, started playing places like the Cafe Bizarre and the whole uptown Twist Lounge circuit and did some early work behind the Capris and the Ronnettes. If nothing else he knew by then his life was committed to music.
In 1966, Elliott moved to Ohio and taught guitar at a combination music store/music school, meanwhile supplementing his wages with local club gigs a few nights a week. His acid-rock experience came right on schedule in 1967 when he joined the Druids of Stonehenge. Their success was short-lived.
Things assumed a more serious nature when, in 1968, Elliott began performing with folkie Tim Rose, before having to choose between offers to play with Wilson Pickett in Muscle Shoals or join the newly-formed Seatrain in San Francisco. He opted for the latter and spent eight months in California before heading back to New York to play with Eric Mercury.
In 1970, Elliott embarked on a solo career and recorded two albums in two years: Elliott Randall’s Randall’s Island and Rock and Roll City. Both proclaimed him as a “citizen” of New York.
Next, Elliott was involved with the touring company of Jesus Christ Superstar, and became its de facto musical director, before moving on to the Broadway production.
In July 1972, Elliott’s musical journey reached a turning point. He was asked to help out on a new California band’s debut album. The group was Steely Dan, and Elliott displayed his well-honed virtuosity by creating the distinctively sizzling lead on Reelin’ In The Years. When asked to join the band, he respectfully declined and returned to the East instead. There, he decided to become “The New York City studio musician.” For two years, Elliott tried everything from rock to jazz to Salsa, and continued to build his reputation.
In April 1974, Elliott was ready to tour again and accepted an offer to join Sha Na Na. After leaving the band eleven months later Elliott threw himself into a variety of musical ventures. He played on commercials too numerous to mention; continued to work with Steely Dan; soloed with various orchestras; experimented with musical ideas based on city sounds and rhythms; guested occasionally with bands like The Doobie Brothers and gradually turned his attention to recording another solo album…
…Though Elliott Randall is a musicians’ musician, he says it would please him to be known as a “people’s musician” as well. He may not know it. but he already is.