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BOOMER - JazRokPop Records (Street date: October 7, 2008)

HOMEGROWN - Elektra Records



DATE.....March 2, 2003
PLACE....Los Angeles, California
EVENT....The first "TV Land Awards," reuniting Don Grady with his "My Three Sons" brothers, Stanley & Barry Livingston, to present an award.

Don had been a composer for fifteen years by this time, and was soaking in the scene on the red carpet, one he hadn't seen since his Teen Idol days back in the '60's.

"Don! Don! Don!" fans cheered from the bleachers.

As he arrived inside the Hollywood Palladium, Don could still hear his name being shouted from outside, "Don! Don! Don!"

Incredulous, he turned around to take one last look, and there was Don Knotts walking in behind him!

PLACE...........Northern California
EVENT...........A cattle call audition at the San Francisco Cow Palace.

At this arena, near Don's hometown of Lafayette, California, there was no red carpet, just 13-year-old Don "Agrati" and his dance partner, Terry Hooper. While adoring fans weren't calling his name quite yet, it was Hollywood that came calling.

After capturing the attention of director Sidney Miller, Don was flown to Los Angeles to audition for Mr. Walt Disney himself.

Soon, all the tap dancing, clarinet, and accordion lessons, coupled with self-taught skills on bass, guitar and trumpet, led to Don's first contract as a regular Mouseketeer, joining Annette Funicello on the original "Mickey Mouse Club."

"I was the plug-in Mouse," Grady recalls. "When they couldn't find outside talent to bring in for Talent Round-Up Day, they'd turn me into a calypso singer, a Japanese emissary, or a Mexican balladeer. I would learn a new song and play a different instrument for each character."

After a season on the "Mickey Mouse Club," Don Agrati emerged as Don Grady, a young dramatic actor co-starring alongside Joan Crawford, Chuck Connors, and Adam West in popular westerns like "The Restless Gun," "Wichita Town," "Zane Grey Theater," "Law of the Plainsman," "The Rifleman," and "Have Gun, Will Travel," not to mention his film work in "Ma Barker's Killer Brood."

"I usually played the sole son protecting his mother from the prairie, or his drunk dad."

Enter "Robbie Douglas," the role that would define the next decade of Don's career, on one of television's longest-running sitcoms, "My Three Sons."

"I was very serious. Dramas were all I had done. Since 'Sons' was a comedy, I thought I had to be funny. Peter Tewksbury, our first director, took me aside and said, "Keep your seriousness, that's when comedy works the best." "I've been serious ever since!"

Throughout his time on the show, Don's creative talent extended far beyond acting.

"I've always thought of myself as a musician who got lucky as an actor."

Don's musicality didn't go unnoticed. At 19, Capitol Records signed him to a three-way contract, covering singing, songwriting, and music publishing.

He not only wrote and performed many of his original songs on My Three Sons, he stepped behind the cameras to write some episodes as well.

During this period, Don also guest starred in many other TV shows, including "The Lucy Show" with Lucille Ball, and was the featured actor in an Emmy-nominated episode of NBC's psychiatric medical drama, "The 11th Hour," playing the deviate genius son opposite Angela Lansbury.

Don is proud to have served for four years as the first Teen Chairman for National Cerebral Palsy. While traveling the country on their behalf, Don's love of music led him to discover the musicians who would eventually form the band "The Yellow Balloon." When he toured with the group, Don sang and played drums under an assumed name, wearing a disguise, so the music would not be overshadowed by "that actor on My Three Sons." In 1967, the band had a hit with a song of the same name, "Yellow Balloon," reaching number 25 on Billboard's Pop Chart, and landing them on "American Bandstand."

Don's early songwriting efforts were acknowledged in Brian Wilson's 2004 SMiLE Tour program:

"Television actor Don Grady was a talented songwriter who performed in a band called 'The Yellow Balloon.' His solo single 'The Children of St. Monica' also made good use of solemn, prayer-like harmonics."

After eleven years on "My Three Sons," Don left the show, ready to embark on a career as a recording artist. He wrote and produced HOMEGROWN, an original album released as Don Agrati on Elektra Records. The success of this album abroad led many European bands to cover Don's songs, one of which garnered a gold record for the Dutch band, Lucifer.

Following his first live theatrical performance starring in the national tour of "Pippin," Don moved to New York, and appeared in many musicals, including "Godspell," "Damn Yankees," and "Tom Sawyer." It was there that he made the pivotal decision to leave acting altogether, and launch full time into writing music.

"The truth is, I ran out of money in New York. Since I had to start all over, I chose to focus on something that was the mo