Marty the K’ Kaniger
Marty Kaniger began his career in music by performing three songs in front of six hundred people at a high school “hootenanny” in 1963. This was the first time he had played guitar and sang for more than just a few friends or family members and, as he laughingly recalls, “I was so terrified, that the time between taking the stage and leaving the stage was an absolute and utter blank. I was totally unaware of singing those three songs”. But the audience was aware and gave him a rousing round of applause, and that… he remembered. At that moment, he knew the course he would follow. He continued to perform at school and community events. He performed as a solo guitarist/vocalist and also in various combinations with other local musicians, such as “The Ascot Singers”, a folk trio including friend and fellow classmate Mike Shedlin also on vocals and guitar, and childhood friend and classmate Bob Wayne on vocals and “gut-bucket” bass. Years later, Bob and Marty would get together to form Big Daddy.
In his senior year of high school, 1965, Marty would hook up with another fellow classmate and
guitarist, Dan Peyton, to form a highly successful local rock group, “The Loved Ones”. They played not
only school dances and events, but were soon performing in clubs all over the L.A area, private parties,
and major corporate events. In 1968, the group was signed to a contract with Colgems Records, released
one single, and then broke up. But all was not lost, because Marty and Dan were almost immediately
signed to Colgems Records as recording artists under the name P.K. Limited and to Screen Gems /
Columbia Music, a major music publisher, as exclusive writers. Things were looking up.
Between 1968 and 1972, Marty and Dan worked almost non-stop. They recorded and released four
singles, produced by David Gates, from the chart topping group “Bread”, for the Colgems label, some to
become regional hits. Their version of “Shades Of Gray” actually topped the Monkees version on the
charts in several Midwestern cities. Speaking of the Monkees, Marty and Dan also provided back-up
vocals on several Monkees recordings. They were primary vocalists on the Warner Bros. Records’
“Mystic Moods: Awakening” LP. Their songs were recorded by the likes of Brian Hyland and, then
teenage heart-throb, Sajid Kahn. They wrote songs for the Partridge Family and Bobby Sherman TV
shows. They wrote and recorded the title song and several others for the Columbia Pictures film,
“Getting Straight”, starring Elliot Gould and Candace Bergen, and directed by Richard Rush. In addition
to writing and recording most of the songs for the movie, their guitar work and vocals can be heard
throughout the movie’s soundtrack. During their years as “Screen Gems” writers, they also wrote songs
for several TV pilots. Marty was often hired by other writers to sing on their demo recordings. In ’72,
Marty and Dan were switched from Colgems to Bell Records and released a few more singles, also
produced by David Gates. They then left Bell and Screen Gems and struck out on their own. They were
hired by Premore Productions to write several songs for a network television musical comedy special,
Through the 70’s, Marty performed at restaurants and clubs around Southern California. He worked as a
principal performer and vocalist for TV and movie composer/arranger Fred Karlin on a network TV
special, “They Said It With Music”. He also worked with Fred Karlin and other film and TV composers,
like Bill Conti and lyricist Norman Gimbal, singing on their demo recordings.
In the early 80’s, Marty and Bob Wayne, Tom Lee, Gary Hoffman, and Dave Starns formed Big Daddy.
Originally a 50’s cover band, they switched to the concept of re-arranging and performing contemporary
hit songs in the styles of the 1950’s. They released four albums on Rhino Records and toured
extensively in the U.S. and overseas. Don Raymond came onboard after their second album. The band
had a top 20 hit in England in 1985 with their 50’s version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The
Dark”. In 1994, Marty, Bob Wayne, and Don Raymond – aka “The Benzedrine Monks of Santo
Domonica” – recorded the CD “Chantmania”, a takeoff on the surprisingly successful “Chant” album of
that same year… contemporary rock classics in the styles of Gregorian chants. “Chantmania” turned out
to be the biggest selling original recording ever on the Rhino Label. In 2000, the band – Marty, Bob,
Tom, and Don - released “The Best Of Big Daddy”, a compilation of some of their favorite tracks from
their first four albums, a previously unreleased live recording, and a newly recorded bonus cut – “My
Heart Will Go On”, from the hit movie “Titanic”.
In more recent years, Marty has kept busy doing some solo/acoustic gigs. He has, with Bob Wayne,
produced and performed on CD projects for Rhino Records and CDs for singer/songwriter/comedian
Henry Phillips. For several years he did all of the music licensing for an international toy manufacturer,
and licensing for CD and production projects. Most recently, he is back working with Bob, Tom, and
Don (his Big Daddy co-conspirators) on plans for a new Big Daddy album.