David Lucas (Helfman) was born in Buffalo, NY.
He started singing at four with his mother and father and went on to
sing gigs around Buffalo including local radio.
At nineteen he became a record promotion man and got regional
breakouts for Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Sam Cook, The Everly Brothers and many others. Thanks to Lucky Pierre, The Houndog, Frank Ward, Tom Shanon, Danny Neaverth, Joe Rico, Casey Kasem and Joey Reynolds, he became the top record promotion man in the northeast
until he was drafted into the Army.
After his stint for Uncle Sam he moved to Miami Beach and became a social director and performer at the Attache Hotel where he met drummer
Buddy Rich who asked him to join the band for a tour around the world.
"The time spent traveling and living with Buddy Rich changed my life. Boy, do I have Buddy stories."
Following the tour, Lucas moved to Los Angeles where he produced several artists, wrote special material and jingles. He became the production singer at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas where he was discovered by Doris Day and recorded Al Lerner's "So Until I See You"
and signed to Arwin Records.
Lucas then moved to New York where he became a sound engineer for
jazz musician Don Elliott. "Thanks to Les Paul, we got the second eight track recording machine in New York after Atlantic Records." At the same time he did gigs around New York singing and playing drums.
He got a call from Dave Lambert (Lambert, Hendricks & Ross) who asked
him if he would like to join the "Dave Lambert Singers."
Lucas adds, "Somewhere there's an underground film by famed director D.A. Pennebaker catching "The Audition" at RCA records. Embarrassing."
While at Elliott's studio he engineered and produced various newcomers like Laura Nyro, Ravi Shankar (produced by Timothy Leary), Joao & Astrud
Gilberto, Tim Rose, Cass Elliot, along with established artists Jimmy Smith,
Bill Evans, Mel Torme, Terry Gibbs and others.
When Elliott was asked by an agency to write a "contemporary" jingle for Maclean's Toothpaste, he offered the demo to Lucas who wrote and
produced his first NY jingle with Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz.
It went on the air and two weeks later they asked Lucas to write a demo
for National Airlines, which was a major success. He did other versions of
his Macleans song with Australian Rolf Harris, Maria Muldaur and Rick
Derringer of The McCoys ("Hang On Sloopy").
Lucas' friend Jay Messina took over as chief engineer at Elliott's and
Lucas rented an office in Diamond Jim Brady's old townhouse, and with
arranger Mike Abene he opened David Lucas Associates.
His early jingles included:
Pall Mall,"The Seven Minute Cigarette" sung by Lucas, his wife Deanna (of the Sylte Sisters) and Jackie Cain and Roy Kral. Lark Cigarettes, "You Oughta Turn To Charcoal" with Roger Kellaway, "Slicker Under, Slicker Over," "Canoe" cologne, "Breck Basic," "Evening in Paris," "Chips Ahoy," "Yellow Pages," and "Mt. Airy Lodge."
Lucas says,"With the support of Fred Levinson, Bob Bean, Andy Jenkins, Milt Schwartz, Bob Lenz, Hunter Murtaugh, Jerry Wexler and several other trusting people that believed in me, I was suddenly in demand as the new kid in town."
In 1969 Quincy Jones introduced Lucas to Cy Coleman, who signed him to
Coleman's Notable Music Publishing Company. Along with songwriting and jingles, Lucas continued to produce people he admired.
While at the Music Inn at Tanglewood with Bill Evans, Chuck Israels, Arnie Wise and Kenny Ascher, he met 17 year-old Carly Simon playing songs for the kids at her mother's summer camp, thereafter signing The Simon Sisters (Carly & Lucy) to a management contract and produced several sessions.
He produced a band from Buffalo called The Raven and they were signed to a Columbia Record contract.
Lucas says, "They were one of John Lennon's favorite bands."
He also produced Tim Rose, David Steinberg, Charlie Brown, the Alessi Brothers, Leta Galloway, Doug Howard, Rachele Cappelli and Think Dog (where he met Tom McFaul).
Lucas later hired McFaul to write jingles and eventually made him a partner and Lucas/McFaul was born.
With their slogan "Used People," Lucas/McFaul became the top creative and production jingle company in the country.
It was during this time that Lucas met Ahmet Ertegun who gave him an assignment to produce the music for the first Rock & Roll musical, Tom Sanky's "The Golden Screw" at the Provincetown Playhouse. "I had never seen an Autoharp and I was enthralled by Tom's songs."
In 1970 he was asked by Leonard Horn to do music for a new movie "The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart" starring an unknown 18 year-old actor, Don Johnson. "It was a great gig and Don and I became lifelong friends."
When celebrity/jazz photographer Bill Claxton produced and directed the first fashion film "Basic Black" featuring his wife Peggy Moffitt, he asked Lucas to compose the music, which had a section in it scored with a Moog synthesizer owned by a young tape dubber at Gotham studios. It turned out to be Walter Carlos, and was the first "commercial" use of a Moog. "Basic Black" is now in the Museum Of Modern Art.
Soon he was spending most of his time recording at Phil Ramone's A&R 48th St. Studio, spending so much in studio costs that he decided to find a space and build his own studio.
Lucas rented a floor in an old spice warehouse at 320 W. 46th St. and built the Warehouse Recording Studio, beginning a new era in the jingle production business with his own studio.
The Warehouse became a hub for the New York music scene and is now owned and operated by Wyclef Jean.
While still doing mainly jingles, Lucas kept trying to bring talent to the public by producing demos for artists and bands.
In 1971 he saw the band Stalk Forrest and was so impressed that he
invited them to his studio and produced a four song demo.
Columbia's Clive Davis signed them. They changed their name to Blue Oyster Cult and Lucas produced their first album at the Warehouse and later produced "Agents of Fortune" at the Record Plant, engineered by Shelly Yakus, which included "Don't Fear the Reaper."
Lucas sings the background vocals and is the one who played the now famous cowbell (SNL skit).
The album "Spectres" was his last work with BOC.
Lucas comments: "Man...jingles all day and Rock & Roll all night. No wonder my wife left me!"
David Lucas has written & produced many hit jingles, like
AT&T's "Reach Out and Touch Someone," "GE We Bring Good
Things To Life," "Catch That Pepsi Spirit," Coca Cola's "You
Can't Beat The Feeling," "Give Your Cold To Contac", Dean
Witter, Burger King, Pepsi Light, Mountain Dew, Maxwell House and hundreds more.
Over the years David has produced and worked with: Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, The Mills Brothers, Soupy Sales, Paul McCartney... "Oh well...just look at the photo crawl on the Home page. Anyone who can name all the people in the crawl gets a dinner on me." : )
In 1998 Lucas sold The Warehouse and moved back to Miami where he built a studio and is writing songs, jingles and continuing to work on a musical.
His two sons Jason and Cristopher Lucas write and produce for him along
with doing their own thing individually. Eric "Wood" Hansen heads up
MIDIEVIL Productions in Los Angeles.
Lucas' eldest daughter Lisa Lucas is a nominated actress and a journalist for the New York Daily News, while his youngest daughter Lindsay is a singer and student at Boston's Berklee College Of Music.
His son Jason is in Nashville, son Cristopher is at the family ranch in Idaho, Eric 'Wood' Hansen is in Manhattan Beach.
With today's technology, they can all play and sing on the same track.
Much of David's time is spent in Jamaica where he is involved in efforts to save Winnifred Beach from foreign developers and is also affiliated with a recording studio in Port Antonio doing records and commercials internationally.
"Thanks to all those who crossed my path and helped my career
and life be as wonderful as it was and still is."