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Obituaries

David Blume, 74, Club Owner Wrote 1966 Pop Hit `Turn Down Day'

March 24, 2006|From a Times Staff Writer

David Blume, a composer, record producer and folk dance club owner who wrote the 1966 hit "Turn Down Day," has died. He was 74.

Blume died March 15 of complications from a stroke at his home in Sylmar, his son Howard said.

Written as a jazz tune by Blume, with lyrics added by his writing partner Jerry Keller, "Turn Down Day" became a hit when it was recorded by the pop group the Cyrkle.

It was Blume's first and last foray on the pop charts, but he wrote the title songs for several films in the 1960s, including Don Knott's vehicle "The Shakiest Gun in the West," and "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?," which starred Mary Tyler Moore and George Peppard.

A native of Roxbury, Mass., Blume grew up in Brookline, Mass. He was a jazz fan at an early age and learned arranging and scoring. He majored in journalism at Northeastern University and played on the school's baseball team.

After graduation in 1952, he served in the Army, but the only action he saw was at Ft. Bragg, N.C., where he conducted and arranged music for the base orchestra. After his discharge he stayed in the Fayetteville, N.C., area. According to family members, Blume defied local segregation laws at the bowling alley and jazz club he built by fully integrating the staff, performers and audience. When local officials insisted that Blume had to install four bathrooms, to separate the races, he proposed providing two, one for black men and women and one for white men and women. The officials left in dismay and when the bowling alley opened, Blume had only two restrooms, one for women and one for men.

In the late 1960s, Blume started working with folk singer Carolyn Hester in New York as an accompanist, producer and writing partner. They were married in 1969.

They moved to Los Angeles in 1972. To supplement his income, Blume found work as a copy editor with the Los Angeles Times in 1973 and stayed with The Times in several capacities until his retirement in 1999.

He kept his hand in music, working with Hugo Montenegro in producing several albums during the 1970s that featured the early use of synthesizers and quadraphonic sound.

Blume took over as owner/operator of Cafe Danssa, a folk dancing club in West Los Angeles that was a fixture in the dance community. He was still operating the club at the time of his death.

He is survived by Hester, his wife of 35 years, and four children: Leo and Howard, from his first marriage to Charlotte Abrevaya Blume, which ended in divorce; and two children from his marriage to Hester, Karla Blume and Amy Blume. He also has three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Cafe Danssa, 11533 W. Pico Blvd., West Los Angeles. For details, call (310) 478-7866.

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