Al Kooper (born Alan Peter Kuperschmidt; February 5, 1944) is an American songwriter, record producer and musician, known for organizing Blood, Sweat & Tears (although he did not stay with the group long enough to share its popularity), providing studio support for Bob Dylan when he went electric in 1965, and also bringing together guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills to record the Super Session album. He has had a successful solo career since then, written music for film soundtracks, and has also lectured in musical composition. He continues to perform live to this day.
Kooper was born in Brooklyn, New York, though he grew up in Hollis Hills, Queens, New York. His first musical success was as a fourteen-year-old guitarist in The Royal Teens, best known for their novelty twelve-bar blues riff, "Short Shorts". In 1960, he joined the songwriting team of Bob Brass and Irwin Levine, and wrote "This Diamond Ring", which became a hit for Gary Lewis and the Playboys. When he was twenty-one, Kooper moved to Greenwich Village.
He performed with Bob Dylan in concert in 1965, and in the recording studio in 1965 and 1966, including playing Hammond organ with Dylan at the Newport Folk...