Hank Cicalo was born June 25, 1932 in Brooklyn, NY. He attended P.S. 101, Body Junior High School and Lafayette High. Served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 4 years; fought in the Korean War in the 1st Marine Division from 1950-1954.
In 1954 Hank went to work for Audio Sonic Recording, with one studio in the Brill Building and one studio on 46th St. in New York.
In 1956 Hank moved to California and went to work for Armed Forces Radio Network. He engineered the “Standard Oil School Broadcast Series” which featured Carmen Dragon & the Glendale Symphony. It won many national and Peabody Awards. In 1957 he started in the mastering room at Capitol Records, then progressed to 2ndengineer and worked with many great engineers like John Krause, Hugh Davies, John Palladino and Pete Abbott. Some of the artists’ albums he worked on were Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Nat King Cole. He moved up to engineer while at Capitol and worked with such notables as Cannonball Adderley, Peggy Lee, Ed Ames and Lou Rawls.
In 1963 Hank went to work for RCA Records in Hollywood. As one of the lead engineers at RCA he worked with many artists, including Eddie Arnold, Vic Damone, Ann-Margret, Eddie Fisher, Peter Nero, Duke Ellington, Wayne Newton & Tommy Leonetti.
In the mid-60’s Hank also worked closely with Tom Mack, producer for Dot Records. Their projects included The Mills Brothers, The Lennon Sisters, Jimmie Rodgers, Glen Campbell, Ernie Andrews, Frankie Carle and Harry James. Their biggest project together was Lalo Schifrin’s Mission Impossible, for which Hank was nominated for his first Grammy Award.
While at RCA, Hank recorded The Monkees for Colgems Records. In total, he did 4 albums with the band, including The Monkees, More of The Monkees, Live 1967 and Headquarters. All 3 studio albums with the group went multi-platinum, each reaching number 1 on the Billboard charts. Hank also recorded the scores for the popular Monkees television show and engineered tracks on The Birds The Bees & The Monkees, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd., and Head. Hank toured with the band in 1967 and mentions that the most frightening experience he has ever had was being attacked by a mob of teenage girls while in a limousine with The Monkees. After the group disbanded Hank engineered Mike Nesmith’s first solo album, The Wichita Train Whistle Sings.
In 1967 Hank also engineered an album for Monkees songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. It was the duo’s first album entitled, Test Patterns.
That year he left RCA to become the studio manager at Amigo Recording Studio in North Hollywood. At Amigo Hank worked with legendary record producer, Snuff Garrett, who owned the studio. Garrett used the facility while working as the staff producer for Liberty Records. Together he and Hank recorded such greats as Steve Douglas, Shorty Rogers, Peggy Lee and The Lennon Sisters.
During the late 60’s Hank did many freelance projects including numerous NBC Television specials, such as Alice In Wonderland with Don Costa. He also did multiple projects for Mercury Records including albums with Big Mama Thornton, Blue Cheer, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Tongue & Groove and Harvey Mandel.
In 1969 Hank started his working relationship with A & M and Ode Records. During the next several years Hank worked very closely with Ode’s owner, Lou Adler, to produce some of the best music of the early 70’s. At Ode Hank worked with several artists including Tom Scott, Tufano & Giammarese, Merry Clayton & Gene McDaniels. He recorded Rocky Horror Show – L.A. album and Roxy cast album.
By far, Hanks greatest success at Ode Records were the 6 albums he did with singer/songwriter Carole King including 1971’s largest-selling album, Tapestry. Other albums Hank worked with Carole and Lou on were Rhymes & Reasons, Fantasy, Wrap Around Joy, Really Rosie and Thoroughbred.
Tapestry was the second solo album for Carole on the Ode label but the first album Hank engineered. Released in February of 1971, Tapestry was number 1 on the Billboard charts for 15 consecutive weeks and held a record for most weeks at number 1 that lasted over 40 years. It still holds the record for most consecutive weeks at number 1 by a female solo artist. The album had been listed on the Billboard 200 for over 300 weeks between 1971 and 2011, the longest by a female solo artist. In terms of time on the charts, it ranks fifth overall, and in terms of length on the charts for solo musical acts it ranks second. It remains the longest charting album by a female solo artist. It was the first album to be certified diamond by a female solo artist. Tapestry had one number 1 single: “It’s Too Late”.
The album swept the 1971 Grammys. It took home the award for Album of the Year – Tapestry, Record of the Year – It’s Too Late, Song of the Year – You’ve Got A Friend and Best Pop Vocal Female – Carole King.
While at Ode Hank also did multiple albums with saxophone player, Tom Scott. They worked on 5 albums together with Tom as a solo artist and also with his band The L.A. Express. The albums include Tom Cat, Tom Scott & The New York Connection, Blow It Out, Intimate Strangers and Apple Juice.
During his time at A & M and Ode Hank continued to do freelance work. Some of his more notable projects were ButterFly with Barbra Streisand released in 1974 and Thirty Three & 1/3 with George Harrison released in 1976. The album with George Harrison was done in George’s home studio at his castle “Friar Park” and included a month-long stay with George at his home.
In the late 70’s-early 80’s Hank fulfilled one of his lifelong dreams and opened his own recording studio. Along with his partner Tom Scott they purchased a studio in Santa Monica, refurbished it with state of the art equipment and launched Crimson Sound. They enjoyed recording many notable artists there including Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand and Chevy Chase.
When he left Crimson, Hank had the opportunity, in 1982, to record the soundtrack to the classic Ridley Scott film, “Blade Runner.” He continued as an independent engineer until 1984 when he took over the scoring stage at MGM Studios. He was responsible for recording and mixing the film and television scores on the legendary scoring stage until 1987. To name just a few, they included the films The Pope of Greenwich Village, composed by Dave Grusin, Year of the Dragon by Thomas Dolby, as well as the series Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, Highway to Heaven by David Rose, Dallas by Jerry Immel, The Fall Guy and Love and Honor by Mark Snow and many others. He also recorded additional motion picture scores at other studios, such as Broadcast News and The Toy by Patrick Williams and Sibling Rivalry by Jack Elliott.
Hank became an independent engineer again in 1987 and went on to record numerous television series: Days & Nights of Molly Dodd, Slap Maxwell, Night Court, Joe Bash, Stat, and The Naked Truth.
The late 1980’s and 1990’s saw Hank back in the studio recording and mixing albums: Dreams & Themes by Patrick Williams, Body and Soul and The Groove Shop by Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Once More…With Feeling by Doc Severinsen & The Tonight Show Band. In 1995, Hank recorded and produced Professional Dreamer by Kenny Rankin. It was a chance for Kenny to record many of his favorite jazz standards
In 1992, Hank recorded the popular children’s album, Pure Imagination, by Michael Feinstein. It was the beginning of a collaboration that resulted in several subsequent recordings. He engineered Isn’t It Romantic, That’s Entertainment, Hugh Martin Songbook, as well as Such Sweet Sorrow and Nice Work If You Can Get It – which he also co-produced.
Though he had worked with him on earlier projects, Hank is particularly proud of Rawls Sings Sinatra, which he recorded with Lou Rawls in 2003. It was one of the last Lou Rawls projects, and Hank enjoyed working with him again, as well as with producer Billy Vera.
Hank’s most recent album is the 2-cd 2008 release: Tapestry – Legacy Edition.