The musical career of My Three Sons star Don Grady took him from Mouseketeer to psychedelic rock
Robbie Douglas worked with "the Captain" before Tennille did.
Image, Mouseketeers: The Everett Collection
This week marks what would have been Don Grady's 74th birthday. The child star turned sitcom actor passed away in 2012. Most know Grady best as Robbie Douglas, the middle child for 11 seasons of My Three Sons, one of the longest-running family comedies in television history. (He departed the series before its final year.)
On My Three Sons, which spanned 1960–72, Robbie Douglas matured from a teenager to a married man and father, during the most transformative era of the 20th century. The sitcom also provided Grady with a showcase for his other talents, namely music.
Before he joined the Douglas clan, Don Grady was known by his birth name, Don Agrati, and as a member of the Mouseketeers on season three of The Mickey Mouse Club. From 1957–58, Grady was a member of "The Blue Team" on the beloved children's staple.
His singing career began under the watch of Walt Disney. His musical journey would take him from Mouseketeer tunes to bubblegum pop to psychedelia to film scoring. Here are some highlights from Grady's overshadowed musical life.
1. The Mickey Mouse Club
Though he was a lesser member of the cast, Grady still stepped into the spotlight here and there for a musical number. He partnered with Linda Hughes to cheerily sing puppy-love fluff like "Wonderful Day for a Picnic."
2. The Palace Guard
In the mid-'60s, Grady briefly joined a Southern California group called the Palace Guard, shortly after their formation. He played keyboard and drums and chipped in with vocals. Notably, he took the lead on their 1965 single "Summertime Game" / "Little People." Grady would later appear on the hip TV musical showcase Hollywood a Go-Go, singing both songs, but with the Palace Guard nowhere in sight.
3. The Greefs
As Robbie Douglas, Grady twice performed as the frontman of The Greefs on My Three Sons, in the episodes "A Falling Star" (1966) and "Now In My Day" (1967). He belted a tune called "Good Man to Have Around the House."
4. The Windupwatchband
"Good Man to Have Around the House" turned up as the B-side for Grady's 1966 solo single for the Canterbury label, "The Children of St. Monica." The 45 credited the songs to "Don Grady and the Windupwatchband." One of his bandmates was just as famous in Hollywood, if not more so, eventually. Daryl Dragon played in the group. You know him better as the Captain, one half of the massive 1970s pop duo The Captain & Tennille. They, too, would have a successful television show.
5. The Yellow Balloon
Grady's greatest musical success came as the drummer for this sunshine-rock outfit. Though he often billed himself as "Luke R. Yoo" and performed disguised in wigs to obscure his fame. On the band's 1967 self-titled album, an upbeat collection of sunny psychedelia, Grady wrote and sang three cuts as Yoo, "Stained Glass Window," "Good Feelin' Time" and "Junk Maker Shoppe." The group's eponymous song was a minor hit, peaking at No. 25 on the Billboard pop chart, but the entire LP is artfully crafted 1960s garage pop in the mold of the Beach Boys and the Left Banke, stuffed with harmonies and harpsichord.
Jump to the year 1991. Grady composed some music, along with Henry Mancini, for the Blake Edwards body-swapping film Switch. Body-swapping movies were all the rage back then, weren't they?
7. 'The Phil Donahue Show'
Grady would later show off his smoother musical stylings with one of the themes used on Donahue, in the 1990s. (Veteran theme composer Mike Post composed another familiar tune for the show.) Grady went with a saxy feel.
Image: Multimedia Entertainment
SEE MORE: 10 essential pop albums recorded by classic TV stars
There's no shame in playing these platters at parties. READ MORE