Gaynel Hodge was born in 1937 in Los Angeles, California to a truly musical family and was involved in doo-wop, rhythm and blues and jazz from his earliest years. Gaynel began writing songs and playing piano professionally by age 13; something typical of that era, joining, starting and practicing with all-vocal groups on street corners of L.A.
By age 15, Gaynel was a regular session musician in recording studios throughout L.A. and had co-written the multi-platinum hit “Earth Angel”. Gaynel went on to form the original Platters with his brother, Alex Hodge, and sang and played piano with them on their first 16 recordings.
In his vast music career, Gaynel has written, recorded or performed with such artists as Lou Rawls, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, Dr. John, Ted Taylor, Little Johnny Taylor, Richard Berry, Dick Dale, Don & Dewey, The Chambers Brothers, The Rivingtons, The Olympics, Johnny Morrisette, Tony Allen, Duane Eddy, just to name a few.
1937 – Born in Los Angeles, California
1947 - Sang in choirs at church and glee club – performed in ‘Five Guys Named Moe’
1951 - Attended Jefferson High School where he met Richard Berry and Johnny "Guitar" Watson
1952 – Recorded his first original songs on Swingtime Records with The Hollywood Flames
1953 – Wrote ‘Earth Angel’ which was recorded the same year
1954 – Founded The Platters – played on the first 17 recordings – Alex Hodge was the first lead singer of the group
1956 – Recorded ‘I’m a Fool’ and other songs with the Turks
1957 – Worked under Bumps Blackwell for Keen Records, together w/Herb Alpert and Lou Adler. Produced such artists as Sam Cooke and Lou Rawls
1957 – Wrote and recorded "Father Time" with the Turks
1958 – Played on Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s album "The Gangster’s Back"
1960 – Worked with Dick Dale who recorded ‘Jesse Pearl’ on Deltone – GH writer
1961 – “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright" – written by GH – recorded by the Atlantics
1961 – "Pappa Oom Mow Mow" album recorded by The Rivingtons – arr. By GH
1961 – GH featured as recording artist on RCA Records: "Bachelor in Paradise" written by Henry Mancini (song was nominated for Grammy Awards). Also:"The Door Is Still Open" written by Chuck Willis, and ‘Stretch Pants’ and “That’s My Desire"
1961 - Recorded “Alley Oop" w/Hollywood Argyles (Cher played the beat on a coca cola bottle on this session!), also played piano on ‘Wipe Out’ - Sandy Nelson, drums, and recordings of The Ventures. Played on Nancy Sinatra’s first album,
1964 to 1968 - Wrote 11 songs with Mac Rebeneck (aka Dr. John), among which “Too Close" and “West Wind". Extensive recording work for various labels in Hollywood and on the West coast
1969 to 1974 – Traveled with The World Famous Ink Spots as their pianist and musical director and singer
1986 - Receives BMI Award for over 2 million airplays of "Earth Angel"
1990 – Re-released Hollywood Flames album featuring GH on Specialty Records
1991 – Re-released Doo Wop from Dolphin’s of Hollywood, Vol. 1 featuring The Turbans, The Gassers, The Voices (Hollywood Flames), The Turks etc. Also: Vol. 2 with GH and the Blue Aires
1996 – Inducted into UGHA (United in Group Harmony Association), New Jersey
1998 – Recorded “What Is This Thing Called? Jazz!" Featuring the Phoenix Jazz Ensemble
1998 – Inducted Arizona Blues Hall of Fame
1998 – 2001 Touring extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East
1999 – Re-release compilation: East Side Sound Vol. 1: Land of a 1000 dances – The West Coast – 16 hits by East L.A.’s most popular groups
1999 - Recorded ‘Sing a Song to God’ at One Way Up Records, Phoenix, AZ;recorded Gaynel Hodge ‘Then and Now’ at Sundance Studios, Phx. AZ
2002 - present - On annual seasonal tour throughout Europe and the Middle East, regular performances with The Platters review group.