Writer of hit songs Cherish and Requiem for the Masses. He was a founding member of vocal group The Association.
He was influenced early on in his career by Frank Zappa.
His Requiem for the Masses by The Association was a moving harmony piece about the Vietnam War.
His family was residing in Salina, Kansas, when he was born. He introduced Beverly Bivens, sister of a girl he was dating in 1964, to folk-rock group We Five.
He made notable contributions to several classic 1980s films, including Pretty in Pink, which starred Molly Ringwald.