John Leventhal (SHS 1970)

Producer, Singer, Songwriter

John Leventhal formed his first band in Quaker Ridge Elementary School.  A few years later in Scarsdale High School, a new band with Robby Kaplan, Marc Shulman and Zev Katz with Leventhal on the guitar was a bright spot in their Scarsdale education.

After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Wisconsin in 1974, Leventhal kept his music alive, playing in Colorado with Kaplan and later with Katz. At the same time, he helped his father run his retail appliance business. In the early 1980s he met Shawn Colvin. They were a perfectly balanced team, and during that decade produced a number of songs, many of them on the edge of public recognition. They exploded onto the national music scene in 1989 with his co-writing, producing, and performing in the Grammy-winning album “Steady On.” In 1993, Leventhal collaborated with Rosanne Cash for “The Wheel.” During the same period, he produced albums by Kelly Willis, David Crosby, and Marc Cohen. In 1998, Leventhal reunited with Colvin and was co-author of “Sunny Came Home,” which ran away with Grammys for both the song of the year and album of the year.

In addition to his work with modern folksongs, John produced songs featured as soundtracks in a number of movies including the 1997 Jack Nicholson/Helen Hunt comedy, “As Good as it Gets.” Here he wrote “Climb On [a Back That’s Strong].” During the post 9/11 years John produced the music for “Raising Helen” and in 2005, “L-Word.”

John’s beautiful bass voice also can be heard in “Piglet’s Big Movie,” Disney’s 2003 effort to balance the books. Today he is promoting Rosanne Cash’s latest album, “Black Cadillac.”