San Diego Songwriters Part 3: Greg Douglass

by Bart MendozaFebruary 2012

While most songwriters I’m covering here have written numerous songs for others, for Greg Douglass it’s not a matter of how many songs he’s written, but instead the impact just one of his compositions has had: “Jungle Love.”

It’s likely few performers in San Diego have reached the Top 40 as many times as Douglass. Just touching on an amazing career that includes guitar work with James Brown and Van Morrison, he was a member of such seminal sixties and seventies groups as Terry and the Pirates, Raven, Mistress and the Tom Fogerty Band. More importantly, he was hit by lightning twice, joining the Steve Miller Band at their mid seventies peak (including #1 “Abracadabra” in 1982) and then the Greg Kihn Band at their early eighties peak (including #2 “Jeopardy” in 1983).
As a songwriter he’s penned dozens of songs, including tracks for Eddie Money (“Trinidad” on Playing for Keeps) and numerous co-writes with Anna Troy, including the title track on her Wait Another Day album. He wrote two songs for the Steve Miller Band, including the instrumental “Maelstorm,” with a further two co-writes, “Goodbye Love” and “Something Special.”

However, “Jungle Love” is clearly the standout in his portfolio. A co-write with bassist Lonnie Turner, the song itself resulted in Douglass being asked to join Miller’s group. Having decided to record the song, Miller was unable to get the tricky guitar part just right, so Douglass was called in. Having been asked to stay, within weeks he was playing JFK Stadium in Philadelphia on a co-headline bill with Fleetwood Mac and an audience of 100,000.

A massive worldwide hit, “Jungle Love,” took on a new life on in 2001 when the song was used in Season 6 of television sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, becoming the programs theme for the series final three years.

One of the most successful songs of all time, in the U.S. alone, the single went platinum with over 1,000,000 sold. Meanwhile, Jungle Love’s home album, Book of Dreams, sold over 3,000,000 copies, while the Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits album, has now sold over 18,000,000 copies. Taking into account all the compilations the song has been found on and all the worldwide sales of the tune, even without the internet in the mix, it’s safe to say a large portion of the planet has a copy of “Jungle Love” within arm’s reach.

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