Emil Richards

Emil Richards, born Emilio Joseph Radocchia on September 2, 1932 in Hartford, Connecticut, was an American percussionist and vibraphonist, best known for extensive resume as a first-call LA session musician.

Richards, who started playing the xylophone at age six, was an avid musical instrument collector with over 350 percussion instruments in his collection.

Emil Richards began his professional music career by the time he was a sophomore in high school, performing with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. He went on to study percussion with Alexander Lepak at the Hartt School of Music (1949-1952) and was later drafted — playing in the Army military band in Japan where he also worked with pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi. 

fter his time in the Army, Richards moved to New York City (1954) where he played with Charles Mingus Jr, Ed Shaughnessy and Ed Thigpen on recording sessions for Mitchell Ayers, The Ray Charles Singers, and Perry Como. For the next three years he was a member of George Shearings group, then in 1959 moved to Los Angeles to work with Don Ellis and Paul Horn. Richards went to lead his own group, the Microtonal Blues Band, spent time with the iconic composer/inventor, Harry Partch, and worked as a sideman, touring and/or recording with the likes of Louie Bellson, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Nelson Riddle, Sarah Vaughan, George Harrison, Quincy Jones, Stan Kenton, Irene Kral, Peggy Lee, Julie Londin, Shorty Rogers, Shadowfax, Subramaniam, Nancy Wilson, Steely Dan and Frank Zappa. 

As a studio musician, Emil extensively for motion picture films and for television. Some notable television performance highlights include the bongos on the theme for Mission Impossible, the finger snaps on the Addams Family theme, and xylophone on The Simpsons opening theme. Additional television work included music for Falcon Crest, Cagney and Lacey, Dynasty, and lots of cartoons such as the the original Flintstones. You can also hear Emil's work on numerous movie soundtracks — such films as Star Trek, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Ghostbusters and the collection of Planet of the Apes films.

Richards died on December 13, 2019; he was 87.Emil Richards Collection