A professional musician since his early teens, Al Kooper enjoyed his first real taste of pop music success during the nascent days of rock and roll as popular music. He joined The Royal Teens, who had a Top 5 hit with the tune "Short Shorts" in 1958 and a Top 30 hit a year later with "Believe Me." Kooper was hooked.
"I was hanging around the fringes of the music business," he says of the period after he did his time with the Royal Teens.
"I was playing sessions on guitar. People would hire me because their only alternative was to hire...