Born in New York City in 1941, Fields graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 19, and entered Harvard Law School, where he lasted less than a year. “Law classes were too boring,” he says, “whereas the bars and coffee shops of Harvard Square were truly tempting. But my parents were not going to pay to keep me in Boston, so I dropped out of law school, went to Europe for a few months, and then moved back to New York.”
In Manhattan, Fields enrolled at NYU for graduate courses in linguistic studies, took a room in a sleazy Greenwich Village hotel, and became involved in the booming downtown art and music scenes of the mid 1960’s.
His first music-related job was as editor of the teen fan magazine, Datebook, where he published, for the first time in America, John Lennon’s “We’re-more-popular-than-Jesus” interview, which caused an uproar in the U.S. Bible Belt. An early member of Andy Warhol’s ‘Factory’ crowd, Fields also published in Datebook the first picture of the Velvet Underground to appear in a national American magazine; “I’m as proud of that,” Fields says, “as I am of running the Lennon story.”
Thus began Danny Fields’ occasionally contentious career in the music industry. As a deejay at the radio station WFMU, for example, he refused to play any music by the Beatles: “Turn the dial if you want to hear them,” he told his listeners. “I much preferred the Rolling Stones,” Fields recalls. “And early Pink Floyd [first heard on American radio via his show], Captain Beefheart, Gregorian chants, anything I liked.”
In 1968, Danny was hired by Elektra Records as Director of Publicity. Having been a free lance press agent for the Doors, Fields found himself working for them on a corporate level, despite his sometimes tumultuous relationship with frontman Jim Morrison.