Play Me Something Bubblegummy – “Chewy, Chewy”, “Yummy, Yummy , Yummy”!
October 29, 2006
Elisha Cuthbert blows a bubble!
In the the middle to the end of the 1960s, a new kind of Pop music emerged in America called Bubblegum Music and I was fortunate to be smack dab and sticky in the middle of it all! My partner Kelli Ross and I were representing the publishing catalogs of some of the hottest artists and producers in the Music buisness, that included Quincy Jones, Leslie Gore, Bobby Scott, and Janis Ian when we picked up a new catalog, Peanut Butter Music.
The catalog was owned by Joey Levine, a newcomer, whose first song I published in 1965 and my old friend , Artie Resnick ( “Under The Boardwalk”, “Good Lovin’”.) It mostly consisted of material that Joey, Artie and Kris (Arties wife wrote) and Joey and Artie produced. Their first million seller was “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, a demo sung by Joey by the Ohio Express in 1968. This was the idea of Jeff Kaznetz and Jerry Katz who executive produced the dates to have Joey start singing lead on most of their records. They loved Joey’s commercial, young sounding voice with a Rock and Roll edge and those great tracks he and Artie produced, so they released single after single using different names of actual groups they had under contract. When a record became a hit the real group went on the road to promote it. Neil Bogart, head of Buddah records, encouraged the concept and put out a string of hit singles “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, “Chewy, Chewy” by the Ohio Express, “Shake ” by the Shadows of Kniight”, “Gimme, Gimme Good Lovin”, By Crazy Elephant”, Run , Joey Run” by the Kaznetz-Katz singing orhestral circus, and dozens of other singles for Buddah.
The records were geared for the “Tweenies”, the nine to 15 year olds and suffered a fatal backlash from radio in 1969…bursting the bubble of the Bubblegum market! Joey, Artie and Kris ( Artie’s wife who co-wrote many of the songs ) started to write more adult themes and formed the group “The Third Rail”. When the group disbanded, the Resnicks continued to write songs while Levine wrote, sang and produced jingles for commercials that include several top Coca- Cola campaigns.
When my Spectropop pal, Jean-Emmanuel Dubois, asked me for an interview for his forthcoming book on Bubble Gum Music in France, some of the information went beyond the genre so I decided to include some of it here.
JE- When did you meet Joey Levine?
AW-In 1964 when I went into business with Dave Kapralik ( Sly and the Family Stone, Van McCoy, Peaches and Herb) Joey Levine stopped me and introduced himself, as I was walking through the Brill building. He asked if he could play a song for me, he did and I signed it on the spot. Although I hardly remember the incident, Joey said that act was a big consideration when he and Artie Resnick were looking for someone to administer their publishing companies.
JE- How did you discover Tony Romeo ( The Partridge Family) ?
AW- Tony came in off the street and played me 6 or 7 songs and we signed him to an exclusive songwriting contract. Tony was more into the Beach Boy kind of music, at the time, and the two of us did a single for Columbia called, “Californie” (Romeo) under the name Tomorrow’s People. He was incredible at stacking background vocals and we were disappointed that it wasn’t a hit.
It was a couple of years before Tony hooked up with Wes Farrell and wrote,” I Think I Love You” (Romeo), and all those other hits for the Partridge Family.
JE- You seem to have a strong connection with French recording artists.
AW- Yes, my first hit in France was, “Excuse Me Lady” (Wayne) by Joe Dassin. The song had gotten to #3 in the UK by the Magic Lanterns…Joe covered it and took it to top ten in France. American by birth, I remember hanging out with Joe a few times in New York, when I was known as Shadow Mann. He, his entourage, Sissy Spacek ( who I had renamed “Rainbo” for recording purposes) and I, made the rounds of all the clubs and hot spots…and had an incredible time!
JE- Did you know Sylvie and Johnny Hallyday?
AW-I met Sylvie Vartan once backstage at one of her incredible shows, after she recorded one of songs, “Ma Decadance” (Leikon/ Munson/ Wayne)…I met Johnny Hallyday a few days later in the middle of a media blitz. The Headlines shouted, “Sylvie Divorces Johnny” and all during our lunch, he was understandably preoccupied!
JE- As a publisher you had quite a few American hits…with French songs?
AW- Oui’, in 1968, my partner Kelli Ross and I found “J’Taime” by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, at MIDEM the international music conference held every year in Cannes, France. Eight years, later my partner, Lou Reizner and I were sitting in a little café in Cannes, when we heard the pianist playing a catchy little tune. The pianist was Claude Morgan, and he was the composer of the song, “El Bimbo” which was becoming a number one hit by Bimbo Jet all over the world! Lou and I looked at each other and lit up like light bulbs knowing the song could be a smash in the US as well!
It was midnight, but before the sun came up Lou and I had a meeting with the French Producer and the original publisher. We secured the American sub-publishing rights, before MIDEM opened it’s doors the next morning, even before our competitors started their continental breakfast!
Jean…I remember when I was at Warner Brothers music, I heard, “Amorouse” by Veronique Sanson and asked Patti Dahlstrom to write an English lyric. She recorded it herself as “ Emotion” (Dahlstrom/ Sanson) on her 20th Century Fox album, it was covered and became a hit by Helen Reddy. That song is as timely today, as it was when it was written…and should be a hit again!
For Part II of the interview http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/11/12/it-was-women-and-children-firstthe-day-the-bubblegum-bubble-burst/
Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne
To Hear Patti Dahlstrom sing “Emotion” click onto http://artiewayne.com/emotion.html
To find out about Spectropop http://spectropop.com