A TRIBUTE TO FLORENCE GREENBERG!
April 21, 2010
“In the ‘50s I grew up in the Bronx and worked in my aunt’s candy store after school. I was somewhat of a nerd, but I got hipper listening to what the kids were playing on the jukebox, especially “Met Him On A Sunday” and “Tonight’s The Night”. I never dreamed that one day I’d be working for the woman behind those records, Florence Greenberg, who describes herself as “a white woman in a black business who couldn’t carry a tune.”
Artie Kornfeld, “The Father Of Woodstock”, who co – wrote “Tonight You’re Gonna’ Fall In Love With Me”, for the Shirelles remembers, “Florence Greenberg was quite a gal! She was as strong as Morris Levy in business, but always kind to me. I do think that Marv Schlacter ran a lot of the company. I had no problem with Scepter Records…but I never checked my royalty statements back then either.”
Singer/Songwriter Larry Weiss (“Rhinestone Cowboy”, “Bend Me, Shape Me”) adds, “I REMEMBER FLORENCE GREENBERG WAS A DYNAMIC INDEPENDENT RECORD COMPANY OWNER, WHO PEOPLE HAD TO CHASE FOR AN HONEST ACCOUNTING..INCLUDING BACHARACH & DAVID..BUT SHE WAS A STRONG FORCE IN NYC FOR MANY YEARS WITH THE SHIRELLE’S, B.J. THOMAS, AND A NUMBER OF OTHER R&B ACTS.”
Russ Regan, former CEO of UNI Records and 20th Century Records adds, “I loved Florence Greenberg!! I worked for her for 3 happy years. She loved the music business; she had great Instincts for hit songs!! She loved her artists!! She was passionate about her employees!! She was truly a great human being!! They don’t make them like her anymore!!”
Ed Silvers, former president of Warner Brothers Music, fondly remembers, “Florence gave me a great opportunity, when she and Marv Schlacter offered me a job to run the publishing arm of Scepter Records, and co-own all new copyrights I could bring to the company. During my time at Scepter, I signed Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, along with their pal Joshie Armstead. Florence was a source of information on how record companies functioned in the 60′s. She had a great feel for talent–Luther Dixon, the hot producer, Hal and Burt doing Dionne, and signing The Kingsmen from a deal she had engineered with a Seattle producer.
Florencealso knew how to deal with promotion of her releases–DJ’s came to Scepter often to receive encouragement!!! I miss her to this day.”
After being unceremoniously fired from a song plugging job four days after I got married, my old friend Ed Silvers hired me to write and produce for Scepter. I got a chance to work with some of the most talented people in the world. I did demos with Nick, Valerie and Joshie, and even co-wrote a couple of songs with Nick.
Florence was very sensitive to her employees. When Ed went on a 2 week business trip to the UK, I’ll never forget that Florence gave me a chance to write and produce some sides on the Shirelles, the Kingsmen, and the Guess Who, as well as gave me unlimited time to experiment in her new 8-track state of the art studio. If only Ed had stayed away another week, I’m sure would’ve gotten Florence to let me cut Dionne Warwick and B.J.Thomas!”
(TO BE CONTINUED)
photo at top l-r Luther Dixon, Florence Greenberg, Chuck Jackson, and Marv Schlacter
photo in the middle l to r Joshie Armstead, Nick Ashford, Artie Wayne, Valerie Simpson, bottom- Ed Silvers
thanks to Brian Gari for the middle picture from his collection
Regards, Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.com
Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/
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