SPOTLIGHT ON BROOKS ARTHUR!
October 12, 2011
SINCE I STARTED MY BLOG, IN WHICH I TALK ABOUT PEOPLE I KNEW IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS BACK IN THE DAY, I’VE NEVER HAD A RESPONSE AS I’VE HAD WHEN I ASKED FOR A PARAGRAPH FOR MY ARTICLE ON MY LONG TIME FRIEND, PRODUCER/ENGINEER, AND “CLOSET CROONER”, BROOKS ARTHUR.
“…First of all I love this man and his entire family. He is so talented and so amazingly current in his position as music supervisor to Adam Sandler. In the olden days he was always our favorite engineer and his part in our demo process was key to their successes.”
Cynthia Weil (“YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVIN’ FEELIN”, “ALL NIGHT LONG”)
“Artie …….Just to add to what Cyn had to say about Brooks…………Besides Brooks being a great talent with terrific instincts when it comes to music for film, he’s probably one of the most decent human beings on the face of the earth. To me Brooks is family and always will be.”
Barry Mann (“YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVIN’ FEELIN”, “SOMETIMES WHEN WE TOUCH”)
May our friendship never end. Well how could it? You still owe me twenty bucks from that time we went to Coney Island and you spent all our money on Hot Dogs at Nathan’s.
Lets do it again.
Artie Kaplan Contractor/ musician
“Brooks is a wonderful person and great talent. All those Nevins-Kirshner,Screen-Gems demos with Brooks at Dick Charles studios. Having Brooks as an engineer was also having a mentor right to my left for over 1,000 hours,I would imagine.Our mix on the Cowsills, “THE RAIN, THE PARK, and OTHER THINGS”, was an example of talent and creating together. Whenever Brooks and I talk it is like back in Brooklyn in the 50s .I used to get my egg creams at his Dads place..
Artie Kornfeld “THE FATHER OF WOODSTOCK”
“In 1964 Brooks was the engineer on the first record I ever produced. He was the chief engineer at Mira Sound in the Hotel America on 44th street. I was signed by Donny Kirshner as a writer at Screen Gems-Columbia Music and came to New York to work with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Cynthia and I wrote a song called Please Don’t Wake Me which we cut with a group we called The Cinderellas. It was actually Margaret Ross from the Cookies and a couple of session singers from New Jersey. Barry Mann and I co-produced (Barry played piano) and Brooks did a really amazing job making it sound beautiful and tough, better than i could have ever imagined. What a way to start a career making records!!”
ProducerRuss Titelman (Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton)
“A friend and co-writer, the late, great Brad Burg and I heard that Bette Midler was recording in a building across the street.
We had a new song, “I’ve Been to New Orleans in my Dreams” that we’d written with her in mind. SO, we barged over and thru two doors behind which stood Ms. Bette with Brooks Arthur. It was such a rude intrusion , so we quickly told them that we worked for Don Kirshner and had written a song on the “cassette tape” (remember those?) that I had in my purse….asked them to please listen…apologized for the interruption…..thanked them …then left feeling like our tails were between our legs. Nothing happened with the song, but a friendship blossomed over many years between Brooks, his wife ,Marilyn, and Ron and me. We even enjoyed vacations in Palm SPrings with them and spent some time together when they were in Nashville for awhile. Great folks. He’s a timeless producer. Proud to call him “friend.”
Congrats on your MANY blog hits. You’ve really gotten this internet explosion down. I was just learning Facebook then it changed drastically on me. WILL KEEP TRYING…”
Dene Hofheinz Songwriter
“Brooks Arthur has always been one of the great treasures in the music business. His combination of talents is truly rare. Sometimes he’s engineering, sometimes producing, sometimes music supervising – but always a music man. He’s always there to help and encourage. He’s always there to be a friend. He’s number 1 on my chart”!
Music producer Michael Lloyd (“DIRTY DANCIN”, “THE OSMONDS”)
“Brooks Arthur is a sterling example of the behind-the-scenes magic maker whose name may not be as well known as those of the artists with whom he has worked, but whose influence helped to shape the output of those artists into glorious manifestation. Over the years, he has worn a variety of hats (recording engineer, producer, music supervisor), had his talented hands in multiple media and multiple genres (music, comedy, records, theater, film), and worked alongside a diversity of other talents (from Jeff Barry to Phil Spector, from The Dixie Cups to Bruce Springsteen, from Robin Williams to Adam Sandler). Far more than a “midwife” who assisted these artists in bringing their creations into the world, he was a full participant in the creation process itself. I, for one, am very grateful to him for the role he played in so many of my favorite recordings, like the Red Bird tracks, the Spector productions, and Neil Diamond’s Bang Records output. Many thanks to Brooks Arthur for the part he played in bringing the music to life.
LAURA PINTO OLDIES CONNECTION
“Brooks is a fantastic guy and passionate about the music and artists he works with. I met him pretty early in my career. Always felt like family and we had a lot of laughs. Did some pretty great music together too!”
Allee Willis (“BOOGIE WONDERLAND”, “NEUTRON DANCE”)
“Brooks was always so kind to me and open to hear my songs for his artists. He was one of the few producers who was about the creativity and not the ego. He was a very down to Earth, kind and talented man.”
Patti Dahlstrom (“EMOTION”)
“Brooks Arthur a really cool and very talented guy who I have not seen or talked to in a very long time but do remember the days we worked together as recording engineers at a very famous NYC recording studio called Associated Recording Studio. The first time I walked in on one of his sessions the lights were down and a spot light was on him only, he was sitting and moving to the music and pushing and pulling the faders as if they were having a conversation with Brooks.
At first I thought how silly this looked, and in a New York second thought how cool it was that the show was on both sides of the glass. I learned lots from Brooks in the way of mixing and effects and I’m sure this took me to higher places in the music business. When Brooks opened his own studio and my production partner at the time and myself signed a rock band to a major label, the first name we both came up with to work as the engineer was Brooks. We recorded the album at his studio and I mixed it at the record companies studio…. And yes, I shut the light off and put a spot light on my partner and myself……I mixed the album with the same effects I thought Brooks would of done and to this day the band is still around. Brooks thanks for the lessons you did not know you gave.”
Warmest and best, Barry Oslander PRODUCER/ENGINEER
“AS YOU KNOW, I WORKED FOR CLAUS OGERMANN IN THE MID 60′S. OGERMAN HAD A FINANCED PRODUCTION COMPANY WITH POLYDOR. I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO PRODUCE MASTERS FOR SALE. I BELIEVE I EVEN DID ONE OF YOUR SONGS? I LIKED TO RECORD AT MIRA SOUND, BECAUSE BROOKS WAS A GREAT ENGINEER WITH A STRONG MUSICAL SENSE. I WAS PRODUCING A WONDERFUL SONG I WROTE WITH GEORGE DEVANS CALLED ‘SAYING GOODBYES’. ROY GLOVER HAD DONE THE ARRANGEMENT FOR IT. THE STUDIO WAS CRAMMED WITH ORCHESTRA. I REMEMBER ARTIE BUTLER, WHO WAS BOOKED FOR PERCUSSION, WHO HAD TO WALK THROUGH THE MEMBERS TO PLAY THREE DIFFERENT PERCUSSIVE INSTRUMENTS, SAYIN, ‘WHAT’S SCALE FOR A HERNIA’.
ROY DID A RUNDOWN OF THE SONG, AND SOMETHING MAGICAL HAPPENED THAT I’VE NEVER SEEN SINCE. THE ORCHESTRA STOOD UP AND APPLAUDED THE ARRANGEMENT. ALL OF US WERE TEARFULLY MOVED BY IT. 25
YEARS LATER, I SPOKE WITH ROY GLOVER SOME MONTHS BEFORE HE PASSED AWAY. THE FIRST THING HE SAID TO ME, WAS IF I REMEMBERED ‘THE DAY THE ORCHESTRA STOOD UP’. IT WAS OBVIOUSLY A SPECIAL MOMENT FOR HIM. ROY WAS A GREAT GUY, AND I’M SURE MISSED BY MANY. BROOKS LOVED THAT SONG SO MUCH, HE SANG A VERSION OVER THE TRACKS WE DID THAT DAY. I DID AS WELL. WE HAD A LOT OF FUN BACK THEN, WHEN THE MUSIC BUSINESS WAS FUN!”
LARRY WEISS (“RHINESTONE COWBOY”)
“When the music business was the “music business”, Brooks Arthur was a New York force to be reckoned with. Not only was he an amazing producer but he owned one of the hottest recording studios in town. Oh yeah, he was and still is an incredibly sought after recording engineer. The most amusing and legendary Brooks Arthur story is the Brooks Arthur “magic fader”. As anyone who has worked with overly opinionated advertising agents or managers will agree, many times they can slow up or break the flow or a recording session with inane remarks and comments. Brooks Arthur’s solution? Give them a fader that was connected to nothing. So he would start the mix or recording session with the “genius” sitting next to him “riding” the “magic Brooks Arthur fader”. Ingenious! I often think about that to this day, and have to crack a smile.”
Don Oriollo (FELIX THE CAT, ORRIOLO GUITARS)
“We worked together only a few times. The last time he worked on a project I did was Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”
“Brooks Arthur is one of my heroes in the music business.
Brooks and I have done many hits together including
the iconic THE RAIN, THE PARK —— , by the Cowsills.
He is what the perfect engineer and producer should be –
musically talented and technologically up to speed.
He is also one of my favorite people.”
My best, Jimmy “Wiz” Wisner
“Brooks Arthur is one of finest producer/engineer/music directors around.
Besides being one of the nicest people in the music business he really is a true professional. I am honored to call him my friend.
Rock on Mr Arthur!”
Ron Dante (THE ARCHIES, THE DETERGENTS)
“Strolling into Mira-sound Studios on 47th.Street to play guitar on a session with my good buddy as the recording engineer was always a special adventure that I looked forward to. Mentioning just a few of the legendary names who produced great records with Brooks at the controls would be too extensive and might seem like I was exaggerating. The reason every successful producer & arranger in New York (or from anywhere) wanted to create their hit masters at his place was because of Brooks’ great sound expertise and his consistently jovial, ‘no-pressure’ personality & hearty smile. It is etched in my mind and I’m proud to say he’s my dear friend.”
Trade Martin. Singer/ songwriter/producer
Brooks was my first encounter with a class engineer, he was a perfectionist on every level – he taught me how to listen to sounds and dimensions without any instructions. A great guy.A rare gem!”
Kenny Young (“UNDER THE BOARDWALK”, “DON’T GO OUT INTO THE RAIN”)
I have known Brooks Arthur since 1963. (OUCH) When I met him he was a recording engineer at Mira Sound Studios in New York. We worked together on many different projects like Neil Diamonds first hit recordings, The Shangri Las, the many Red Bird hit records with the great Leiber & Stoller, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich and George (Shadow) Morton, Connie Francis, Neil Sedaka,The Tokens, Burt Berns, Phil Spector etc. If I am leaving some people out, it’s only because it was many years ago and I just forgot. Please forgive me. He was a terrific engineer with great musical instincts and great ears. I moved to Los Angeles in 1967 and we have remained friends to this day. Brooks remains a very talented productive person in today’s music world as a music supervisor. He still has that great musical instinct and great ears.
Artie Butler (“WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD”, “UP ON THE ROOF”, “COPACABANA”)
“Brooks was always a pleasure to work with. We (Al Gorgoni, Chip Taylor and I) recorded most of the “Any Way That You Want Me” album at Century Sound Studios in NYC (two songs were recorded at A&M Studios in LA). Brooks was easy-going, with a gentle manner and fun to be around — all great qualities to have in the studio. Talent and skills aside, it’s the glue that helps make things go smoothly. We all got on very well and had a lovely time working together. Near the end of the project, we were dealing with various schedules and deadlines… Al and Chip couldn’t be there one evening and we had to get it done, so Brooks and I did the vocal for the song, “I’ll Never Be Alone Again.” We were happy with the result and as always, enjoyed the process.
Evie Sands (“TAKE ME FOR A LITTLE WHILE”)
“When I first met Brooks, he was at the top of his game; he had an awesome track record, he had his own studio, and had made some of the classier hits of the day. And in spite of that, he extended friendship, and gave his respect and encouragement to the lowest people on the proverbial totem pole. That was uncommon.
I particularly remember the 1st session we did with Brooks at Century Sound, for THE OHIO EXPRESS. It was the follow up to “Yummy Yummy.” We recorded a new song called “Chewy Chewy.” Joey Levine and Artie Resnick wrote and produced it.
The upper management of the “bubble gum” music empire were not known for spending money for record production. We had recorded “Yummy Yummy” at a $15 an hour studio.
Recording at Century Sound was a huge step up for our team, as was working with Brooks. Anyway, Brooks had this magic about him. The vibe was great, the sound was great, Brooks was great, and that was a great, hit session.
KENNY LAGUNA (Manager of JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS)
“We recorded the Billy Vera & Judy Clay album for Atlantic at Brook’s Century Sound. Brooks was more than just the engineer. He had useful suggestions, too. The most important one turned what might’ve been just another song into a hit single. The producers had written a tune they called “Just Across The Line,” a cute little country-ish ditty that was formless when we entered the studio. Brooks came up with the idea of using the same rhythm as Alvin Robinson’s version of “Something You Got,” as produced by Leiber & Stoller, which Brooks had engineered. I’d always loved that record and jumped in with a big “Yes!” Later, when Atlantic chose the track for our next single, I asked them to change the title to “Country Girl-City Man.” The writers, Chip Taylor & Ted Daryll still make a few bucks off that one.”
BILLY VERA, singer/songwriter
“I do remember Brooks Arthur and his precious face during the sessions I did with The Angels, but unfortunately I didn’t get to know him personally to say more than “I couldn’t imagine working that engineer sound board in the control room.” My job was to sing and he did the magic. Especially during the 60′s to be able to make the tracks for the musicians, then bring in the vocals and put it all together was a feat in itself. When the playback of ”My Boyfriends Back” came through the speakers of the studio, we all knew it was going to the top!!! Thank you to Brooks and FGG Productions.”
Bernadette Carroll, singer
“Artie, What an amazing memory you have !! Remember playing Knock-Hockey up at 1697 Broadway on the 6 floor?? We made a lot of hits with Brooks at Mirasound studios.. I remember the all-nighters producing the Chiffons-Tokens- Happenings & so many more I can’t remember.. Brooks sure must have had a lot of patience putting up with all the different personalities & creative ideas of the Tokens as producers.. But the chemistry worked..Brooks was very creative & had “Great Ears”.. Take care & keep writing!”
JAY SEIGAL (“THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT”, “HE’S SO FINE”)
“I met Brooks Arthur when I was a very young girl. Brooks is one of the most talented people I have ever met. He was our engineer at the time. He was always an inspiration in the studio.
He put his imprint on all of The Shangri-Las recordings, without a doubt.
He also managed to do this, and keep us all laughing at the same time I love him dearly, and always will.
The best part of all is that he has never changed, no matter how successful
he has become.”
Mary Weiss of the Shangri-las (“LEADER OF THE PACK”, “I CAN’T GO HOME ANYMORE”)
NOW I WANT GIVE THE MAN OF THE HOUR, BROOKS ARTHUR, THE LAST WORD…
“One of my most important mentors and most valuable friends, David Kapp, told me that if you make music there’s no age limit, and retirement is just a word for others. With that in mind, I’ve had the good fortune of spanning a lot of years and making a lot of records as a performer, songwriter, engineer, and record producer, in many genres. I still get goose bumps when I hear a record I made on the radio or in a movie. But I’ll always be a crooner!”
I treasure our history and friendship, Artie.
ALDON MUSIC FOREVER!”
2011 by Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/
THANKS BROOKS…AND HERE’S A LITTLE SURPRISE FOR YOU…”BIRTHDAY CARD” YOUR FIRST RECORD. I STILL THINK IT SHOULD’VE BEEN A HIT!
I’M PROUD TO HAVE BEEN A STAFF WRITER AT ALDON MUSIC WITH BROOKS ARTHUR…I’D LIKE TO GIVE MY READERS A CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE WHAT IT WAS LIKE BACK THEN IN A CHAPTER FROM MY NEW BOOK, “I DID IT FOR A SONG”. CLICK HERE
FOR BROOKS ARTHUR’S INCREDIBLE WEBSITE http://www.brooksarthur.com/
BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB! http://artiewayne.wordpress.com