I just got an e-mail from my old friend Ron Dante (lead singer for the Archies, Cufflinks, and Detergents.) about my early mentor Paul Vance (“Itsy Bitsy, Teenie Weenie, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”, “Catch A Falling Star”) Ron assured me that the announcement of Pauls demise was definitley premature! A man falsely claiming for 50 years to be the writer of “Bikini”, passed away and when his widow printed the outrageous songwriting credit in his obituary, the Associated Press picked it up (without checking the facts, obviously) and spread the story throughout the media! I hope Paul takes action against this irresponsible act of journalism that disrupted his life and takes advantage of the media attention to promote himself and his incredible body of work!
This episode really got me worked up and I started thinking of how many imposters I’ve met in the music buisness. I once exposed a guy claiming to be Napoleon the Fourteenth who wrote and performed, “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha Ha”, which I might’ve believed If I hadn’t been at some of my late friend, Jerry Samuels sessions as he was recording this classic. I kicked this guy out of my office, as fast as I could! Then there was this woman who wanted me to sign her to Warner Brothers Music. She claimed to be the writer of Jean Knights, “Mr. Big Stuff.” You should’ve seen how fast she backtracked when I brought her into a meeting and introduced her to a couple of big Stax producers she claimed to know!
My most interesting experience, however, came when I first moved to Hollywood and started working at Viva Music. I got a call from one of the A&R men at United Artists Records, which was right down the street. He was about to sign contracts and give a rather large check to Artie Resnick (co-writer and co-producer, with Joey Levine of (“Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, “Chewy, Chewy”) but he felt in his gut…that something was wrong. He knew I had represented Artie back in New York and asked to me join his meeting in progress. I sat quietly and waited for Artie to come in. After a few minutes I realized that the stranger, who had been dominating the conversation, was the one who had been claiming to be my friend! I kept my mouth from hanging open and quietly left the room, informing security that the man inside was indeed an imposter! They gave me five minutes to safely leave the premises before they threw him out of the office. I left quickly, keeping in mind the old Bronx Philosophy,”The Ass You Save May Be Your own!”
You can reach Ron Dante at http://rondante.com/
Artie Wayne at http://artiewayne.com