June 2, 2007
Long before, “Lady Marmalade”, “Devil With The Blue Dress On”, and “Cant Take My Eyes Off You”, Bob Crewe, was one of my favorite songwriter and producers. When I was starting out in the music business. “Silhouettes”, “Luck Ladybug”, “Walk Like A Man”, were the kind of songs I wanted to write and “Palisades Park” and “Tallahassee Lassie”, were the kind of records I wanted to produce.
I remember being introduced to Bob for the first time, by publicist/ manager Harriet Wasser in front of 1650 Broadway. We all talked for a few minutes, then he invited me down to Allegro studios, which was in the basement of the building. He was recording a few demos for the Four Seasons and as the afternoon progressed, Bob became more and more dissatisfied with the vocals.
Harriet suggested that he give me a try on vocals since she was familiar with the demos I was doing for publishers around town, that required using a lot of falsetto and singing all the background parts. Although he wasn’t a musician, he was a singer and was able to tell me exactly what he wanted, as well as instilling the confidence in me to execute it. He truly was able to bring out the best in everybody he worked with…like a great director!
He loved the results and a few days later, Bob asked Harriet if she would see if I’d be interested in “being” the Four Seasons for one record? It seems that Bob was having a dispute with the group, and owned the rights to the name and could put out whatever he wanted! Although I was flattered, and wanted a hit record…I wanted to be a solo Rock and Roll Star!
Over the next few years, I’d run into Bob at parties and industry functions, but it wasn’t until a few years later that I had a chance to sit down and talk to him at length. It was up at Motown records in Hollywood, where he had an exclusive production deal. He was up there to play a new mix on a record that Berry Gordy kept turning down, which he played for me,”My Eyes Adored You” by Frankie Valli. I sat there stunned by the incredible record I was listening to…then Bob started to pace back and forth, becoming more and more agitated, then he confessed that he was there to give Gordy an ultimatum!
( To Be Continued )
Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne
l -r Bob Crewe, Bobby Darin and Ellie Greenwich
Photos at the top- Bob Crewe…Bob and singer/songwriter Eddie Rambeau
To reach Eddie Rambeau
Special thanks to Rosemarie Edwards
February 10, 2007
Songwriter and Producer Jeff Barry, is always someone I’ve looked up to…and not just because he’s about a foot taller than me! Before I got into the music buisness, I remember first seeing Jeff’s name on one of my favorite records, “Tell Laura I Love Her” (Raleigh/ Barry) by Ray Peterson, and paying attention to his creative output ever since.
The first time I met him was in 1650 Broadway at the office of Paul Vance (“Itsy, Bitsy, Teenie Weenie, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”) where I was putting the finishing touches on a song I had written with with Ellie Greenwich and Danny Jordan (the Detergents), “You Should’ve Told Me”, that the Angels were about to record. I was introduced to Jeff when he came in to pick up his Fiance Ellie, for lunch.
While Danny and I sat daydreaming of songwriting superstardom collaborating with this talented lady on dozens of future hits, Jeff had plans of his own. He and Ellie, had started writing with Phil Spector and created songs that not only would become instant classics but would define the 60′s as well, including “Be My Baby”, for the Ronettes, “Do Wah Diddy” for Manfred Mann and “River Deep, Mountain High” for Ike and Tina Turner. Jeff’s love of Doo-Wop, Ellie’s affinity towards girl groups and Phil’s ability to mold the songs they all had written into a “Wall Of Sound”, made for an unbeatable combonation!
Jeff and Ellie sang together as the Raindrops, and co-produced Neil Diamond’s first hits, “Solitary Man”, “Cherry, Cherry” and worked with Shadow Morton, on “Remember (Walkin’ In The Sand)”, and “Leader Of The Pack” by the Shangri-las and “Chapel Of Love”, by the Dixie Cups. When their marriage ended , so did their collaboration with Phil Spector and Jeff started producing on his own. After a successful string of hits with the Monkees, “I’m A Believer”, “A Little Bit You, A Little Bit Me”, and the Archies, “Sugar, Sugar”, “Bang Shang -a-Lang”…his creativity took a new turn.
I didn’t see Jeff for a couple years, then while I was visiting my friend songwriter, Paul Williams (“We’ve Only Just Begun”, “Old Fashioned Love Song”) on the A&M Records lot. Jeff, who had just signed a co-publishing deal with Irving/ Almo Music, came in and played me a song he had written, “Walking In The Sun”
Walkin’ In The Sun
Words and music by Jeff Barry
Well, things have been goin’ wrong long enough to know when everything’s just right
I’ve been walking in the dark long enough to know when I’ve finally seen the light
I’ve been losing long enough to know when I finally have won
And even the blind man can tell when he’s walking in the sun.
Well, I’ve cried enough tears to recognize this feeling of a smile
I’ve been bottom rung long enough to know when I’m doing it in style
I’ve been running long enough to know when there’s no more need to run
(O Lord) Even the blind man can tell when he’s walking in the sun.
The wind is at my back and I’m sailing on a ship long overdue
I’ve blown so many chances, I ain’t gonna blow this one with you
And I’ve seen enough bad times to know when the good times have begun
O Lord – Even the blind man can tell when he’s walking in the sun
(Oh yeah) Even the blind man can tell when he’s walking in the sun.
Copyright 1973 Irving Music/Jeff Barry International, administered by BMI.
I sat there with my mouth dropped open, fighting back a tear. I always admired and respected Jeff for his ability to tap into the teen market and realistically express their emotions…but I realized his writing had reached a new level. Although I was working for Warner Brothers Music as general Professional Manager, and it was my job to plug my companies songs, I gave a demo of “Walking In The Sun” to my friend, Bob Monoco who recorded it the following week with Chaka Kahn and her group Rufus!
It was years later that I learned that the song was written for his father, who was blind and only this morning did I read the complete story behind the song, in Jeff’s own words on his official website.
The next time I placed one of Jeff’s songs, it was in a more of an “official” capacity. I was hired to run Irving/ Almo, and on my first day on the job, I gave Olivia Newton John, “I Honestly Love You”, that Jeff wrote with the late Peter Allan, which became the record of the year in 1974!
Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne
For Jeff Barry’s Official Website http://lpintop.tripod.com/jeffbarry/
Special thanks to Laura Pinto http://laurapinto.tripod.com/
September 29, 2006
Sept. 27, 2006, 3:37PM
Songwriter complains of impostor
By FRANK ELTMAN Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press
— The man who co-wrote the song “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” had the unsettling experience this week of reading his own obituary _ the result of an impostor who went through life claiming to be the author of the 1960s smash hit.
On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported on the death of a 68-year-old man named Paul Van Valkenburgh of Ormond Beach, Fla., who claimed to have written the song under the name Paul Vance. The story cited the man’s wife as the source for that claim.
But the music industry’s real Paul Vance, a 76-year-old man from Coral Springs, Fla., is alive and well, and says the other Paul Vance appears to have made the whole thing up!
September 28, 2006
Like most people who know “The Real” Paul Vance, I freaked out when I heard he died a few days ago. Today I was overjoyed when I found out he was still alive!
When I was released from Aldon music as a writer in 1962, the first office I walked into was owned by writer/producer Paul Vance. I had seen his name on records as the co-writer of “Catch a Falling Star”, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”, etc. and I hoped he would like my style of pop/country/r+b. He not only co-wrote with me but encouraged me to write with other writers that were coming around at the time, which included Cirino Colacrai (“Runaround”), Joey Powers (“Midnight Mary”), Al Byron (“Roses Are Red, My Love”), Ellie Greenwich (“Be My Baby”, “Da Doo Run Run”), Ben Raleigh (“Tell Laura I Love Her”, “Wonderful, Wonderful”) and Paul’s nephew Danny Jordan (who later became one of the Detergents who sang,”Leader Of The Laundermat”)
One day, singer Frankie Sardo, a friend of Danny’s came by looking for material. He had a minor hit with “Fakeout” but was best known for having been on the last Buddy Holly Tour. After a strong B.S. session, which included Frankie telling us that he gave up the last seat on the small plane to Buddy the night of the fatal crash, the three of us started writing a song, “Find a Little Happiness”. The next day, we finished the song and played it for Paul. He was so excited that he ran us down the hall to play it for Joe Kolsky who owned Diamond records. Joe flipped out as well and suggested that Danny and I record it as a duo with Paul as a producer.
Initially, this didn’t really sit well with Danny or myself since we both were aspiring to be single artists. I knew Joe was a dynamite record promoter since I had an earlier release on Diamond that I wrote with Paul, “Mommy and Daddy were Twistin’” by Susan Summers, but I was still aprehensive. Paul was pissed off that we didn’t jump at the chance to record for the man who was behind some of the biggest acts at Roulette records( Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers, Jimmy Rogers, Joey Dee and the Starliters) so we reconsidered.
In the year and a half that I wrote with Paul we had our songs recorded by the Fleetwoods, The Playmates, etc . He also got songs of mine that he published recorded by the Brian Poole and Tremoloes, Frankie Sardo, and the Angels. Although I wasn’t getting a salary, he did let me have a key to the office where I held many late night “auditions”. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in thirty years, but I want him to know how much I appreciate what he taught me about songwriting, the music buisness and life itself!