January 4, 2007
Back in 1965, after I left April-Blackwood music I went into my own publishing buisness with David Kapralik, who was the former head of Columbia Records A&R department. Although I had signed Tony Romeo (who later went on to write “I Think I Love You” and all the Partridge family hits) and Bob Stone (who later went on to write, “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves”), and took the first song Joey Levine ( who later wrote,”Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, “Chewy, Chewy”, ever had published, we needed to find a band who could generate immediate income!
I went on an intense search of New York’s Greenwich Village to find girls…I mean acts and found a group that just blew me away! They called themselves The Lovin’ Spoonful and they were the ambassadors of good time music. In their first set at the Night Owl they played, “Do You Believe In Magic?”, “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice”, “Younger Girl”, and “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?” Four songs, written or co-written by a young John Sebastian, which later became their first four hit singles.
I had never heard such obvious hit songs as I did that night or saw more entertaining performers. You could tell by the crowds enthusiastic response that this group was going to be huge! The next night I brought down Dave Kapralik, to see the Spoonful and he became even more excited than I was!
We brought some execs from Columbia records down to see them the following night and watched a spectacular show, as the the crowd went crazy! After the show, the stone faced execs admitted that the group was good, “But they already had two long haired groups on the label, Paul Revere and the Raiders and the Byrds…and that was enough.” David and I just looked at each other in amazement!
A few years went by and I happily watched the Spoonful grew into one of the biggest groups in America. At this time I was in business with Kelli Ross and ran the publishing companies of Quincy Jones, Leslie Gore, Janis Ian, Levine and Resnick. Kelli’s father, Irving Green, the owner of Mercury and Smash Records, as well as a silent partner in our firm, was aware that I had a relationship with the Lovin Spoonful.
When the group was about to re-sign with Kama-Sutra, Mr.Green sent me to Wilkes-Barre to meet up with my old pals and offer them a check for a million dollars to defect to Mercury! When I mentioned to him that he hadn’t signed it, he said, “When they sign a contract…I’ll sign the check!”
Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne