November 12, 2006
Kristen Bell blows a bubble!
My interview with Spectropopper, Jean Emmanuel Dubois, for his forthcoming book “Le Bubblegum”, the history of American and French Bubblegum music, published by le cahiers du rock, continues…
JE- There were a lot of sexual overtones in the music? “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, “Chewy, Chewy”
AW- Sexual overtones! Sexual Undertones! Shit! There was all kinds of sex…all kinds of tones! (laughs) Those guys tried to get away with as much as they could…under the guise of innocent teen pop music! I remember one day a staff writer came into the office with a song, ” 1, 2, 3 Lickety Split”…and was sent home because the title wasn’t suggestive enough!
JE- Weren’t Joey Levine and Artie Resnick the first to have “backwards” versions of their a-sides as the b-sides of their records?
AW- It made sense, kids who were buying Bubblegum records weren’t buying them for the artist…but for hit A-side! There were no production costs for the B-side, and since all of the royalties were divided in the same way as the A-side, it was a win…win situation!
JE- Besides Levine/Resnick you represented Bo Gentry? ( “I Think We’re Alone Now” )
AW- Joey started writing with Bo and started coming up with some excellent stuff! They wrote a song, “Make Believe” and put it out under the name, Wind. This time Joey wasn’t the anonymous singer on the track, it was Tony Orlando. Ironically, Tony was also having hits at the same time as the anonomous voice of Dawn, (“Candida”, “Knock Three Times”)
The record was a modest hit in the US, but the B-side…a “real” B-side “Groovin’ with Mister Blo”, was top ten all over Europe!
JE-How were you involved with Tommy James and Shondels?
AW- I recorded an album under the name Shadow Mann, for the legendary Morris Levy, and he sometimes put my label mates and me out on promotion together. I remember once we all did the Upbeat TV show in Cleavland, Neil Diamond was there, Jimmy Ruffin, Kenny Rodgers and The First Edition. Tommy sang his number one hit, “Crimson and Clover”and I performed,” Come Live With Me ” the title track of my album. I also introduced my protoge, Sissy Spacek, who I renamed “Rainbo”. She was promoting her single, “John, You Went Too Far This Time”, which was a Bubblegummers reaction to the naked John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Two Virgins” album cover.
JE- It was around this time you started writing songs with Gary Zekely and Mitch Bottler, who wrote, “Sooner or Later”, “Wait A Million Years”, “Superman”, and other “Sunshine Pop Songs”?
AW- I fell in love with a beautiful, Playboy Playmate on my last trip to California…and couldn’t wait to get back to the West Coast! The night before I was scheduled to write with Gary And Mitch…I broke up with her! I was crushed and devestated, but when I heard the chorus that Mitch started banging out on the old stand up piano I started singing some of the happiest, most positive lyrics I ever wrote in my life!
I used to look at life through a shade of grey
‘Til I found some satisfaction in the things you’d say
You took me in your hands like a piece of clay
Made me a man now I gotta’ say
Copyright 1969/ 2006- EMI music/ Artie Wayne music
JE- What about the beautiful Playmate?
AW- Never saw her again…anyway, Gary Zekely had a top ten hit as producer for the Clique with “Sugar On Sunday” ( written by Tommy James), and recorded “Hallelujah” for the album. It was covered about a year later by Sweathog, and went to the top 30 in the US!
JE-You also produced, Sal Tramalchi who wrote the smash,”1, 2, 3 Redlight”, for the 1910 Fruit Gum Company.
AW-Sal Tramalchi was a very complex person. He could go from writing bubblegum songs to psychedelic anthems in the time it takes a cube of sugar to dissolve in a cup of coffee! He wrote a great song, “Woodstock”, which Howard Bogess and I produced for Vanguard. Sal was magic when he played guitar and sang, so I got the “Brilliant” idea to cut him live with my studio band. Unfortunately, Sal arrived in the sudio, “inspired” but unable to perform.
After we redid the tracks and overdubbed the N.Y. Philharmonic string section, Sal came in and did an excellent vocal in one or two takes. The record came out and quietly sank into the sunset, as I packed up the last of my belongings and moved to Hollywood.
JE- What would you consider your greatest acheivement in bubblegum music?
AW- In 1973, I was at the Tokyo music festival for Warner Brothers music and picked up a song from a white South African writer, who the music people were avoiding because of his country’s stand on apartheid!
JE- You’re an African- American, why didn’t you ignore him also?
Aw-After talking to him, I felt he had the heart and soul of an artist that transcended the archaic practice of his country. It only took a few minutes to listen to the song that nobody wanted to hear…but I knew right away it was a hit!
Terry Dempsey gave me the sub-publishing rights for no advance, if I could get his song, “Daydreamer”, covered by a major US artist. Within days of my returning to Hollywood, Stephen Craig Aristei, one of my “Warner Raiders” gave it to David Cassidy. He was fresh from the Partridge Family, and it became his biggest solo hit, selling 5 million records!
JE- I never realized how involved you were with Le Bubblegum!
AW- Now that you mention it…neither did I!
Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne
If you missed the first half of the interview…and Elisha Cuthbert blows! click on http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/10/29/play-me-something-bubblegummy-chewy-chewy-yummy-yummy-yummy/
EXTRA! Lindsay Lohan And Paris Hilton On Top Of Britney Spears. PHOTOS! http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/12/04/exclusive-photos-lindsay-lohan-and-paris-hilton-on-top-of-britney-spears/
To see the naked John Lennon and Yoko Ono Naked album cover and hear Sissy Spacek (“Rainbo”) sing, “John, You Went Too Far This Time” Just click onto http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/18/the-naked-truth-about-john-lennon-and-yoko-ono-and-an-outraged-sissy-spacek/
L to R- Shadow Mann, Ron Haffkine, Kelli Ross, and Morris Levy Photo by Stephen Paley
“In 1968, I wrote a song, “Come And Live With Me,” and Ron Haffkine (who several years later produced a string of hits with Dr. Hook) helps me make a demo. Then my publishing partner Kelli Ross arranges for us to play it to the legendary owner of Roulette records, Morris Levy …who’s riding a wave of Tommy James hits (“Crimson & Clover,” “I Think We’re Alone Now”.)
Although I had met him before as Artie Wayne, I introduce myself to Morris under my new persona… Shadow Mann.
Ronnie puts the music on….turns the volume up…and I leap onto Morris’ desk!! in my black, floppy ‘Shadow Hat’ … custom made black suede jacket with a giant red eagle on the back… I lip-synch my little heart out!!
“Come and live with me…I’ll treat you nice…na na na na na na na”
Morris can hardly contain himself…he makes me perform it over and over for different members of his staff. Then he clears his office…leaving only the three of us. Morris slowly lights a cigar…and tries not to appear excited.
Then he says, “OK Shadow…I want to to do an album…I’ll even give you and Kelli your own label!! How much do you need to get started?” Haffkine chimes in “$25,000″…at which point Morris reaches under his desk…pulls out a brown paper bag and hands me $25,000 in cash!!
I look at Morris wide-eyed and say, “Don’t you want me to sign anything?”, he laughs and says, “Don’t worry, I know where you live!”
3 months later “Come And Live With Me” is released. I go on a promotion tour with one of my discoveries, Sissy Spacek. She’s promoting a song I found and Haffkine produced, “John You’ve Gone Too Far This Time,” a commentary on the Lennon/Ono nude album cover.
I change Sissy’s name to Rainbo, which I think is more commercial, and we travel the country promoting our records, until radio finds them too controversial, as “Shadow” and “Rainbo.” I go back to writing songs and producing, while Rainbo changes her name back to Sissy Spacek and decides to try her hand at acting.”
From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song” Copyright 2010 by Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/
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