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/
Elisha Cuthbert blows a bubble!
In the the middle to the end of the 1960s, a new kind of Pop music emerged in America called Bubblegum Music and I was fortunate to be smack dab and sticky in the middle of it all! My partner Kelli Ross and I were representing the publishing catalogs of some of the hottest artists and producers in the Music buisness, that included Quincy Jones, Leslie Gore, Bobby Scott, and Janis Ian when we picked up a new catalog, Peanut Butter Music.
The catalog was owned by Joey Levine, a newcomer, whose first song I published in 1965 and my old friend , Artie Resnick ( “Under The Boardwalk”, “Good Lovin’”.) It mostly consisted of material that Joey, Artie and Kris (Arties wife wrote) and Joey and Artie produced. Their first million seller was “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, a demo sung by Joey by the Ohio Express in 1968. This was the idea of Jeff Kaznetz and Jerry Katz who executive produced the dates to have Joey start singing lead on most of their records. They loved Joey’s commercial, young sounding voice with a Rock and Roll edge and those great tracks he and Artie produced, so they released single after single using different names of actual groups they had under contract. When a record became a hit the real group went on the road to promote it. Neil Bogart, head of Buddah records, encouraged the concept and put out a string of hit singles “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, “Chewy, Chewy” by the Ohio Express, “Shake ” by the Shadows of Kniight”, “Gimme, Gimme Good Lovin”, By Crazy Elephant”, Run , Joey Run” by the Kaznetz-Katz singing orhestral circus, and dozens of other singles for Buddah.
The records were geared for the “Tweenies”, the nine to 15 year olds and suffered a fatal backlash from radio in 1969…bursting the bubble of the Bubblegum market! Joey, Artie and Kris ( Artie’s wife who co-wrote many of the songs ) started to write more adult themes and formed the group “The Third Rail”. When the group disbanded, the Resnicks continued to write songs while Levine wrote, sang and produced jingles for commercials that include several top Coca- Cola campaigns.
When my Spectropop pal, Jean-Emmanuel Dubois, asked me for an interview for his forthcoming book on Bubble Gum Music in France, some of the information went beyond the genre so I decided to include some of it here.
JE- When did you meet Joey Levine?
AW-In 1964 when I went into business with Dave Kapralik ( Sly and the Family Stone, Van McCoy, Peaches and Herb) Joey Levine stopped me and introduced himself, as I was walking through the Brill building. He asked if he could play a song for me, he did and I signed it on the spot. Although I hardly remember the incident, Joey said that act was a big consideration when he and Artie Resnick were looking for someone to administer their publishing companies.
JE- How did you discover Tony Romeo ( The Partridge Family) ?
AW- Tony came in off the street and played me 6 or 7 songs and we signed him to an exclusive songwriting contract. Tony was more into the Beach Boy kind of music, at the time, and the two of us did a single for Columbia called, “Californie” (Romeo) under the name Tomorrow’s People. He was incredible at stacking background vocals and we were disappointed that it wasn’t a hit.
It was a couple of years before Tony hooked up with Wes Farrell and wrote,” I Think I Love You” (Romeo), and all those other hits for the Partridge Family.
JE- You seem to have a strong connection with French recording artists.
AW- Yes, my first hit in France was, “Excuse Me Lady” (Wayne) by Joe Dassin. The song had gotten to #3 in the UK by the Magic Lanterns…Joe covered it and took it to top ten in France. American by birth, I remember hanging out with Joe a few times in New York, when I was known as Shadow Mann. He, his entourage, Sissy Spacek ( who I had renamed “Rainbo” for recording purposes) and I, made the rounds of all the clubs and hot spots…and had an incredible time!
JE- Did you know Sylvie and Johnny Hallyday?
AW-I met Sylvie Vartan once backstage at one of her incredible shows, after she recorded one of songs, “Ma Decadance” (Leikon/ Munson/ Wayne)…I met Johnny Hallyday a few days later in the middle of a media blitz. The Headlines shouted, “Sylvie Divorces Johnny” and all during our lunch, he was understandably preoccupied!
JE- As a publisher you had quite a few American hits…with French songs?
AW- Oui’, in 1968, my partner Kelli Ross and I found “J’Taime” by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, at MIDEM the international music conference held every year in Cannes, France. Eight years, later my partner, Lou Reizner and I were sitting in a little café in Cannes, when we heard the pianist playing a catchy little tune. The pianist was Claude Morgan, and he was the composer of the song, “El Bimbo” which was becoming a number one hit by Bimbo Jet all over the world! Lou and I looked at each other and lit up like light bulbs knowing the song could be a smash in the US as well!
It was midnight, but before the sun came up Lou and I had a meeting with the French Producer and the original publisher. We secured the American sub-publishing rights, before MIDEM opened it’s doors the next morning, even before our competitors started their continental breakfast!
Jean…I remember when I was at Warner Brothers music, I heard, “Amorouse” by Veronique Sanson and asked Patti Dahlstrom to write an English lyric. She recorded it herself as “ Emotion” (Dahlstrom/ Sanson) on her 20th Century Fox album, it was covered and became a hit by Helen Reddy. That song is as timely today, as it was when it was written…and should be a hit again!
For Part II of the interview http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/11/12/it-was-women-and-children-firstthe-day-the-bubblegum-bubble-burst/
Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne
To Hear Patti Dahlstrom sing “Emotion” click onto http://artiewayne.com/emotion.html
To find out about Spectropop http://spectropop.com