Some May Call It A “Night At The Opera”… I Call It Day In The Music Buisness

September 6, 2006

brian_gretsch.jpg
Brian Jones
In 1969, Horizon was a group that was signed to Schwaid/Merenstein productions. My pal, Lou Merenstein asked me if I like to produce the group, which I thought was as good as the Association. I didn’t like any of the songs they had. I told him that I’d keep the group in mind, if I had any ideas. A few weeks later, after hearing that Brian Jones, who I had hung out with on my first trip to the U.K. had drowned in his swimming pool, I put together a medley of Rolling Stone songs and told Lou that I had an idea for a concept record called “Tribute” that started with a chorus of monks slowly singing “Paint it Black” in Latin…while a Cello was playing the guitar riff from “Satisfaction” (which Brian Jones created)…which evolved into an uptempo “Ruby Tuesday”…with a mixed chorale and most of the N.Y. Philharmonic Orchestra!!

He loved the idea and gave me carte blanche in the studio, if I could finish it up fast and get it on the market!!!. I taught Horizon the parts that afternoon, that night I dictated the parts for the orchestra to an arranger and we were in the studio the next day…doing final mixes that night.

The next morning I took the master to Lou Merenstein’s office and played it for him. He started screaming, “I don’t believe it…I don’t believe it!!! It’s a masterpiece!!” With tears in his eyes he handed me the award he received from Rolling Stone for having produced the album of the year, Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” and said, “You deserve this !!!” (this was the exact moment I became a legend in my own mind.)

Lou called Neil Bogart, head of Buddah records , who was rushing off to the airport. Lou played Neil the record over the phone, and when it was over Lou kept saying, “Hello….Hello…..”, to no one at the end of the line. We just shrugged our shoulders and kept playing “Tribute” over and over. 10 minutes later Buddah’s lawyer was in Lou’s office with a contract and a $10,000 check for the master!!! Neil couldn’t finish the conversation without missing his plane, but he had to have the record !!!

When they rush released it the following week, we were all positive that the record would go to number one! I was even bold enough to echo a statement of my hero, Phil Spector, “If this record isn’t a hit..I’ll NEVER produce again!!!” OK, it wasn’t a hit..it didn’t even make the charts…but I did have the decency to wait a few months before I produced again.

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One Response to “Some May Call It A “Night At The Opera”… I Call It Day In The Music Buisness”

  1. fred dellar Says:

    Three things really.
    1. The blog is really entertaining.
    2. Can I have a MP3 copy of Tribute?
    3. I’m doing a piece on Neil Bogart. Would you like to add a quote on Neil’s contribution to the record industry? How did people really feel about him and Casablanca?
    Regards
    Fred


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