I’m one of those people who get angry when the newspapers print a rumor masquerading as as a fact on page one and a few days later print a retraction on page 45. In my last blog I mentioned that Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones created the famous guitar riff from “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”. Musician, Artist, producer, and musicologist Al Kooper, who I’ve known since the sixties contacted me about my claim. He said that,”The guitar riff is famously associiated with Keith Richards, who has told the story in many interviews” Al also said that he e-mailed Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones former producer/ manager, who confirmed that it was, “A Richards Riff not a Jones Jangle!”

This set me to thinking where did I get my information? We all know that, “It must be true if you saw it on the internet’…but this was long before Al Gore invented it! After a little meditation and some memory retreival I narrowed it down to two possible sources. The first, was a serialized version of a former Rolling Stone, disgruntled drug dealer’s “tell all book”, that ran in the National Enquirer (that I read at the checkout counter.) The second was the confession of one of Brian Jones’ ex-girlfriends, revealed during an intimate moment ( I won’t even try to go there)

Anyway, I try not to let the facts get in the way, so I e-mailed Al back that I was standing by my claim that Brian created that famous riff. Al e-mailed back, ” I just like to see the truth printed in the day of so much untruth.”, which really hit me hard, Al continued,”The guy who produced the record and was in the studio, who was in the store when Keith bought the fuzz-tone at the suggestion of Jack Nitzsche, says it was totally Keith, and he’s a huge Brian fan !!!! He discovered the band, produced them and managed them. Is there a better authority?”
How can I argue with that…Another Urban Myth Bytes The Dust!
Thanks Al…Andrew.

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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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The Isley Brothers

I was preparing to write an article about music in commercials, and the durability of two 40 year old songs, “Shout” and “It’s Your Thing”, both written by the Isley Brothers. I clicked onto an ominous news headline and was saddened to read about the problems the last surviving brother, Ronald Isley is facing. The ailing 65 year old has just been sentenced to three years in Federal prison for income tax evasion!

I took a break…and thought about a simpler time

I met Ronald, Rudolf and O’Kelly Isley at an Alan Freed Rock and Roll show in 1959, when they signed my high school yearbook. The next time I saw them was in London 1964, when we all were staying at the infamous Madison Hotel, right off of Hyde Park.They were in town to do “Ready, Steady, Go”…and I was there as a Songwriter/Publisher, playing my songs to whomever would listen. I would chat with them at the complimentary breakfast, along with other hotel guests at the time, that included Wayne Fontana, the Mindbenders and the Pretty Things.

Peggy, the hotel manager, had a very strict policy. If you didn’t pay the daily rate for your room by 6:00 every night, all of your belongings would be packed up and moved out. Although I was only paying a pound a night [$2.80 US] for a tiny room in the attic…I foolishly showed up late one night after the 6:00 deadline.

I had just spent the afternoon on cloud nine in the studio with my friends, Mickey Most and the Animals, as they put background vocals on “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”. I quickly came down to earth when I saw my luggage and guitar waiting for me in the lobby!
Peggy demanded her pound for the night…plus payment in advance for four more nights! I searched through my pockets, but all I found was a half-crown and a blank personal check, that Peggy wouldn’t accept. My heart sank, as her manservant, who I’ll call “Igor”, started to drag my belongings down the stairs into the street. That’s when Ronald Isley, who I barely knew, came over and handed Peggy a 5 pound note. I stood there with my mouth hanging open, trying to say thank you. As he ran off to meet his limo, he smiled and said, “Don’t worry about it…you can pay me back the next time I see you.”

The next time I saw him was 30 years later, when he came in for dinner at Allan Rinde’s legendary Chinese restaurant in Hollywood, Gengis Cohen (which I named and hosted). As I took him to his table, I reintroduced myself and he laughed as I reminded him what happened all those years ago.

He was surprised, and maybe a little touched, when I sent the waiter over with a belated thank you note, a $20 bill, and a bottle of the best wine in the house!

I thought I saw a tear in his eye…but maybe it was just a little Jeri-Curl juice.

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

RAIDERS

top l-r Ed Silvers, Tony Byrne, Mel Bly… bottom l-r Artie Wayne and Stephen – Craig Aristei

Back in 1972, I moved to Hollywood, became General Professional Manager and Director of Creative Services at Warner Brothers Music. I headed up a group of seven relentless songpluggers, I named “The Warner Raiders”, who would go to any lengths to get one of our companies songs recorded.

There was a kid in the mailroom that had the same fire in his eye as David Geffen had, when he was in a similar position at the William Morris agency. Stephen Craig Aristei would work hard, ask questions of everybody and stay late in the office listening to songs in the vast catalog. Ed Silvers, president of the company, and I welcomed him to our staff meetings where he would make astute casting suggestions and be treated like one of the “Warner Raiders”.

We all knew that he had the potential, but I didn’t have the budget, to hire another “Raider”. One day, Ed called me into his office and told me that we had to get cover records from the show that was just revived on Broadway, “No, No Nanette”. I looked at him like he was crazy … and asked if that meant I should try to get Michael Jackson to cut “Tea For Two”? He glare and said, “You’re the Director of Creative Services … be creative!”
Craig and I listened to the score over and over, and we decided that I should update the song “I Want To Be Happy” and submit it to Motown. I gave my piano voice demo to the late Hal Davis at Motown, who cut the track for Michael Jackson.

A week later, when I went to Mowest studios, found him putting an unknown Lionel Ritchie on the track!! Hal, an imposing bear of a man, saw that I was freaking out over the “switch”, grabbed me and threw me across the recording console, warned me that if I got anyone else to record the song, I would have to answer to him!!

I quietly got up, brushed myself off and went back and locked myself in my office. That night, Craig and I sent out dozens of copies of “I Want To Be Happy” to everyone I could possibly think of!! Nobody Fucks with the Warner Raiders!!

NANA

A few days later, I hired a dancer, the actress Teri Garr, to join Tony, Craig (who would carry a boombox, playing “Tea For Two” and “Happy”), a limo and a camera-bearing limo driver, who would capture us promoting “No, No Nanette” in the offices of Mo Ostin, Joe Smith, Jerry Moss, Artie Vallando, Mike Curb and Jimmy Bowen. 

On the morning of the promotion, Teri Garr, the dancer, is a no-show, at which point Stephen Craig Aristei jumps in and says, “I can dance!!”. I got down from the window ledge and said, “If you dance today …you’ll be a “Warner Raider” tomorrow!!

Well, Craig became a “Warner Raider”…and “I Want To Be Happy” was cut by Sammy Davis, Jr. and wound up on the b-side of his million selling, “Candy Man”! Over the years Craig has become one of “Unsung Heroes” of our business, and one of the best song men I’ve ever known! 

CRAIG

Copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne

To reach  Stephen -Craig  Aristei https://www.facebook.com/stephencraig.aristei?fref=ts#

ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/celebrating-two-million-views-today-on-artie-wayne-on-the-web/

Last week I got an e-mail from my longtime friend and sometime collaborator, Steve Cropper (“Sittin’ on the Dock Of The Bay”, “In The Midnight Hour”) who liked the lyric on a song I posted on July 18, 2006, “You Can’t Push A Bullet Back Into A Gun”. He told me the music could be better. I told him I realized that I wrote the music in the key of “suck” and asked if he’d collaborate with me on it…and he said Yes!

Steve Cropper, btw produced the first recording of my most covered song, “From the Inside” with Yvonne Eliiman. I wrote the song for my late grandmother…who continues to be a big inspiration in my life. My friend, Art Munson produced a new demo with a great singer, Janel Sadler. Just click onto http://artiewayne.com/inside.html

You can reach Art Munson at http://artmunson.com