Brief Encounters With Bob Crewe!

June 2, 2007

small-bob.jpg edbob1.jpg

Long before, “Lady Marmalade”, “Devil With The Blue Dress On”, and “Cant Take My Eyes Off You”, Bob Crewe, was one of my favorite songwriter and producers. When I was starting out in the music business. “Silhouettes”, “Luck Ladybug”, “Walk Like A Man”, were the kind of songs I wanted to write and “Palisades Park” and “Tallahassee Lassie”, were the kind of records I wanted to produce.

I remember being introduced to Bob for the first time, by publicist/ manager Harriet Wasser in front of 1650 Broadway. We all talked for a few minutes, then he invited me down to Allegro studios, which was in the basement of the building. He was recording a few demos for the Four Seasons and as the afternoon progressed, Bob became more and more dissatisfied with the vocals.

Harriet suggested that he give me a try on vocals since she was familiar with the demos I was doing for publishers around town, that required using a lot of falsetto and singing all the background parts. Although he wasn’t a musician, he was a singer and was able to tell me exactly what he wanted, as well as instilling the confidence in me to execute it. He truly was able to bring out the best in everybody he worked with…like a great director!

He loved the results and a few days later, Bob asked Harriet if she would see if I’d be interested in “being” the Four Seasons for one record? It seems that Bob was having a dispute with the group, and owned the rights to the name and could put out whatever he wanted! Although I was flattered, and wanted a hit record…I wanted to be a solo Rock and Roll Star!

Over the next few years, I’d run into Bob at parties and industry functions, but it wasn’t until a few years later that I had a chance to sit down and talk to him at length. It was up at Motown records in Hollywood, where he had an exclusive production deal. He was up there to play a new mix on a record that Berry Gordy kept turning down, which he played for me,”My Eyes Adored You” by Frankie Valli. I sat there stunned by the incredible record I was listening to…then Bob started to pace back and forth, becoming more and more agitated, then he confessed that he was there to give Gordy an ultimatum!

( To Be Continued )

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

bob-right.jpg

l -r Bob Crewe, Bobby Darin and Ellie Greenwich

Photos at the top- Bob Crewe…Bob and singer/songwriter Eddie Rambeau

To reach Eddie Rambeau
http://www.edrambeau.com

Special thanks to Rosemarie Edwards
http://www.craftweb.org

 

Advertisements

8 Responses to “Brief Encounters With Bob Crewe!”

  1. Laura Says:

    Hi Artie,

    Great writeup as always. Love the photo of Bob Crewe and Eddie (Ed) Rambeau – always nice to see two good-looking guys in one picture!

    Laura

  2. mstoni man Says:

    well. done. that’s really fantastic! good job buddy…waiting for more..you just put what the people searching for..good luck!

  3. Barry Veverka-Brownlie Says:

    I beleive a correction is due in your blog regarding Bob Crewe. Bob Gaudio, of The 4 Seasons, is credited with sole writing credit for “Sherry” and co-wrote “Walk Like A Man” with Bob Crewe.

    Frank Slay certainly co-wrote “Silhouettes”. He also co-wrote “La Dee Dah”, “Lucky Ladybug”, songs which The 4 Seasons recorded.

  4. Andrew C. Jones Says:

    Curiously, Ms. “Lady Marmalade” herself, Patti LaBelle, just performed at a casino near my hometown. Couldn’t see the show, unfortunately, so I don’t know if she even did the song.

  5. david plenn Says:

    I always loved the scene of the son going to his father for advice and the father advising him to “Walk Like a Man..” In a voice higher than Brenda Lee’s!

  6. steveo Says:

    Artie,
    Great story….You should have sang on that Seasons single! ! !
    Most groups(back in the 60’s)didn’t record their own tracks, and sometimes didn’t even sing on them…
    Anyway, sounds like a fabulous time!
    Glad you had the experience of mixing and learning from Bob!

  7. Gary Knight Says:

    Nice to see stories about the 60s & 70s …. they bring back memories of those days of fun and laughter! I was on Bob Crewe’s writing staff with Eddie Rambeau and loved my WORK .. (was that really work?) in those days.
    One of Bob Crewe’s companies was called, “Genius Incorporated” .. wow I can testify .. that was really true! A self-taught musical genius .. who couldn’t write a note of music (nor read it) .. but had a 6th sense of what he heard in his super-talented-ear! As you might have heard .. he acted like a perfect baseball manager ..getting more out of his team than the team itself thought it had within itself! Bob could create a “string line” (a violin part) in a flash! He could invent a sound from the normal every day sounds we hear all the time .. except Bob would bring his “toys” to the studio and use them on his recordings! I cannot say enough about one of the finest ‘minds’ during that time in our music history! He would record a Four Seasons recording .. and others would copy the idea .. he set many of the standards of the day! Others would follow his path .. the only real competitors on the charts for the Four Seasons was the “Beach Boys” whose sound was totally apart from them. I, for one, would vote Bob Crewe “the greatest innovator of the 20th Century” with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Jonas Salk!!!!

  8. Ray Says:

    I agree, Gary. Crewe would add things like the famous foot stomping and hand clapping. Not that it was totally original, but it would add a new dimension to the Four Seasons early hits and make the tracks more catchy. Others would quickly follow suit (Supremes-Where Did Our Love Go).

    Charles Calello who was the arranger on those early tracks would say that Crewe added the element of “bizare” to his recordings. These are things that musicians wouldn’t think of doing but a
    savoy producer would.

    Ray


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: