October 9, 2008

If you’re a singer older than Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers, you’re considered “demographically challenged”, but if you take a look at the videos of the artists who are making it to the top of the charts these days…that might be about to change!

Back in 1966, I briefly represented Neil Diamond, when I was a songplugger for April-Blackwood music. Neil was not only prolific, but all of his lyrics were consistently deep and his music, always commercial. I looked forward to him coming in to sing and play live, and familiarize me with the songs he had in the catalog. You can imagine how I felt when I returned to my office, after I had open heart surgery, and found a memo on my desk saying, Neil Diamond’s current contract is about to expire and the company will have to pay him an additional $50 a week, if they want to keep him. The memo goes on to say that this is something they refuse to do, since Neil is still a few grand in the red on his old contract!

That’s when I see RED! I storm, or more accurately limp into the executive offices. Although I’m grateful that CBS paid for my operation, I start to feel I’m making a mistake by working here, when I have to fight to get a pittance for Neil Diamond, songwriter who I think is worth millions! When my pleas fall on deaf ears, and that’s when I coin the phrase, “This Sucks!” and leave CBS forever!

In the meantime, Neil hasn’t done badly for himself, he’s sold over 100,000,000 LPs and CDs and earlier this year had the #1 CD with “Home Before Dark”. Here’s one of the best songs from that collection. “If I Don’t See You Again”

James Taylor just released an album called, “Covers”, which includes “Not Fade Away”, “Hound Dog”, and “Wichita Lineman. Usually, when a writer of his caliber does an album of other people’s songs, it means he’s run out of his own. In Taylor’s case some of his best recordings have been covers like “How Sweet It Is”, “Mockingbird” and “You’ve Got A Friend” Here’s a seven minute clip on the making of “Covers”

BRAND NEW! As relevant as the recent releases by the aforementioned artists Alan O’Day (“Undercover Angel”, “Rock And Roll Heaven”) has written, sung, and produced the finest album of his career. I worked with him at Warner Brothers Music, when The Warner Raiders and I got hundreds, yes hundreds of covers on his highly commercial songs. Although I knew he was immensely talented, I never expected him to develop into the writer and artist he is today. Here is the title track and first hit from Alan O’Day’s new CD, “I Hear Voices” “I could write pages about what I heard, but a song is worth a thousand words!”

Here’s Alan O’Day and “I Hear Voices” If this video is disabled please click

Congratulations Madonna on hitting the big 50! Your latest album, “Hard Candy”, is as hip and hot as your first. Here’s my favorite cut with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. “Four Minutes To Save The World”

BEHIND THE SCENES! The last time I talked to Brian Wilson, was when I was running Irving/Almo Music, in the mid-seventies, and he gave me permission to change some of the lyrics of “Good Vibrations” to fit the Troggs. “I love the clothes you almost wear and the way the sunlight plays upon your hair”. Brian always had a good sense of humor, which shows in this clip in a cab outside the Abby Road Studios, where he cut his latest album. Here is the iBlack Cab session and “Lucky Old Sun”

I never was a big fan of Randy Newman, although I helped get a few covers on “Sail Away” (Ray Charles, Bobby Darin). My friend publicist, Bobbi Cowan, turned me on to Randy’s latest album, along with her rave review!

“As with most of Randy Newman’s albums, you can’t pick out a couple of cuts, and say they are the best…The title cut “Harps & Angels” is wonderful…  Next he’s got a real heartbreaker, a ballad called “Losing You.” There’s more, but this is why we need to listen to albums, not just to cuts and downloaded singles…nobody does it like Randy Newman. Here’s “Losing You”…and the story behind the song.

Here are The Eagles who are even better than they were when I represented their publishing in the early ‘70s. They had a #1 CD and a smash world-wide tour. Here’s my favorite “How Long”

The unlikely pairing of “Snoop Dog” and Willie Nelson gives us “Buy My Medicine”

I became friendly with Jackson Browne, just before his first album came out. I was so impressed with his writing, that I got Michael Jackson to cover “Doctor My Eyes”, which went Top 10 in the UK. What always amazed me about Jackson is he would change lyrics constantly, from the time he’d write a new song to the time he’d demo it, record and finally perform it. I don’t know if he does that these days, but he still knows how to touch out the rebel spirit in me! From new CD, “The Drums Of War”, Jackson Browne.

Here’s George Strait and “Troubadour”, from the #1 album of the same name.

HOORAY! It’s been 16 years since the New Kids on the Block, broke up. Now they’re back with a vengeance! They ruled the summer with “Summertime”, now they’re going back to the top with “Single”, from their new CD “The Block” featuring Ne-Yo

The unlikely pairing of “Snoop Dog” and Willie Nelson gives us “Buy My Medicine”

It won’t be long before we see a whole bunch more of hits coming from so-called “demographically challenged artists”. Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Dwight Twilley, Prince, Ron Dante, Tommy James, Bruce Springsteen, Al Kooper, are all waiting in the wings, and even Tom Jones is putting out a new CD after a 16 year absence!

Whether you or a friend is in “Comeback Mode” or a “demographically challenged” newcomer, “defying the odds”, just send us a video from your CD (which has been released in the past six months) and a bio. Everything will be watched, many will be considered, but only a few will make it to Artie Wayne on the Web Demographically Challenged Singers Part 2 coming in May!

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne



  1. Of James Taylor’s new album:
    “Usually when a writer of [Taylor’s] caliber does an album of other people’s songs, it means he’s run out of his own.”

    Why stigmatize a performing songwriter like Taylor for acknowledging that he doesn’t live in a vacuum, that there are other people writing songs whose work he might enjoy or utilize?

  2. Bob Hanes Says:

    wow! thanks artie. The “snoop dog”/willie nelson thing proves once again that the old joke is still valid.

    question: “Why di the chicken cross the road?”
    answer: “to sing a duet with Willie Nelson.”

  3. Rolling with an entourage of six large gentlemen last night at The Ivy, it’s easy to see how some people would consider Aretha Franklin a diva — and by

  4. Gavin Browns Says:

    I start to feel I’m making a mistake by working here, when I have to fight to get a pittance for Neil Diamon

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