HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010!

January 1, 2010

WISHING YOU LOVE, PEACE AND HAPPINESS IN 2010!

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JIM CROCE  1/10/43 – 9/20/73

One of my closest friends, Patti Dahlstrom, introduced me to one of her closest friends, Jim Croce and we hit it off immediately. We went to his concerts, TV shows and sometimes we just sat around talking or playing guitar. Although I was more of a publisher at the time, working for Warner Bros. Music…I knew I was in the presence of an extraordinary human being and could learn a great from him about songwriting and life.

The night his plane crashed … Patti and I had started a song that became a tribute to him “Sending my Good Thoughts to You”. Since his passing, whenever I’ve been stuck on a lyric, or need a little help with one of life’s little problems, Jim appears to me and gives me an answer…usually laced with his wry sense of humor!

to hear Patti Dahlstrom sing “Sending My Good Thoughts To You” from her 20th Century album “Your Place or Mine” just click onto http://artiewayne.com/sending.html

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
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FREDDIE PERREN  5/15/43 – 2/16/04

“When I started as professional manager and director of creative services at Warner Bros.Music in 1970 I was determined to make contact and get songs recorded by the”Corporation”…a mysterious group of producers at Motown records. They produced some of the best records of the era that included,”I Want You Back”and “The Love You Save Might be Your Own” for the Jackson 5..and for quite a while their identity was kept under wraps. Berry Gordy didn’t want to have another Holland/Dozier/Holland situation on his hands where the writer and producers became almost as well known as some of the artists they produced…demanding more money.

I knew Berry was part of the producing group [and partial to Jobete songs] so I concentrated on meeting the other partners.I staked out the Motown waiting room for weeks…finally I met Deke Richards,who was also the head of A+R, who was a nice guy, Fonse Mizels, was cautious,and Freddie Perren, who was in a class by himself.We hit it off right away. We both had a love of the standards and since I represented one of the greatest music catalogs of all time it was a match made in songplugger heaven.

The first song I brought Freddie was,”I Only Have Eyes for You”, which he cut with Jermaine Jackson. I also set up screenings for him of classic WB movies like,”42nd Street” and the Cole Porter Story and he wound up turning me onto songs that might have gone unnoticed.

Over the years we became friends and I’m proud to say he used to call me up from time to time and ask me to come over to the house to hear a new song or a new track and get my opinion.

After I left Warner Bros.to run A+Ms publishing we were out of touch for a while. I was struggling to get my own company off the ground…and just about ready to give up when I was driving through Westwood,Cal. and saw Dino Fakiris[ Freddies lyric writing partner ] hitching a ride.

 

He told me how discouraged he was, and ready to give up. He said Freddie had left Motown and created a new label, but was having trouble getting it started. I asked Dino what kind of songs they were doing? He recited the lyric to “Reunited” and “I Will Survive” which made me pull over to the side of the road and respond,” Are you Crazy!! Those are two of the best lyrics anyone has ever told me…and you want to give up?” He gave a little smile and as I dropped him off wished him the best of luck,” If the music is as good as the lyrics,you’ve not only got a couple of hits…you’ve got a couple of classics!”

As soon as I could, I went over to Freddie Perren”s studio to hear the finished records. It was the first time I asked a producer to play a record a few times for me…and I still couldn’t enough!. Freddie was a little surprised at my reaction and was very pleased.I always told him how much I admired him for wanting to make significant musical statements…not just hit records.

Every time I think about throwing in the towel I think about that incident.I think about the positive effect “Reunited” and “I Will Survive” had on me and millions of other people…to get up and push a little harder.

I wanted to end this post by working in the title”Heaven Must be Missing an Angel”…but that would trivialize his vast musical legacy.Of all the songs
that he composed ” Say Goodbye to Yesterday” [which he wrote with his wife Christine] remains one of my all time favorites, since it puts the past in perspective with an optimistic eye to the future.”

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
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BILLY PRESTON  9/9/06 – 6/6/06

“When Billy Preston became The Fifth Beatle, in the recording studio, he became the most well known side men in the in the history of Pop music. I believe that his musical contribution and spirituality kept the Beatles together as a musical force, a little bit longer than they might’ve been otherwise.

When I ran Irving/ Almo music in 1974, I was really looking forward to working with Billy, who was at the peak of his A+M singing career with “Will it Go ‘Round in Circles?” and “Nothing from Nothing Leaves Nothing”. He also was topping the charts as a songwriter with, “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe
Cocker. His manager, Bob Ellis, someone I’d known since moving to California, kept arranging meetings with us, and canceling them when Billy wasn’t feeling “well enough” to make them.

In my career, I represented enough substance-abusing singer/songwriters to know when to turn a blind eye, which meant don’t say anything as long as they kept turning out hits. From then on, Billy kept in touch with me through his co-writer, Bruce Fisher. I remember asking Bruce how the two wrote songs together. He said, “Billy would start the words and music for a song…
usually the first verse or chorus…then hand it to me to finish.”

I never talked to Billy or met him face to face, ’til a few years after I left the publishing company. He came over to my house, with a mutual friend, during a period when he was trying to clean up his act. Billy Preston, the man, turned out to be one of nicest people I’d ever met.”

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
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GENE PITNEY  2/17/41 – 4/5/06

“Whenever publisher/ producer Aaron Schroeder was looking for material for Gene Pitney, Ben Raleigh ( “Wonderful, Wonderful”, “Love is a Hurtin’ Thing” and I would get excited. Gene was one of the most influential songwriter/
artists of our generation and it was considered quite prestigious to even get on one of his albums. Although he only recorded one of our songs, “Peanuts, Popcorn and Crackerjacks”, it’s one of my most prized cover records.
Gene was truly an inspiration to me, his songs, (“Hello Marylou”, “Rubber Ball”), his artistry, (“Every Breath I Take”,”Only Love Can Break a Heart”) and his business acumen, (He owned part of his own record company).

I never realized how much Gene Pitney is still part of my consciousness, until last year. I sent Al Kooper, a new song I had just written which included the line, “like a rubber ball, I’ll bounce back everytime”. Then Al E-mailed back, “I think it’s bee-yoo-ta-full, BUT one couplet bothers me an editor. The rubber ball and the word bounce with it hearkens way back to Vee/ Pitney whereas everything else sounds pretty fresh…think about it.”

Well, I’ve thought about it…and I’ve decided to leave it, as an homage to “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence”.

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
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WARREN ZEVON 1/24/47 – 9/7/03

“In the early 70s, when I ran the professional dept. at Warner Brothers Music, part of my responsibility was to get cover records for David Geffen’s songwriter/artists. I just had a top ten record in the UK with Michael Jackson on Jackson Browne’s “Doctor my Eyes”…and Browne was excited for me to hear his freind Geffen just signed.

After a Troubador show, Jackson took me over to the old Tropicana hotel on Santa Monica B’lvd, and introduced me to Warren Zevon. For the rest of the night, with his Pignose amp blasting, Warren mesmerized me with song after great song!! Although I tried for a couple of years, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any of his songs covered….probably because they were so ahead of their time.

I always admired him because he never gave up. I was thrilled when Linda Rondstat recorded, “Poor Pitiful Me” and his career as an artist took off!! I was sad to hear of his passing….but I was glad that he was recognized within his lifetime for being the genius that he was!”

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
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LUTHER VANDROSS  4/20/51 – 7/1/05

I was also deeply affected by the passing yesterday of my friend Luther Vandross. Everyone thought he was recovering from a stroke so nicely…but it’s all in Gods hands.

“I became friendly with Luther when he was a loyal customer at Allan Rinde’s Genghis Cohen, a Chinese restaurant and Hollywood hangout, which I named and hosted. Luther would come in, sit and eat a couple of Peking ducks for dinner (by himself) and order one of my hand painted shirts for dessert. Sometimes he’d bring in old music business pals of Allan and mine and we’d all have a good old time!

I was impressed with Luther’s artistry from his first album, which my friend, Jerome Gasper, who signed Luther to Epic played me. He wrote most of the
material he recorded and hit the heart everytime out. I told him, with every new album release how much I admired him maintaining an evolving level of musical excellence, while the R and B genre all around us was all but disappearing.

Just as Luther Vandross’ music has transcended generations…I’m sure it will continue to emotionally influence us for years to come.”

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
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MICKIE MOST  6/20/38

Being an “anglophile” and a British Film aficionado, I was able to understand the thickest English of English accents, so when I first met The Animals in N.Y. 1964 we had no trouble communicating and I even occasionally became an interpreter for them with some of the American press, who had trouble understanding their thick Geordie accents. Before the English Invasion, blues had never been a big part of my life, but hanging with the Animals, who were taking their version of the blues to the top of the charts, changed that. Chas Chandler [bass player for the Animals] and I became pretty good friends and he turned me on to a lot of great blues records I’d never heard, and I went with he and his pals to clubs in Greenwich Village and Harlem that featured the blues. When I went to London for the first time, Chas reciprocated and took me on a tour of the local music scene. We jammed with Howlin’ Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson at Mike Jeffrey’s (the Animals manager) house. He also introduced me to Giorgio Gomelsky, who discovered the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. Giorgio in turn continued my education by taking me to see an act he was working with, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, featuring a teenage Eric Clapton. We have a lot of English artists to thank for putting the spotlight on a genre of music that might have remained “undernoticed.”


In 1964, also on my first trip to London, Chas Chandler introduced me to his producer, Mickey Most ( Hermans Hermits, Lulu, Nashville Teens), who invited me to the background vocal overdubbing session for “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”. As a songwriter/producer, I was really excited to see one of the worlds top producers up close. Although he was a meticulous creator and knew how to bring the best out of his artists, I believe his greatest talent was his ability to pick hit songs.

Over the years ,as we became friends, he made me acutely aware of the importance of the song and helped hone my skills both as writer and publisher. Mickey always made sure that I was contacted every time he came to New York looking for material, which was flattering, considering that he never recorded any of my songs. Seeing him meant listening to his new product, which never failed to elicit hours of raves from me.

I remember when he came by my office at Scepter records and played “Sunshine Superman” and “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan before he delivered the masters to Epic…you can imagine how blown away I was!
The last time I saw him was in 1980, when I was producing a single on myself as an artist for Chrysalis Music [UK] and had gone horribly over budget. He listened to my tracks and gave me $10,000 in free studio time to finish it up. I couldn’t thank him enough, but my “chemically fueled” out of control ego wouldn’t allow me to complete the project…that’s when I came back to the U.S. broke and brokenhearted…and left the music business.

I’m glad to say I’ve learned from my mistakes. If I have any other regrets, it’s that I didn’t keep up a lot of relationships I made through the years. You don’t meet someone like Mickey Most very often but when you do….you should cherish them.”

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
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JIMI HENDRIX 11/27/42 – 9/18/70

“Once I let my Friend, Ann Tansey, Mercury records A+R director, stay in my New york apartment while I was on the west coast. I didn’t know she had invited her sometime boyfriend, Jimi Hendrix, to stay with her. When I arrived home, I found a nasty note from my neighbor, about my loud guitar playing. The note also said something about people going in and out of my apartment, by way of the fire escape.To this day I don’t know what really happened, but I do admit I was flattered, that he thought it was me playing the guitar!”

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
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LOU RAWLS 12/1/33 – 1/6/06

I was aware of the impact that Lou Rawls had on his own generation, Frank Sinatra in particular, I never felt a personal connection with his music until, “Love is a Hurtin’ Thing” [Raleigh/Lindley]. To understand why this was a pivotal point, not only in his career, but to the evolution of pop music in general, we have to examine the times during which the music was created.

It came in the middle of the Civil Rights movement, when “Negroes” were “allowed” to voice a political opinion in music…a time when complacency, turned into, “Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud!. Lou Rawls, obviously wanted to express himself too, but was restrained by his label, Capitol records, who still referred their R and B recordings as “race records”.

Capitol A+ R men made it clear to me, as a songwriter/publisher they were only looking for material that was entertaining, not a song that made a political statement of any kind.

Lou, obviously, jumped at a chance to combine his streetwise eloquence with a song Ben Raleigh and David Linden brought to him, “Love is a Hurtin’ Thing”. Lou’s talking at the beginning of the record was as revolutionary, from a personal and emotional standpoint,
as any music connected with the Civil Rights movement. He even got R and B radio play…a rarity for Capitol records during this time.

For the next few years, he was the only one making records like these that were successful. Then a couple of artists came along a few years later, and added longer talking
segments, liberally sprinkled with sexual references…and a “New” genre was born, with it’s new stars, Isaac Hayes and Barry White.

It was when he signed with Philadelphia International, that he actually sold the most albums, I believe. Gamble and Huff were looking for artists who could be successfully
marketed by their distribution company, Columbia records, and Lou fit the Bill perfectly. He not only was one of the best interpreters of Gamble and Huff’s songs, he had a history of being able to sell albums.

It was around this time that I met Lou. Margo Matthews, who was Ed Silvers secretary at Warner Brothers music, had been his personal assistant for years…and he dropped by to see her one day. As I walked by her office, she called me in, and introduced us. I sat talking with him for a few minutes…and felt like I was reconnecting with an old friend. I
left a few minutes later, to let them talk, but I felt special all day long…not to mention every time I heard one of his recordings from that day on.”

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
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