January 1, 2010

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 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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