January 6, 2010

“When I started writing songs with lyricist Ben Raleigh (“Wonderful, Wonderful”, “Tell Laura I Love Her”) he introduced me to all of the top music publishers in the business, Goldie Goldmark at Shalimar music, The legendary Al Gallico at Shapiro-Bernstein, and Arnold Shaw at E. B. Marks Music

We also gave Aaron Schroeder a few of our songs to publish including “Peanuts, Popcorn, and Crackerjacks”, which Gene Pitney recorded.  Then Aaron asks if I’d like to finish a song with one of his staff writers, Neval Nader (“Mecca”).  Ben says he wouldn’t mind if I did, so I agreed.

I heard that Aaron was a hard taskmaster and somewhat of a monster when dealing with songwriters, but I had no idea to what lengths he’d go to get what he wants!   He likes the song Neval and I write, but “demands” a better ending!  In fact, he actually locks us in a writer’s room and says he won’t let us out until the song is finished to his satisfaction!  I don’t think he knew he was messing with a “Bronx boy”, but he became aware of it after the commotion I make, as I nearly break down the door to the writers room!

From then on Aaron and I had a healthy respect for each other…from a distance.”

Respectfully, Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

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

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  1. Barry Osalncer Says:

    Never knew Aaron but did make many of his dubs…You should of called me, This Bronx boy would get you out of that room.
    Barry O

  2. Artie,

    Aaron attacked me in a different way. Seconds after I finished playing a new song of mine for him, he started “barking” at me, “You should be writing for Broadway!, which was exactly what I wanted to do. But without giving me a chance to answer, he continued, “You have any ideas? You must have an idea!” and so on. I’m not a “Bronx boy” like you, but we “Philly kids” have our own birthright to assert ourselves. “Yes, I have an idea,” I told him. But he didn’t want to listen, he wanted to snap. “What the idea? What is it? Let me hear it!” I waited for him to stop, and when he did, I said, as calmly as he was frenetic, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” He was dumbfounded. I seized the opportunity to add the clincher: “Or Death of a Salesman. What do you think of that?” But the meeting was over.

  3. Elliot Mazer Says:

    I knew Aaron and really respected him. As you know, I worked for Arnold Shaw who became my guru and thankfully my champion. His school at UNVA is terrific. Those people and Al thought about songs. Too few today understand that the only proper basis for a good recording is a good song.


  4. “Mecca” turned out great and admittedly is one of my favorites by Pitney on a whole big list of them, but I’ll bet you’d have done just as well, Artie! I recently managed to get Gene’s “Big 16” album for the amazing price of $1 in VG condition. The only overlap with my 45s is “True Love Never Runs Smooth/Donna Means Heartbreak”–the latter another of my very favorites. Rest in peace, Aaron.

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