In 1972 when I was General Professional Manager of Warner Brothers Music in Hollywood, I was asked by the film company to find a hit R&B artist to write and record the title song for a new “Blaxploitation” film, “Cleopatra Jones”.

After meeting with Joe Simon (“The Chokin’ Kind”) and The Chi – Lites (“Have You Seen Her?”) in New York, I took the Redeye to Memphis on a chance that I could get Al Green (“Let’s Stay Together”) interested in the project.

I stopped by Stax records to say a quick hello to my longtime friend and sometime collaborator Steve Cropper (“Dock Of The Bay”, “In The Midnight Hour”), then I went over to Hi Recording Studios to see producer Willie Mitchell, Al Green’s co-writer and producer (“Tired Of Being Alone”). He wasn’t expecting me and was in the middle of a recording session with Ann Peebles and “I Can’t Stand The Rain”.

Willie, who had done a brilliant cover of “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” from our Bee Gee’s catalog, with Al Green; lit up when I told him I’m looking for someone to score, “Cleopatra Jones”. Unfortunately, Al Green isn’t available, because his tour had been extended.

I smile, shrug my shoulders and spend the rest of the afternoon listening to Ann Peebles finish up her classic hit!

Willie Mitchell R.I.P. ROCK N PERPETUITY!

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

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“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
http://artiewayne.com

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“One of my dreams comes true when Ben Raleigh takes me up to Hill and Range Music to meet Freddy Bienstock, who runs Elvis Presley’s publishing companies.  He asks us if we’d like to write a song for Elvis’ next movie, “It Happened at the World’s Fair”.

I know this is my big chance, and Ben and I reach for the stars. We write a song for Elvis to sing on top of the Space Needle in Seattle, “Where Do You Want The World Delivered?”

Although Elvis loves the song, and we’re told we’re definitely going to be in the film, we’re knocked out at the last minute by a beautiful songwriter, who is on the set and has Elvis’ ear (among other things).

Ben and I continue for the next year and a half to work on Elvis movies. Writing for, “Kid Galahad”, “Fun In Acapulco”, and “Kissin’ Cousins”. Unfortunately, none of our songs are used, but I treasure the advance checks we would receive from Gladys Music, which had Elvis’ picture on them! I swear I’ll never cash them unless I really need the money, which is usually an hour or so after I have the check in my hand.

I had no dealings with Freddie Bienstock for years until The Jackson Five abruptly left Motown and was short on cash; I helped a grateful “Papa” Joe Jackson get a $25,000 advance for the group’s world wide sub – publishing rights from Freddy…even though Michael and his brothers weren’t writing very much at the time.

A few years later when the world-wide sub – publishing hadn’t paid off for Freddy, he blamed me for wasting his $25,000. Then when Michael explodes with the “Thriller” album, Freddy claims all of the mega-songs that Michael has written falls under his contract!

Now I had a once grateful “Papa” Joe mad at me for helping him get “a paltry $25,000.advance” and Freddy whom I expected to be grateful, never returns any of my phone calls ever again.”

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010!

January 1, 2010

WISHING YOU LOVE, PEACE AND HAPPINESS IN 2010!

ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB


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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
https://artiewayne.wordpress.com


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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
https://artiewayne.wordpress.com

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billy.JPG

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
https://artiewayne.wordpress.com



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