December 19, 2010

There are some events and people you never forget…Clay Cole was one of them! He was always one of the few people in the industry who was more into the music than into the business…and a guy who always made you feel good about yourself

I met Clay when he had a show on WPIX-TV in New York, and I was producing Joey Powers “(Meet Me At) Midnight Mary” (Raleigh/ Wayne). Joey and I were working on his album on the weekend of November 22, 1963…

“In between the tracking and overdubbing sessions, Joey and I go down to WPIX TV, where Joey tapes the Clay Cole Dance show. Clay is old friend of Joeys’, who once worked with him as an NBC page. In between takes, the mood is dark and apprehensive, while we watch all the footage of the Kennedy assassination as it comes into the newsroom unedited.

As the surreal events unfold, I have images forever etched in my memory, including the entire 8mm Abraham Zapruder home movie clip of the Presidential Procession, in which the President is getting shot! The entire staff keeps watching the tape over and over again, getting more and more depressed. I don’t know how Clay managed to hold everything together…but he did.

Finally, we decided to call it a night, and arrange for Joey to come in the next day to finish up his segment with Clay.

It’s hard not to think about this history changing event, and stay positive the next day. As soon as Joey is finished lip synching “Midnight Mary”, and doing an interview with Clay, we all go into the control room. Everyone is crowded around a monitor and watch the assassination of alleged JFK killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, by Texas night club owner, Jack Ruby!

As we shook our heads wondering what was going to happen next, we all agreed on one thing…we all knew we’d never forget the last 48 hours”

I could never thank Clay enough when 46 years later he helped me recall those two days for my book, “I Did It For A Song”


Respectfully, Artie Wayne

Copyright 2010 by Artie Wayne from “I Did It For A Song”


  1. Artie – I am sad to hear about this. I always liked him, onscreen and off. He was a good guy and real music lover. I had always hoped to see him again. Got to meet him a few times in the 60s including an appearance on his show in ’66 as a member of Vito & The Salutations. I have a copy of that TV Guide page! Yes, RIP Clay

  2. Denise Says:

    I am heartbroken over the loss of my dear friend Clay Cole. I can’t even believe I am writing this. I knew him for many years appearing on his TV show and touring with him and the Capris in his “Twist-a Rama”
    Revue in the early 60’s. It was a blessing to meet up with him again in our golden years..we shared alot, and had many laughs together…I will miss him everyday for the rest of my life..

  3. Ira Howard Says:

    Artie — what a shock. After nearly 50 years Clay and I caught up with each other on the internet and we were going to get together the next time he was up in NY. Just got a Christmas card from him saying he’ll do just that. Though we’re getting to an age when old friends start dropping like lead balloons- this one really hurts. Bless you my friend..and RIP.

    Ira Howard

  4. Laura Says:

    Thanks for the nice tribute, Artie. Clay was a wonderful person, a true professional and a shining star in his own right. Today’s news was a shock, and I’m still in a daze. I’ll always be grateful that I had the pleasure of meeting this kind and special man in person. Rock in Perpetuity, Clay, you will be greatly missed.

  5. Trade Martin Says:

    Artie, very nice article on Clay. He was a good fellow, always very respectful and gracious. I first met him when my Rome records partner and I took the Earls to perform on Clay’s TV show in Newark. My girlfriend’s dad, Tony Butrico, who controlled the door at the Stork Club and later Bachelor’s Three, knew him very well. I spoke to Clay while we were on a radio broadcast together not too long ago. I was very sorry to hear the bad news about his passing. Regards, Trade.

  6. To think that Clay is not with us anymore is unthinkable. I am in shock and cannot look at the words that tell of his passing. I do not want to think that tomorrow I cannot call him or hear is voice anymore. Thank You Artie, for posting this about our dear friend. He was so humble about anyone making a fuss about him. He deserves the highest honors there are in the music industry for giving everyone a chance to show their stuff on his show. He will always be in my heart the greatest friend I ever had. No one can ever fill his shoes. He is at peace now knowing we all loved him and went to be with the Lord. RIP, Clay…..Bernadette

  7. Mary Weiss Says:

    As I sit here, I still cannot believe that he is
    He was such a nice person.
    I did his show so many times I lost count.
    We have been e-mailing
    each other for the last few years and had a chance to
    connect at The Meadow Lands in August 2010.
    I am glad that I got to spend some time with him.
    He will be missed by all.
    I looked last night, but did not see anything on the
    news about Clay. I hope WPIX (at least) says something.
    I will miss his spirit, and wish him peace.

  8. don Oriolo Says:

    I remember playing in a club called the Playpen across from Palasades park…we’d play for scale 6 nights a week…at the end of the night Clay Cole would come in…they’d lock the doors so no one else could come in and it became a private club for the next couple of hours…he was a nice unassuming guy who smiled a lot…he built his local TV show out of nothing, and before long had a great following…oh yeah, they called it the playpen club because the band played in an oversize playpen….haha….RIP Clay
    Don Oriolo

  9. Stephanie Says:

    RIP He was truly an ICON!

  10. Don Dannemann Says:

    As lead singer of The Cyrkle [Red Rubber Ball and Turn Down Day] we appeared several times on The Clay Cole show and got friendly enough with Clay to spend some time with him and his wife at their apartment in NY. They were charming people and treated us really well. When the Cyrkle broke up and I started my owm commercial production company I lost touch with Clay and was very pleased to establish internet contact with him in recent years.

    I’m sorry that the get together we talked about will never happen. Clay,,,,, along with my former Cyrkle partner Tommy Dawes, I’m sure you’ll be very welcome in rock and roll heaven.

    Don Dannemann

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