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Since the early 60’s, Burt Bacharach has been one of the most innovative and influencial figures in popular music. His unique melodies and signature rythyms also made him one of the most imitated musicians of all times. With various lyricists, he racked up an early array of hits that included, “Tower Of Strength”, “Baby It’s You”, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”, “Any Day Now”, “Only Love Can Break A Heart”, “Blue On Blue”, “Anyone Who Had A Heart” and “Walk On By”.

I always felt a thrill just to be in his presence! I would see him at a party or a music business function and go over and introduce myself. This happened so often that after about the fifth or sixth time I did it, he stopped me, smiled and said, “I know…you’re Artie Wayne!” This not only made me feel good, but I felt validated!

He was not only a musical role model, but a personal one as well. He was probably one of the coolest people I’ve ever known, with his sunglasses on top of his premature white hair he always seemed to be dressed for a tennis game or a polo match! I also noticed all of the beautiful women that would fawn over him and it made me realize that you didn’t have to be a Rock Star to get that kind of attention!

In 1963, after I had my first hit as a songwriter and producer, “Meet Me At Midnight Mary” ( Raleigh/ Wayne) with Joey Powers, I called up Burt to see if he had any songs for the follow-up. I met him in his office at Famous music, in the Brill Building and he played me a new song he and Hal David had written, “Message To Martha” (which later became a smash in the UK by Adam Faith and a hit in the US by Dionne Warwick, re-titled, “Message To Michael”)

I loved the song, but I thought it was a bit too complex for Joey Power’s simple folk musical direction we were taking. I felt really weird turning down the song, but Burt was cool and said don’t worry about it. A few months later, I ran into him on my first trip to London, where he was the musical director on Marlena Dietrich’s concert tour, we had a drink and laughed about my embarrasment over turning down one of his songs.

The next time I saw him was in 1965, I was signed to Scepter records publishing company, as a songwriter and producer. I was encouraged to use the studio as often as I wanted for overdubbing and making demos of my songs to help break-in the studio. I produced or co-produced The Shirelles , The Kingsmen and the Guess Who, there which made the owner, Florence Greenberg, more confident in her new facility. At that point, she offered Burt Bacharach and Hal David, a chance to try her new, improved studio out.

I remember Burt and Hal had trouble mixing Dionne Warwick’s, “Are You There With Another Girl” at the original studio where they cut the track, and they decided to try out Scepter. I remember being in my office the day of the “Great New York City Blackout “…when the lights all over our building were dimming then getting brighter! Burt and Hal, after mixing for hours, ran out of the studio screaming, ” What the Hell’s going on ? We almost had it…We almost had the mix! Then machine started slowing down then stared speeding up!”

Tempers cooled, when we looked out the window and saw lights in the entire city dim…then go black! Florence’s son Stanley, who was head of A+R, as well as being totally blind from birth, yelled out, “Don’t worry, I’ll get us all out of here…JUST FOLLOW ME!”

About 20 of us, with Stanley leading the pack, managed to get down several flights of stairs, in total darkness, safely and without incident. It was an event that I’m sure none of us will never forget!

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

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In 1971, When I was general professional manager of Warner Brothers music, the late Johnny Stevenson played me a song he just recorded, “Rock and Roll Heaven’. I thought the chorus was a smash, but didn’t care for anything else! I suggested that he collaborate with Alan O’Day (“Undercover Angel”, “Angie Baby”) and turn it into a tribute to Rock Stars who have passed away.

In 1974 the Righteous Brothers recorded it and took it to number one! Since then we’ve lost so many more of our heros that it was time for an update of the lyric. Alan O’Day worked on it for months, then he went to Nashville and made a demo with Ronny Kimball. I e-mailed a copy of the demo to my friend, director and producer, Sebastian Prooth for an opinion. This morning he surprised us with this brilliant video he made!

You can reach Sebastian Prooth at http://sebrt.com
You can reach Alan O’Day at http://alanoday.com
Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.com

Of course, it was impossible to mention every Rock Star who has passed away in the song and the video, but I would like to start a list to honor as many as we can on this blog. I would like to begin with my friends Jim Croce and Bobby Darin, who were mentioned in the Righteous Brothers record. Then we have Bill Haley (Comets), Rick James, Marvin Gaye, Carl Perkins, Rick Nelson, Johnny Burnette, Dorsey Burnette, Sam Cooke, John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Keith Moon (The Who), Richie Valens, Luthor Vandross, Eddie Cochran, Wilson Picket, Tammi Tyrell, John Phillips (Mamas and Papas), Mama Cass (Mamas and Papas), Frankie Lyman, Peter Ham (Badfinger), Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Chas Chandler (The Animals), Mike Milward (The Fourmost), Stu Sutcliff, Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones), Keith Relf (The Yardbirds), James Jamerson, Dennis Wilson (Beach Boys), Carl Wilson (Beachboys), Big Mama Thornton, Bert Berns, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Blackwell, Ben Benay, Lowell George, Van McCoy, Floyd Cramer, Ersel Hickey, Bobby Sheen (Bobby Soxx and the Blue Jeans), Mickey Most, Jim Capaldi (Traffic), Gene Vincent, Tony Williams (The Platters), Joe Brown, John Lennon, George HarrisonJohnny Johnson, Ray Peterson, Janet Vogel (Skyliners) Jan Berry (Jan and Dean), Freddy Garrity (Freddie and the Dreamers), Eugene Record (Chi-Lites), Chuck Willis, The Big Bopper, Jimmy Radcliffe, Bill Orr (the Cars), Doris Troy, Joe Tex, Joe Simon, Duane Allman (Allman Brothers), Billy Preston, Joe Strummer (The Clash), Del Shannon, Barry Cowsill The Cowsills), Bill Cowsill (The Cowsills), Joey Ramone (Ramones), Stevie Ray Vaughn, Link Wray, David Blue, Danny Gatton, Zal Yanovsky (Lovin’ Spoonful), Phil Seymour, David Blue, Shel Silverstein, Graham Parsons, Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead), Bobby Fuller, King Curtis, Buddy Knox, Johnny Preston, Eddie Cochran, Kirsty MacColl, Jimmy Bailey, Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees), Richard Tee, Hank Ballard, Tony Romeo, Jessie Belvin, Ed Townsend, Sterling Morrison (Velvet Underground), Jackie Wilson, John Fred (Playboy Band), Hank Ballard, Bobby Hatfield (Righteous Brothers), April Young, Arthur Conley, Dick St. John (Dick And Dee Dee), Timi Yuro, Lou Rawls, Paul Atkinson (Zombies), Johnny Bristol, Francine Barker (Peaches and Herb)Maurice Gibb, Chris Curtis, Shirley Goodman (Shirley and Lee), Johnny Cymbal,The Duchess, Little Eva, Mickey Most, Billy Preston, Irving Green, Morris Levy, Nick Drake, Barry White, Laura Nyro, Frank Zappa, Barbara George, Arthr Lee, Baker Knight, Eddie Kendricks, Tony Jackson (Searchers), Link Wray, Kevin Gilbert, Michael Hutchence (INXS), Milan B. Williams (Commodores), Adam Faith, Johnny Wilder junior (Heatwave), Richard Barrett, Arthur Lee (Love), Syd Barrett (PInk Floyd) , Arthur Conley, Gene Pitney, Freddy Garrity (Freddie And The Dreamers), Shannon Hoon, Ray Peterson, Denny Doherty (Mamas And Papas), Bruce Gary (The Knack), Freddie Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers), Dennis Peyton (Dave Clark 5), Ruth Brown, Ahmet Ertegun, James Brown, Bill Pinkney (Drifters), Harry Nilsson, Dusty Springfield, Florence Ballard (Supremes), Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon), Barbara Acklin, Ron Miller, Donnie Brooks, Paul Griffin, David Ruffin, Freddy Scott, Hank Medress (Tokens), Dan Fogleberg, Ike Turner, Al Gallico, Mike Smith, Wilson Pickett, Bo Diddley, Norman Whitfield, Alan Gordon, Levi Stubbs ( 4 Tops) , Estelle Bennett (Ronettes)…

To view a RARE VIDEO OF BO DIDDLEY IN HIS PRIME!                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8PIbrMh6vo&feature=related

Copyright 2008 by Artie Wayne

If you have any names that you would like me to add to the list you can click onto comments (below) or e-mail me at artie_wayne@yahoo.com You may submit up to three names to add to the list, which I will post.