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BOBBY DARIN  5/13/36 – 12/20/73

During the 50’s and early 60’s, racism divided radio just as it divided America. White people, for the most part, didn’t want to hear Black voices sing about a life style they couldn’t relate to and Black people didn’t want to hear White voices sing about a life style they were being denied.

I don’t believe there was a conspiracy to”steal’ songs and styles from black artists and give them to white artists to make pop hits. It often was the idea of many progressive, soulful white artists to sing songs they personally liked and wanted to record.

Such an artist was Bobby Darin, who who could sing and write like a Black man, (“Splish, Splash”, “Queen Of The Hop”). he could also sound like a country singer ( You’re The Reason I’m Living”, “Things”), a folk singer, (“If I Were A Carpenter”)…not to mention “Swing” like Sinatra (“Mack The Knife”, “Beyond The Sea”)

It was singing R&B flavored songs, however, that first captured the public’s attention, and brought him to the top of the charts. I met him for the first time, back stage at an Alan Freed Rock And Roll Show in 1959, when I was trying to break into the record business.

I was sitting in the rehearsal room of the Brooklyn Fox Theater, learning a few chords from my new pal, Bo Diddley who I met that morning after sneaking backstage. I remember Jackie Wilson, Jimmy Clanton and Bobby Darin coming in and asking if we would mind if they played a test pressing of Bobby’s next single. I sat there spellbound as we all listened to the record that would take his career to the next level…”Dream Lover”!

Over the next few days I sat with Bobby and played him a couple of my songs. When I told him I was going to sign a management contract with Alan Freed, he spoke to me privately and told me about a friend of his who just opened a publishing company at 1650 Broadway.

He wrote down his friend’s name in my autograph book…and the next day I went to audition for Don Kirshner.

For almost two years I was signed to Donnie and his partner Al Nevins’ company, Aldon music. Although I never got any of my songs covered or made a record while I was there, I did learn how to write songs from the best in the business, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Howard Greenfield, Larry Kolber and Barry Mann.

It wasn’t until 1963, until I saw Bobby Darin again. I left Aldon music and was writing songs with Ben Raleigh (“Wonderful, Wonderful”, “Tell Laura I Love Her”) When Bobby asked Ben If he had any songs, for his hot new artist , Wayne Newton. Ben and I wrote one and brought it back the next day. Bobby loved, “Better Now Than Later”and a few days later recorded it with Wayne and put it on the b-side of “Danke Schoen”.

After that I became a regular visitor to Bobby’s publishing company, TM Music, where my friends Kenny Young and Artie Resnick were signed as writers. I ran into Bobby, who asked If I had any folk songs for a new album he was working on. It must’ve been one of the hottest days of the year, when I started to play a new song I wrote with Ben, “Train To The Sky”. At the end the first chorus, Bobby smiled, reached up, whipped off his toupee and threw it on the couch!

I knew I’d start laughing if I stopped singing, so I sang it over and over until the moment passed. That night he went in and recorded the song with Walter Raim and Roger McGuinn playing all the instruments.

In 1965, after I was one of the first Americans to have open heart surgery, I remember I’d sit and talk to Bobby for hours about the procedure. He wanted to know if I was afraid? Did it hurt? Would I go through it again if I had to? Then he told me that he had a similar problem with his heart since he was a kid. He said his doctors talked about open heart surgery…but he was afraid to have it!

(To Be Continued)

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

Bobby Darin sings “Dream Lover” on the Ed Sullivan Show http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoID=1549762784

To see Bobbys remarkable live performance in 1959 of “Mack The Knife” http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=582310482463733506&q=bobby+darin&total=396&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

“If I Were A Carpenter” in a live 1973 “Midnight Special” performance http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7940216871363353978&q=bobby+darin&total=397&start=40&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=5

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

BACK TO THE R.I.P. ROCK N PERPETUITY ARCHIVES https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/rip-rock-in-perpetuity-archives/

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l to r Hank Medress, Mitch Margo, Phil Margo, and Jay Siegal
The Tokens are inducted into the Vocal Group Hall Of Fame 2005

Hank Medress, the founder of the Tokens (“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”) and producer of the Chiffons (“He’s So Fine”), Dawn ( “Candida”, “Knock Three Times”) , Tony Orlando and Dawn ( “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ( On The Old Oak Tree “) talks about his career, challenges and aspirations.

In an exclusive interview that amounts to a couple of old friends talking, Hank shares stories and experiences that make you feel like you’re there in the moment with him! He also talks about the organzation that he represents, and the gratification he receives from finding recording artists who don’t even know they are owed money.

Artie Wayne On The Web and Spectropop proudly present The Hank Medress interview http://spectropop.com/HankMedress/index.htm

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It was 1961…and it was my first day on the job at New York’s Lowe’s State Theater, yelling, “Immediate Seating for Gone With The Wind!” The most appealing part of the job was the location…it was only five blocks away from 1650 Broadway…the new Tin Pan Alley…the “hipper” Brill building! This was also the day that my Mother met me up at Aldon Music, where Al Nevins and Don Kirshner convinced her that I shouldn’t go to college but hang out in their offices , learn how to write songs and prepare myself to become a Rock and Roll Star!!!

Like Chuck Berry said, ” I studied hard hopin’to pass”. I took advantage of the chance to be around some up and coming talent who soon would become the most sucessful writers in music buisness history!

now As a wide-eyed 18 year old, I sat everyday in Aldon Music’s 1650 B’way office and became freindly with most of the writers who were signed…Neil Sedaka and Howie Greenfield (who helped me develop as a lyric writer), Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann (who taught me how to sing harmony), Gerry Goffin and Carole King (who showed me how to make demos), Jack Keller (who helped me with my chords), Larry Kolber (one of my first lyric partners), Russ Teitleman, Brooks Arthur, Billy Michelle, Al Gorgoni, Charles Koppleman, Don Rubin and a 14 year old Toni Wine.

I’d occasionally babysit for Carole King, while she was in the studio doing demos. In return she would play keyboards, arrange, and sing background when I had to put down my songs on tape. I remember one day she came in to play Don Kirshner her new song but he was still out to lunch. She asked me if I’d like to hear it while she was going over it.

She sat down at the old upright piano in the music room and started playing, “Tonight you’re mine completely…You give your love so sweetly…” I was spellbound, until the very last note of, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. I sat there as she played it a few more times, knowing I wouldn’t be able to write anything of my own for weeks!

Then she was summoned to Don’s office. I think he liked it too…I kept hearing him yelling through the door, “It’s a Smash!…It’s a Fuckin’ Smash!”

Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne- https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

CLICK HERE TO READ SALLY STEVENS EXCELLENT REVIEW OF “TROUBADOURS” featuring CAROLE KING AND JAMES TAYLOR ON PBS!  http://rockphiles.typepad.com/a_life_in_the_day/2011/03/troubadours-the-movie-review.html

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