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In the early 60’s, I went out with a few Iranian girls who actually told me that they were brought up to tell people what they wanted to hear, then go out and do the exact opposite. One of these girls, Jamela, was the beautiful daughter of a deposed general, who was exiled to the United States along with the Shah of Iran. I admit it was exciting to wonder who was following us on our dates, her father’s bodyguards…or the Secret Service! All of this danger, brought us closer together, and she revealed many aspects of her culture I never knew about. She told me that Iranian men showed no quarter to their enemy and were fierce warriors because they weren’t afraid of dying! It was only when she told me that she feared for my safety, did I take our cultural differences seriously! We continued to see each other secretly, however, which led me to co-write my first hit song, ” ( Meet Me At) Midnight Mary” (Raleigh/ Wayne).

Ben Raleigh (“Wonderful, Wonderful”, “Tell Laura I Love Her”) came up with the title, and we wrote it in a couple of hours. The next day we took it up to Larry Taylor at Bourne music, who gave us an advance and gave us money for a demo. For the next year, the publishers weren’t able to get the song recorded, then we were told that a new artist on Capitol records, Jerry Cole, had just cut it.

Although his record was good, I thought I could produce a better one. I had become good friends with one of my co-writers, Joey Powers, who had just been released from an RCA recording contract. We decided to go into the studio to do another demo good enough to become a master. We scrapped up $500.00, booked Associated recording studios, hired arranger Al Gorgoni and Charlie Macey to play guitars, Buddy Saltzman on drums and Jeannie Thomas who sang all the background parts.

The following week, “Midnight Mary”was turned down by every major record label in New York City! I remember playing it for my friends song plugger, Jerry Landis (Soon to become better known as Paul Simon) up at E.B.Marks music and Tony Dee, who was a promotion man for the company. They both suggested that I take my master up to Larry Uttal who had started running AMY Records. Larry, who was my former neighbor at 1650 Broadway, loved the record gave us our production costs back as well as a shitty percentage!

I remember as we signed contracts he asked me if I could make the bass on the master a little bit louder? I just looked at him and said, “What bass?” Larry smiled and handed me an extra $15 out of his pocket to add a bass and do a new mix.

$15 ? for a bass player And a new mix? Fortunately I had a few friends who did me some favors, including bass player, Russ Savakis. After the session I took the $15 and bought everyone hot dogs and some coconut champagne at a store around the corner from the Brill building.

A few months later, I remember taking publicity pictures and being handed a gold record by Larry Uttal, who whispered, “Now this doesn’t necessarily mean it sold a million records!”

It was November 22, 1963 and I had been preparing to record the entire “Midnight Mary” album during the four day weekend. I’d been flying to Columbus, Ohio every week to rehearse Joey Powers, who was going for his Masters Degree at Ohio State.

That night, as Al Gorgoni put some finishing touches on the arrangements, and Jeannie Thomas polished the background parts for her and Lettie Hamblet. Our usual crew of musicians, augmented with Paul Simon and Roger McGuinn on 12 string guitars, was going over the charts for the first session, due to start in a half-hour.

Joey Powers and I were riding into the city from the airport, when we heard the horrible, unconfirmed reports on the news. By the time we walked into the studio and saw the tears in most everybody’s eyes, we knew it was true, “President Kennedy had been shot!”

(To Be Continued)

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

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On July 30, 2006 Top of the Pops, which has been on the air in the U.K. for 42 years, will broadcast its final show. I only saw the show once…when I went to London for the first time 40 years ago…

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In 1964, when I became disillusioned with the music business
in the U.S., my friend Paul Simon [then known as Jerry
Landis], convinced me that I should go to London, where I
just had a top ten hit with Helen Shapiro, “Queen for
Tonight” [Raleigh/ Wayne]. At the time I was trying to get
some club work in New York’s Greenwich Village, Paul
introduced me to the folk scene and backed me up on guitar
at the Bitter End and Gerdes Folk City. He was tired of
plugging other people’s songs at E.B. Marks Music, and was
hoping his debut accoustic album with Artie Garfunkle,
“Wednesday Morning 3Am”, would put him on the map. His
producer at Columbia, Tom Wilson, disappointed with the
public and label’s response to the album, went in and
overdubbed the same electric group he used to record Bob
Dylan, which caused a controversy among folk purists!. I
remember, Paul shaking his head and telling me how much they
respected his music in the U.K. and how he longed to go back.

It didn’t take much to convince me that I too, needed a
change. My Liberty single “Where Does a Rock and Roll Singer
Go” [Wayne], had bombed out, money was slow coming in from
my songs, and Amy records, for whom I produced “Midnight
Mary” [Raleigh/ Wayne], was trying to take the Artist, Joey
Powers away from me, because I didn’t have any subsequent
hits.

As I was about to leave for London, I came down with the
chicken pox and had to postpone my trip. It was during the
next few weeks that I met Bess Coleman, one of the Beatles
Press officers, and started writing some songs with her.
When she said that she was friendly with the road manager
of the Rolling Stones, and Mick Jagger was going to be
staying at his apartment, I jumped at the chance to write
for the group.

We wrote a few songs…made a few demos…and Bess gave her
friend two songs to pass along to Mick. One of them, “It
Ain’t Me”, is the song I eventually sued over.

I knew the Stones were slated to record in Chicago, at the
legendary Chess studios, before they went to Hollywood,
where they filmed the “TAMI” show…so we crossed our
fingers and hoped we had made the session. We didn’t hear
back from anybody…so we uncrossed our fingers and went on
with our lives.

My co-writer, Bess Coleman, started preparing for the
Beatles to come to New York and introduced me to Jackie
DeShannon, who was the opening act for the Fab Four. As we
all hung out, it was Jackie, who re-ignited my desire to go
to London. She said she was going there on a promotion tour
in a few weeks, and it would be a perfect time me me to go.
I figured that I could still meet up with Paul Simon, and
play whatever clubs were left on his tour. When I arrived
at Paul’s publisher’s office, however, I found a note from
him saying that he had to go back to the States to promote
the reworked single of “Sounds of Silence”.

I wasn’t too upset, since It gave me the opportunity to go
to recording sessions and TV shows with Jackie and her new
co-writer, Jimmy Page. I had time to hang out and jam with
the Animals and the Moody Blues, play guitar with “Howlin’
Wolf” and “Sonny Boy” Williamson, participate in a
“kidnapping” of Cilla Black, from the Palladium, by her
pals, Mike Millward and Billy Hatton, of The Fourmost, and
go on the “Beatles for Sale” promotional tour.

It was at “Ready, Steady, Go”, while chatting up one of the
dancers, I heard a few familiar lines being sung by the
Rolling Stones. It sounded like the song Bess and I had
given their road manager to pass along to Mick. They were
celebrating the success of “Little Red Rooster”, which was
their first number one record, and this was the b-side,
“Off the Hook”. After the performance, I went over to Mick
and told him how much I enjoyed the way he did my song…he
just looked at me somewhat astonished and just walked away,
without saying a word!

The next day, when I bought a copy of the record, “Off the
Hook” and I saw that it credited Nanker Pheldge [Jagger and
Richards] as the writers! I hired David Jacobs, one of the
Beatles’ lawyers, to put a temporary injunction against the
single. This came as a shock to everyone, bringing a volley
of threats against me.

I decided it would be safer for me to keep a very low
profile for the remainder of my trip to London…and I hid
out with a couple of “Birds” who lived on the floor below
Charlie Watts in Ivor Court.

I heard that a lot of unsavory characters were out looking
for me, but I managed to escape the U.K. and get back to
New York unscathed. For the next five years I spent
thousands and thousands of dollars seeking justice in the
U.S. courts, but ultimately lost the case. It seems that
the defendants claimed they wrote their song a week before
I wrote mine and sang it to an engineer friend, which in
the U.K. constutes a common law copyright! Although my case
prompted a change of the U.S. copyright law, I was
devestated, traumatized and lost my will to write. This is
when I started working for an array of publishers, showing
other people’s songs.

It was years before I was able to write again…but now,
forty years later I can talk about it… and hardly feel
any pain.

Regards, Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.com