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The Banned Beatle Album Cover

In the early 80s I was absolutely apalled when someone took the tapes from the first Elvis Presley album, added “Disco beats, modern sounding instruments and effects”, while removing the excess echo that was my favorite sound on the original lp! I remember hearing a few cuts while I was waiting to be served at the Hard Rock cafe in Hollywood. I was starting to become physically ill from hearing some of my all time favorite cuts desecrated, so I walked out…but not before I complained loudly and vehemently to the manager! I chalked this one up to the Presley estate trying to breathe life into a dead horse! (no reflection on the Hard Rock’s hamburger, of course.)

The next time I was shlocked to my very core was when my friend, Alan O’Day, sent me the URL to the new remixes of Motown classics “remixed” by current top Hip-Hop producers. Although there were a few interesting moments…it was a futile attempt to improve upon musical history. http://motown remixed.com/

As long as I’ve been in the music industry I’ve admired, enjoyed and studied the sucess of Motown records. When I brought Nick Ashford and Valarie Simpson to Eddie Holland in 1967, I developed a strong relationship with many of the company’s writers and producers. I was also privy to many secrets of their phenomenal sucess. I used to sit (at different times) with Norman Whitfield, Hal Davis, Mel Larson, Jerry Marcellino, Freddie Perren, Bob Crewe and Michael Masser and listen to what sounded like instant smash hits, including early mixes of ” Touch me in the Morning”, ” Papa Was a Rolling Stone”, and “My Eyes Adored You”, all of which were initially turned down by quality control!

The endless remixing and meticulous mastering was the most important And the most frustrating part of the recording process. I remember sitting with Iris Gordy, who was head of quality control and listening to dozens of mixes of ten totally different tracks of Stevie Wonders production of “Let’s get Serious” by Jermaine Jackson. I was intrigued by some of the “radical” mixes and amazed by the subtlety of others. I asked Iris if this many versions were unusual? she laughed and said, “Sometimes there are hundreds!”

With so much care and respect Berry Gordy had for the music, it’s a shame that the new owners of the Motown catalog let someone come in and fuck with the music!

This past tuesday a double CD was released called “Love”, featuring remixes of the original Beatles hits along with an incredible advertising blitz. After hearing a little of about 10 songs, of this “Bloodless”, adreneline free remix, I couldn’t help wonder who put this shit together? Are the Beatles hard up for cash? Has producer George Martin gone mad? Is his son Gilles the actual producer of this CD set? What has Cirque du Soleil have to do with this? After reading the Associated Press story I understood what was going on! http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,229702,00.htm ,

I realized this was the soundtrack to the new Cirque Du Soleil Las Vegas Extravaganza that opened last July! This means I have to listen to it with entirely different ears. Unfortunately, that also means before I say anything more about the album I should hear it in context with the show! If the Cirque Folque are reading this, pleased be advised that Artie Wayne on the Web is ready to be flown to Vegas to check it and come back here to report the findings!

Merci’ and Auvoir

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

To reach the Mirage where “Love” by Cirque du Soleil is playing
http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/CirqueDuSoleil/en/showstickets/love/intro/intro.htm?sa_campaign=internal_click/redirect/love

 

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RICK JAMES  2/1/48 – 8/6/04

When I was running Irving/Almo music in the early 70s, a young Black man walked into my office, dressed from head to toe in a Psychedelic leather outfit and dreadlocks. His name was Rick James, I didn’t know him, but he had been so engaging on the phone that I agreed to listen to his music. He flashed a confident smile as he handed me a demo of a new song he had just recorded.

I put the needle on the steel acetate…and when the intro started I leaped out of my seat onto the dance floor, I had built in my office upon a 12 year old Michael Jackson’s suggestion. I’ve never been one to conceal my enthusiasm in front of a writer or singer. I was so excited by what I’d heard I could have danced on the ceiling!!

I thought the demo Rick made of “I Love my Mama” was good enough to be a master …and so did Kip Cohen, head of A+R at A+M, when I brought it in to him. They signed him to a record deal while I signed him to an exclusive songwriters contract for 5 years.

It was always a pleasure to hang out with him or see him working around
the A+M studios. He was still developing the fusion of Rock and Funk, he became famous for a few years down the line, and I would really look forward to everything he wanted to play me. He was hardworking and dedicated…the kind of a guy who would do anything it takes to make him a Rock star.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for Rick James at A+M. It took a few more years of development and the Power of Motown to put him up where he belonged. Through the years when I’d run into him, he’d tell whoever he was with that I was the guy who discovered him and gave him a chance. I’m proud to have played a small part in his career…but I’m even prouder to have been his friend.”

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


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