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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

EXTRA! EXTRA! YOU CAN BUY MY BOOK ,“I DID IT FOR A SONG” AT AMAZON or Barnes & Noble or from Smashwords

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Mike Stoller, Elvis Presley and Jerry Leiber

Sometimes visiting Artie Wayne On The Web, is like going to the Turf Bar and Grill, after a long, hard day at the Brill Building! You never know who you’re gonna’ meet…but you know you’re gonna’ have a good time!

The last time I saw Mike Stoller, was at a quiet dinner with my late manager Marty Machat. Mike kept us spellbound with his tale of having been rescued from the Andrea Doria, the luxury liner that was shipwrecked in 1956!

The last time I saw Jerry Leiber, was at a little sushi bar, in Hollywood. He had me, and my friend, Patti Dahlstrom laughing so hard…that we forgot that we had an opening to go to at the Troubador!

The first time I became aware of Leiber and Stoller, the songwriter/ prodcers, was in 1956 when I saw their names on an Elvis Presley Record, “Hound Dog”. It wasn’t long before I considered them the equivelant of a “Name Brand”, and would buy one of their creations without even hearing the song! I became impressed with more than their songs and productions, however, when I realized how much they helped define the image of the artists they worked with!

Although Elvis had dozens of hits in his remarkable career, 30 years after he passed away, whenever there’s a tribute to him you”re sure to hear “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock” by Mike and Jerry. Both songs are full of humor and rebellion…and embody the Spirit of Elvis!

Until I saw their photos, I assumed they were “Negroes”, which African-Americans were called at the time. Their output of hits with deep roots in West Coast Rythym and Blues, The Robins, The Clovers and “Big” Mama Thorton was legendary but it wasn’t until their smash hits by the Coasters, “Young Blood” and “Searchin'”, did they start to leave their indelible mark on the Pop Music Market!

Although they produced many hits over the years for the Coasters, Drifters, Ben E. King, Stealers Wheel and Peggy Lee, the most memorable recordings they made are the songs they wrote or cowrote for those artists. These signature songs include, “Stand By Me”, and “I Who Have Nothin” for Ben E. King, “Yakity-Yak” and “Charlie Brown” for the Coasters, “Love Potion Number 9” for the “Clovers”, “There Goes My Baby” and “On Broadway” for the Drifters, as well as, “Is That All There Is? for Peggy Lee.

I never knew Mike and Jerry well, but I knew their songs intimately…and there was never a time that I’d be around them when I didn’t hope that a little of their “Magic” wouild kinda’ rub off on me!

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

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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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Original Christmas of clips of Bing, Elvis, Band Aid, Darlene Love and Phil Spector! Christmas Video animations featuring Destiny’s child, Bobby Helms and the Drifters!

When Whoppy and Streaker were little more than kittens I sat down with them on their first Christmas Eve and sang Christmas songs on my guitar. Ten years later they’re playing Christmas songs for me that they found on the Internet! Sound outrageous? Not as outrageous as some of the the videos they found!

Here is the 50’s version of “White Christmas”, by Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters, one of my aunt Wan’s favorites, which my friend Publicist/ Writer Gary Stromberg, sent me as a Christmas card. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooc5eJc5SHA

Growing up in the 50’s, Irving Berlin was one of my greatest influences. He wrote other classic songs like “Easter Parade’, “True Love”, “Always”, and “God Bless America”, but none ever touched as deeply as his perrenial “White Christmas”. When I started in the music business, I remember going from door to door in 1650 Broadway, trying to get my songs published. One day I walked into Irving Berlin Music, which occupied a suite of offices on the second floor. I asked the receptionist If I could see Mr. Berlin, and play him a few of my songs. Holding back a smile, she said, “I’m sorry, but Mr. Berlin, no longer comes into the office…besides this company Only publishes Irving Berlin songs!”

This “Brash Brotha” from the Bronx, smiles and asks, “In that case may I just take a look at his piano?” She smiles back and says she shouldn’t be doing this…and took me into the room where he did his writing.

This is the instrument, I read about in Life Magazine. Berlin, with no formal training, was only able to play in the key of C. So he had this upright piano made with a “gear shift”, to change keys or modulate with a flick of the wrist! Although I want to sit and play, I don’t want to overstep my bounds, so I just gently and respectfully touched it on my way out.

Here’s “White Christmas” performed by Bing Crosby, from the 1942 film, “Holiday Inn”.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4430902754197897751&q=christmas+music+videos&hl=en

The next video is from a 1977 ABC special with a duet by Bing Crosby and David Bowie on “Little Drummer Boy”.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zMhSjDqvRs

Author and songwriter, Patti Dahlstrom sent this interactive video Christmas card, I thought you’d enjoy! http://badaboo.free.fr/merryxmas.swf

Patti sent this incredible “Silent Night” interactive card as well! http://ecard.ashland.edu/2004admission/index.html

Along with my first phonograph, my mother gave me “Elvis’ Christmas Album”. Here’s a clip of Elvis Presley, from the Ed Sullivan Show, singing “Peace in the Valley”with the Jordanaires. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7879112400700265061&q=Elvis+peace+in+the+valley&hl=en

How did Whoppy And Streaker know I loved “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” It’s the Band Aid Video That Bob Geldof put together in 1984 to raise money for starving people in Africa.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jEnTSQStGE

Here are the Jingle Cats and their version of ,”Jingle Bells” http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4713533704832803716&q=jingle+bells+jingle+cats&hl=en

Here’s Bobby Helms with Dancing Snowmen and “Jingle Bell Rock”
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2785975325131488663&q=jingle+bell+rock&hl=en

Elvis Presley from his 1968 “Comeback” NBC Special doin “Blue Christmas” in a medley.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5220054224932530118&q=Elvis+Presley+christmas&hl=en

The next song, “Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer”, is one of the best known songs in the world. It was originally the B-side of a Gene Autry record, “If It Doesn’t Snow On Christmas” It was the first 78 I ever owned, a gift from my uncle Mick and aunt Polly…to be played on the new phonograph my mother gave me!

Johnny Marks, the composer of “Rudolf”, as well as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, was definitely the King of Christmas? The song became so popular, that everytime a reindeer was drawn or painted with a red nose, he would get a royalty! Johnny was a character out of a Damon Runyan story, hair slicked back 40’s style, always nattily dressed, the kind of a guy you’d see at the race track waiting in line at the $100 window. He was quiet and assuming most of the year, but at Christmastime, he’d be in his glory! I remember once in the mid-sixties, during the holiday season , Johnny took my wife and I to lunch at Jack Dempseys’. The restaurant was located right next to the Brill Building and the poor man couldn’t take a bite without one his songwriter or publishing pals coming over to interrupt. Without question he was definitely one of my songwriting heroes!

Now Destiny’s Child’s 2001 video of “Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer”
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6009882569248305300&q=rudolf+the+red+nosed+reindeer&hl=en

About ten years ago after inexplicable weakness and episodes of falling down in the street. I checked into UCLA Medical Center for 3 days of test. They kept me for 3 weeks! It was a few days before Christmas, I was in a ward with many who were far worse off than me…and we did our best to keep each others’ spirits up. Somehow, I lost my phone book, and the only numbers that I could remember was my Mothers’, who had moved to West Virginia, and that of my long time friend Alan O’Day, who was on his way out of town.

It’s a policy of most hospitals to send as many patients home for the holidays to be with their family and friends. Soon, I was the only one left in the ward, since I had nowhere else to go. One lonely night, as I sat feeling sorry for myself, I heard a group down the hall, singing Christmas carols. I followed the voices to the the children’s ward…where I heard the joyous sounds of “Jingle Bells”. It was the Salvation Army, passing out toys and candy, and singing to the kids, who were confined to their beds. I joined in on “Silent Night”, “Jingle Bell Rock”, and “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer”, but when they started singing “White Christmas”. Tears started running down my face, and I had to sit in another room to compose myself. This song, written by Irving Berlin, always brings back memories of family and friends in a snow covered New York City…flooding me with emotions.

10 years later, I told Toni Wine (“Candida”,”Groovy Kind Of Love”) I told her the story…and showed her some lyrics I had written that fateful night, “I Lose it When I Hear “White Christmas”. She loved it, but wanted to make the story more universal. Over two writing sessions, which we actually started on Irving Berlin’s piano that Toni bought many years ago, we came up with….

“I LOSE IT WHEN I HEAR “WHITE CHRISTMAS”
words and music by Toni Wine and Artie Wayne

They can play “Jingle Bells” all day
talk about Santa’s Sleigh
I’m alright on a very “Silent Night”
But then my tears begin
when they sing I can’t join in
‘Cause I Lose it When I Hear “White Christmas”

Bein’ without you just ain’t no fun
What kind of thrill is cookin’ for one?
Can’t deny I wanna’ cry myself out
Here’s to Holiday spirit
don’t wanna’ be anywhere near it
‘Cause I Lose it When I Hear “White Christmas”

And Baby I know…You needed to go
But why did you have to leave me now?

[instumental]

Don’t feel like spreading good cheer
Just wanna’ sleep in the New Year
‘Cause I Lose it When I Hear “White Christmas”
‘Cause I Lose it When I Hear “White Christmas”

Copyright 2005-CasmoTwine

If you’d like to hear the Tony Orlando and Dawn recording click http://artiewayne.com/I_Lose_It.html

Where to buy Tony Orlando and Dawn”Reunion” CD http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Reunion-Tony-Orlando-Dawn/dp/B000ANVP7Y

FOR THE ORIGINAL TOP CHRISTMAS MUSIC VIDEOS featuring

Elvis Presley “Blue Christmas”, Neil Diamond “Holly Holy”, Celine Dion “Oh Holy Night”, Bing Crosby and David Bowie “Little Drummer Boy” plus THIRTY MORE! JUST ADDED…JOSH GROBAN FROM HIS #1 “NOEL”…OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN FROM HER NEW CHRISTMAS ALBUM, John Denver, the Muppets, MORE!
https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2007/11/13/the-top-the-best-and-the-greatest-christmas-m

For “Nookie’s Top Christmas And Hanukka Videos!” Adam Sandler, “Hanukkah Song”, Neil Diamond, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, ‘n Sync, Toby Keith, complete version of Charlie Brown Christmas, more! https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/12/22/nookies-top-holiday-video-picks/

To reach Toni Wine http://toniwine.com

For Sebastian Prooth http://sebrt.com

To know more about Gary Stromberg’s book, “The Harder They Fall http://thehardertheyfall.blogharbor.com/

For the Salvation Army http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn.nsf

More Artie Wayne on the Web https://artiewayne.wordpress.com

If you liked “Whoppy and Streaker Present The Top Christmas Videos of all time”, feel free to share it with a friend…I you loved it, please feel free to send it to your entire address book!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka and the the best of the holiday from Artie Wayne On The Web…and Whoppy and Streaker on the couch!

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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

BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB! https://artiewayne.wordpress.com