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HANK MEDRESS  11/19/38 – 6/18/07

My old friend, Hank Medress”, the founder of the Tokens (”The Lion Sleeps Tonight”) and producer of ”He’s So Fine”,“Candida”, “Knock Three Times”, “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ( On The Old Oak Tree “) talks about his career, challenges and aspirations in an interview I did with him last year for Spectropop.

I’m proud to have known him for as long as I did, he was always a friend and inspiration. I’m happy I was able to give him a chance to set the record straight about some controversial aspects of his career, which he never spoke about before in print. https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/10/31/hank-medress-the-unsung-hero-behind-the-lion-sleeps-tonight-hes-so-fine-and-tie-a-yellow-ribbon/

Hank R.I.P.- Rock In Perpetuity!

Respectfully, your friend Artie

top photo l-r: Hank Medress, Jay Seigal, Phil and Mitch Margo…The Tokens

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/

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

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Kristen Bell blows a bubble!

My interview with Spectropopper, Jean Emmanuel Dubois, for his forthcoming book “Le Bubblegum”, the history of American and French Bubblegum music, published by le cahiers du rock, continues…

JE- There were a lot of sexual overtones in the music? “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, “Chewy, Chewy”

AW- Sexual overtones! Sexual Undertones! Shit! There was all kinds of sex…all kinds of tones! (laughs) Those guys tried to get away with as much as they could…under the guise of innocent teen pop music! I remember one day a staff writer came into the office with a song, ” 1, 2, 3 Lickety Split”…and was sent home because the title wasn’t suggestive enough!

JE- Weren’t Joey Levine and Artie Resnick the first to have “backwards” versions of their a-sides as the b-sides of their records?

AW- It made sense, kids who were buying Bubblegum records weren’t buying them for the artist…but for hit A-side! There were no production costs for the B-side, and since all of the royalties were divided in the same way as the A-side, it was a win…win situation!

JE- Besides Levine/Resnick you represented Bo Gentry? ( “I Think We’re Alone Now” )

AW- Joey started writing with Bo and started coming up with some excellent stuff! They wrote a song, “Make Believe” and put it out under the name, Wind. This time Joey wasn’t the anonymous singer on the track, it was Tony Orlando. Ironically, Tony was also having hits at the same time as the anonomous voice of Dawn, (“Candida”, “Knock Three Times”)

The record was a modest hit in the US, but the B-side…a “real” B-side “Groovin’ with Mister Blo”, was top ten all over Europe!

JE-How were you involved with Tommy James and Shondels?

AW- I recorded an album under the name Shadow Mann, for the legendary Morris Levy, and he sometimes put my label mates and me out on promotion together. I remember once we all did the Upbeat TV show in Cleavland, Neil Diamond was there, Jimmy Ruffin, Kenny Rodgers and The First Edition. Tommy sang his number one hit, “Crimson and Clover”and I performed,” Come Live With Me ” the title track of my album. I also introduced my protoge, Sissy Spacek, who I renamed “Rainbo”. She was promoting her single, “John, You Went Too Far This Time”, which was a Bubblegummers reaction to the naked John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Two Virgins” album cover.

JE- It was around this time you started writing songs with Gary Zekely and Mitch Bottler, who wrote, “Sooner or Later”, “Wait A Million Years”, “Superman”, and other “Sunshine Pop Songs”?

AW- I fell in love with a beautiful, Playboy Playmate on my last trip to California…and couldn’t wait to get back to the West Coast! The night before I was scheduled to write with Gary And Mitch…I broke up with her! I was crushed and devestated, but when I heard the chorus that Mitch started banging out on the old stand up piano I started singing some of the happiest, most positive lyrics I ever wrote in my life!

I used to look at life through a shade of grey

‘Til I found some satisfaction in the things you’d say

You took me in your hands like a piece of clay

Made me a man now I gotta’ say

Hallelujah…Hallelujah…Hallelujah…Hallelujah!

Copyright 1969/ 2006- EMI music/ Artie Wayne music

JE- What about the beautiful Playmate?

AW- Never saw her again…anyway, Gary Zekely had a top ten hit as producer for the Clique with “Sugar On Sunday” ( written by Tommy James), and recorded “Hallelujah” for the album. It was covered about a year later by Sweathog, and went to the top 30 in the US!

JE-You also produced, Sal Tramalchi who wrote the smash,”1, 2, 3 Redlight”, for the 1910 Fruit Gum Company.

AW-Sal Tramalchi was a very complex person. He could go from writing bubblegum songs to psychedelic anthems in the time it takes a cube of sugar to dissolve in a cup of coffee! He wrote a great song, “Woodstock”, which Howard Bogess and I produced for Vanguard. Sal was magic when he played guitar and sang, so I got the “Brilliant” idea to cut him live with my studio band. Unfortunately, Sal arrived in the sudio, “inspired” but unable to perform.

After we redid the tracks and overdubbed the N.Y. Philharmonic string section, Sal came in and did an excellent vocal in one or two takes. The record came out and quietly sank into the sunset, as I packed up the last of my belongings and moved to Hollywood.

JE- What would you consider your greatest acheivement in bubblegum music?

AW- In 1973, I was at the Tokyo music festival for Warner Brothers music and picked up a song from a white South African writer, who the music people were avoiding because of his country’s stand on apartheid!

JE- You’re an African- American, why didn’t you ignore him also?

Aw-After talking to him, I felt he had the heart and soul of an artist that transcended the archaic practice of his country. It only took a few minutes to listen to the song that nobody wanted to hear…but I knew right away it was a hit!

Terry Dempsey gave me the sub-publishing rights for no advance, if I could get his song, “Daydreamer”, covered by a major US artist. Within days of my returning to Hollywood, Stephen Craig Aristei, one of my “Warner Raiders” gave it to David Cassidy. He was fresh from the Partridge Family, and it became his biggest solo hit, selling 5 million records!

JE- I never realized how involved you were with Le Bubblegum!

AW- Now that you mention it…neither did I!

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

If you missed the first half of the interview…and Elisha Cuthbert blows! click on https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/10/29/play-me-something-bubblegummy-chewy-chewy-yummy-yummy-yummy/

EXTRA! Lindsay Lohan And Paris Hilton On Top Of Britney Spears. PHOTOS! https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/12/04/exclusive-photos-lindsay-lohan-and-paris-hilton-on-top-of-britney-spears/

To see the naked John Lennon and Yoko Ono Naked album cover and hear Sissy Spacek (“Rainbo”) sing, “John, You Went Too Far This Time” Just click onto https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/18/the-naked-truth-about-john-lennon-and-yoko-ono-and-an-outraged-sissy-spacek/

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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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“As a long time lover of pop music I’ve always been curious about the story behind the song. Knowing that many of you feel the same way, I’d like to share the story behind “I Lose it When I Hear “White Christmas”, A new song that I wrote with Toni Wine (“Groovy Kind of Love”, “Candida”) which is on the Tony Orlando and Dawn “Reunion” album.

In 1995, after 20 years of being in the music business as a singer, songwriter, producer, being an exec at April-Blackwood, Warner Brothers music, and running Irving/ Almo, I had become too weak to even hold a guitar. Finally, I could no longer work at Allan Rinde’s legendary Chinese restaurant in Hollywood, Genghis Cohen, [which I named and hosted off and on for ten years].

When I kept falling down in the street, I knew that something was seriously wrong with me! I was uninsured, and was facing this crisis all alone. My two closest friends, Allan Rinde, was spending more and more time in Nashville with his fiance, Toni Wine…and Patti Dahlstrom, had moved back to Houston, to teach music and critical thinking at the Art Institute of Houston. I had taken to wearing all black, as I stumbled around the back streets of Hollywood, hoping I wouldn’t see anybody that I knew. I felt, for the first time in my life, that I had reached the end of the road.

Fortunately, Patti was in town for a conference, and came over to visit. I didn’t want her to see me broke and broken…but now I’m glad I did. She convinced me to swallow my pride, and seek help from social services, which saved my life! I went to the USC medical center for 2 days of tests, and 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 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 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 blanketing me with emotions.

10 years later, I told Toni Wine (whom I’ve known since she was 14…and showed her some lyrics I had written that 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 started on Irving Berlin’s piano Toni bought many years ago, we came up with….”

“I LOSE IT WHEN THEY 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”

Being’ 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?

[Instrumental]

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

 

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Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and best of holidays, from Artie Wayne On The Web ENJOY TO THE WORLD!

Copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne

WHILE FIGHTING LARGE CORPORATIONS WHO ARE TRYING TO KEEP ROYALTIES AWAY ME AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER ARTISTS, SONGWRITERS AND PUBLISHERSMY ONLY SOURCE OF INCOME IS FROM THE SALE OF MY BOOK. ” I DID IT FOR A SONG”, WITH OVER 100 STORIES FROM THE MUSIC BUSINESS OF THE ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. I HOPE YOU’LL CONSIDER BUYING ONE DIRECTLY FROM ME THROUGH PAYPAL FOR ONLY $9.99 AT  artiewayne@gmail.com OR BY CHECK TO…ARTIE WAYNE  P.O. BOX 1105, DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA 92240

THANKS AND REGARDS, ARTIE WAYNE https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/celebrating-two-million-views-today-on-artie-wayne-on-the-web/